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Telling Time Lesson Plans: Using Eric Carle's "The Grouchy Ladybug"

written by: Tracey Bleakley • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 1/17/2012

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle is a great introduction to telling time for first graders. This telling time lesson plan for learning time by the hour, includes rewriting the story while teaching your students how to write time and how to draw the hands on a clock.

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    Time For Adventure!

    This is a fun telling time lesson plan that combines both math and literature. Your first graders will love this story about a grouchy little ladybug who spends all day picking fights with animals much bigger than she is. After learning to read the clocks in the story, they will be excited to make their own adventure for the ladybug.


    • The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle (the big book version, if you have it)
    • Large Judy Clock
    • Small Judy Clock, one per student or pair of students
    • White paper, one piece per student
    • Blank clock stamp
    • Black stamp pad
    • Pencils and crayons

    Telling Time Procedures

    Read the story to. As you read, point out the clocks and discuss the times. After you finish, give each student or pair of students a small Judy clock. Then reread The Grouchy Ladybug to the class. This time as you read stop at each time and demonstrate how to make it on your large clock. Explain to them that when the tine is on the hour that the long hand will point to the twelve and the smaller hand will point to the hour. Let the students make the times with their clocks. Also show them how to write the time to the hour digitally (1:00, 5:00).

    Tell students they will be making their own pages for a class book about the grouchy ladybug. On the board or a piece of chart paper, write the prompt "At _____________ the ladybug met a _______________ ." Give each student a piece of white paper. Tell the class they need to copy the prompt, filling in the time and the animal that they want their ladybug to meet. Then they can illustrate it. While they begin working, use your blank clock stamp to stamp a clock in the top corner of each student's paper. They need to draw in the hands to match the time in their prompt. You might want to model how to draw the hands and remind them that the hour hand should be shorter that the minute hand.

    When all of the students are finished, let them share their pictures. Then collect all of the pages and bind them into a book.

    Lesson Plan Assessment

    Look at their pictures. Did the times on their clocks and the digital times in the prompts match? Did they draw the hands the right way? Did they use the correct format for writing the digital time?


    • Read other books about telling time. The book "Time To..." by Bruce McMillan is another great book showing time to the hour. After reading it, have students fold a large sheet of manila paper into fourths and stamp one clock in each section. Let the students fill in a time for each clock and write what they do at that time each day- "At 6:00 I eat dinner."
    • Try this math lesson plan to teach your students about clocks.

    This telling time lesson plan for The Grouchy Ladybug will get your first graders excited about learning to tell time!

Time: First Grade Math Lessons and Activities

Find lesson plans, activities and games to help teach first graders how to tell time.
  1. Ideas for Teaching First Graders About Telling Time
  2. Telling Time Lesson Plans: Using Eric Carle's "The Grouchy Ladybug"
  3. Telling Time: First Grade Math Activities