Recently I was working with a First Grader about the concept of "Half Past." She understood why it was called half, as I had her walk around a large clock model made from a round vinyl tablecloth and she could see that she was halfway around the clock circumference. But she continued to struggle with the "past " idea.
Then it hit me...maybe she doesn't really know what the word "past" means.
So here is what I did:
I lined up five stuffed animals in a row. As I walked past a short distance I would look back at each animal and say, "I'm past the zebra. I'm past the lion...and so forth."
Then I had her repeat the walk and say when she had past each animal. Suddenly she said, "Oh, that's why you say the number that the short hand has already gone by."
Then I gave her a "Hour Hand" made out of a paint stick. Each time she was halfway between two animals, she was directed to say, " I'm half past the name of animal." Together these activities made it all click for her.
By the way, she also told me that "half past" and "thirty" mean the same thing, AND THAT PUT A BIG SMILE ON MY FACE!