Transitions at School

Transitions during the day can be a source of chaos and waste valuable class time.  With a little thought and planning, you can improve your transitions.  It will feel like you've added minutes to your schedule when you improve your transitions.

Adding a little music can make a big difference.  One of my favorite things to do is to find a song (or two) that is age appropriate for your class and has a catchy tune.  Warning, you will be playing this song everyday, so make sure you really like it.  When it is time for your students to stop working and begin cleaning up, play your clean up song.  

Your shining star student will quickly figure out that if the song is 4 minutes long and he or she only has 1 more problem to finish, then your student has enough time to finish the problem AND clean up before the song is over.  It doesn't take the other students long to figure out this, too.  This is why it is important to play the same song.  For your sanity's sake, I highly recommend choosing different songs as the clean song for each subject or time period in your schedule.

I personally prefer songs that do not have words.  I think it is easier for students to concentrate on cleaning up or finishing up their work if there aren't words.  But, I think this is a matter of preference.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Click HERE to download this.

Arrival can set the tone for you day.  Dismissal can set the tone for how your students go home and what they tell mom and dad about their day.  It helps when you have a routine for both times of the day.   Some students may need a visual schedule to remind them of the routine.

One year we were told our school was too big to allow group restroom breaks.  I was teaching in a school with over 1,100 students in a building that was built for 600 students.  Yes, there were portables classrooms, at the time there weren't portable restrooms.  

It was the best thing that ever happened.  Who knew?!!!  I had always taken my class on group restroom breaks until this happened.  After doing a little brainstorming with my teammates, we decided to make the 20 minutes before we needed to leave for lunch as our singing and chant time.  I sent two boys and two girls at a time to use the restroom and wash their hands.  I think there was actually less playing around this way than when we went as a class.  

Sometimes when you line up your class, you notice that "oops!"  it's not quite time to go to P.E., lunch, or the library.  There are a few fun things you can do:
  • This is the perfect time to practice a little mental math.   "1/2 of 36 is __"  "22+16+51=___"  
  • You can also review reading skills, too.  "I'm thinking of a word that has two syllables, is orange, and you see it in the fall.  What is it?"
  • If you can hear me, tap you right elbow. This is a great listening activity.

Looking for more tips?  Check out my Classroom Organization Pinterest board.  Click on the picture below.

Fern has a few tips about transitions to share with you, too.  Be sure to hop over to her blog!

Fern and I are adding something new this summer.  Summer is a great time to catch up on your reading.  I love to read teacher blogs and the latest teacher idea books.  Stop by Fern's blog and my blog each week for Tuesday Teacher Tips.  We hope you will share your ideas, too.  

Each week we will choose one person who shared a tip on our blog who will get a $10 shopping trip.  We will announce the winner in the following Tuesday's post.  The winner of this post will be announced on next week's post.

Do you have a transition tip to share?  Be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you're the winner of the $10 shopping trip.

Looking for more ideas?  Click on the pictures below:

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Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas said...

I love reading your tips each week! You have the greatest ideas!
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
Fern Smith's Pinterest Boards!

Unknown said...

I have used a "mystery walker" for transitions in the hallway. I choose a name from a cup each time we leave the room. If that student follows all the rules for walking in the hallway, they get a ticket. If anyone comments about how nice the class walks in the hall, the entire class gets a ticket! If a ticket is not earned, the name goes back in the cup and I am the only one who knows who the mystery walker was. When ten tickets are earned, that student can cash them in for a special activity for the class. I outlined choices ahead of time. Usually it it an activity on the SMART Board. They LOVE it when everyone gets a ticket because someone noticed how quiet they were!

Alicia said...

Thank you for posting the songs that can be used during transition. I have already figured out when I will be using some of the songs.