~~~~ Primary Timer Learning Resource ~~~
When you have your first child everything is new and you learn and grow with each of your mistakes and successes. With subsequent children you then automatically know what's required and may even have learnt a shortcut or two along the way. This is why I came to purchase this timer. As a learning resource tool, it's great for classroom use, but it's also been invaluable over the years for other things too, and this review discusses those.
My eldest daughter was 12, and in year 6, at the time my second and youngest daughter was born. At the time we were concentrating on Emily's S.A.T.S. and trying to get her to do her multiplication faster so as she would have plenty of time to dedicate to other mathematical problems during her exam. We got her to fill out Multiplication tables over and over again, with the sole aim of beating her previous time. Over and over we did this, what seemed like every day for months on end. At the time we didn't have a stopwatch, and I don't think that mobile phones had advanced that far, so we used to use a second hand on a watch. Of course you'd get distracted by something or other, and lose track of the time, much to my daughter's disappointment when she had done particularly well.
~~~ My Purchase ~~~
Fast forward 6 or 7 years, and I was looking for something on Amazon, and I came across this tool, and thought it would be perfect to help my youngest. At the time she was in year 2, so age 6 -7 and was studying time, and also getting to the stage where doing the multiplication tables at home would also reinforce what she was learning in class. I think I paid around £6 for this timer from Amazon, but today (November 2012) they are only available in packs of 6 (for classroom use). Keep checking if you would like to purchase one though, as single packs are available quite often.
~~~ The Timer ~~~
The timer is a small piece of equipment, about 2 inches by 2 inches square. It comes attached to a lariat for wearing around the neck. The lariat has a special fastening that simply snaps the two loose ends together, this will hopefully prevent any accidents from occurring as it will quickly release. This can be used by either child or adults, so it's good to have that piece of mind. You shouldn't need to use the fastening though, as the cord is plenty long enough to enable it be slipped over even the largest of heads. There is also a little stand fitted into a recess at the back of the timer if you didn't want to wear this on your person; and if you need to utilise it, you just flick it out with a nail or a pen. It's simple to use and will make it suitable for desk or table top use.
The unit is battery powered and comes with the two G8A button cell batteries required. We've owned this timer getting on for four years or so now, and have not yet replaced the batteries despite it being in fairly regular use in one way or another.
Being a primary timer (its official name), the buttons to access the features are in the primary colours of red, yellow and green; and the main body of the unit, and the lariat cord is a lovely blue. This makes it bright and appealing to use, and is quite conspicuous and bold.
~~~ Functions ~~~
The red button on the left is the power button, but also doubles up as a clear button. This will reset the counter back to zero. The yellow, middle button is a start and stop button. This not only stops the timer, but also pause the timer, allowing it to continue counting the time, once it's been repressed. The final button is the lap button; this will stop the timer so you can see the lap time, but keeps the timer running in the background so you can tell the time of subsequent laps by pressing the green button once again.
Another benefit is a timer beep function to count every minute of time that has passed. To activate this function you need to reset the digits to zero, by pressing the on/clear button, then press and hold the LAP button until the screen shows a musical note icon. Begin the timer by pressing the start/stop button; a beep will be heard when the timer reaches 1 each minute interval. To cancel the timer beep function stop time, reset the digits to zero and then press and hold the lap button until the musical note icon disappears again. This is the most difficult part of the timer, but also very handy, so you'll get used to it rather quickly.
~~~ Time Management ~~~
I do feel that it would be extremely beneficial for someone with dyslexia, as it would visually enable them to know how long each task will last for, and give them some control over matters which seemingly would be out of their control. I must just mention though, that this only counts up, and not down, so they would need to know the end time, rather than pre-setting it and allowing it to reach zero.
~~~ Uses ~~~
Over the years we've found many uses for this Primary Timer, not only for school use, such as learning hours, minutes, seconds, and tenths and hundredths of seconds, and speed testing mathematical problems; it has also been handy to have in the kitchen for cooking. I can get on with other things in the kitchen and can listen for the three beeps to inform me my boiled eggs are ready or even keep track of the time that's passed when baking cakes or cooking a large roast. We've even held mini Olympics on the green land outside with all the neighbourhood kids, and had fun timing them racing a set distance, but also laps around the block. This has been widely used by both adults and children alike as it's so easy and intuitive to use.
My youngest daughter is now in year five (age 9), so I feel we probably only have about 18 months left of use for her utilising this timer. It will still be getting plenty of use though, by me in the kitchen. That is of course, if I can prize it off my eldest daughter, who is now herself a Key Stage 2 teacher and takes this for use in the classroom for teaching and timing, but also aids her when she's planned a set time to complete a particular task with the children in her care.
~~~ My Thoughts ~~~
I know it's an odd thing to read a review for, but it's been such an asset in our home, it's so versatile. I can only award these learning resource five stars, for being easy to use, multi-functional and just a very handy little thing to own.
Versatile hand held timer can also be displayed on a desk or worn around the neck (stand and safety lanyard included). Includes a lap timer and an optional 1-minute beep function that emits a tone every 60 seconds for individually timed fluency tests.