3 Easy Tips for Transitions

Are transitions in your classroom the bane of your existence? They don’t have to be! In my classroom, I use three basic transition strategies that help my students get from point A to point B in a BREEZE.

These three transitions are definitely not the ONLY transitions I use in my classroom (ya girl loves a good chant and hand dance) but these are some of my most frequently used transitions.

“You’ve Got A Friend in Me”

Is it stuck in your head? Mine, too! Playing this song is perfect for transitions from the carpet to Daily Five, or any other time that you need transitions that take 2-3 minutes.

I downloaded this song and saved it on my desktop for easy access all day long. The only time I use this song is to initiate each round of Daily Five. Before every round, we always go over Daily 5 expectations and say, “Listen for the music!” By using this song, the kids have a definite start and end time for their transitions. Getting situated to begin Daily Five takes a bit of time – getting book boxes, getting Word Work materials, choosing a seat, etc. The kids have until the song is over to be seated and at a level zero.

Not to mention – I love thinking about my kiddos every time I hear this song 🙂

Chimes

AGMS

I have a set of chimes similar to these hanging by my Guided Reading table. Every kiddo at my table has a job and one of those jobs is to alert the rest of the room that we are finished. Of course, I would never want to shout out, “HEY KIDS! TIME TO COME BACK TO THE RUG!” So instead, one of my kiddos gets the ever coveted honor of “ringing the chimes.” The chimes are our quiet signal for immediately cleaning up our supplies and getting to the carpet…at a level zero.

Super Secret Vocabulary Word

Every week, our classroom has a vocabulary word that we focus on. We use this vocabulary word in a  variety of ways but the simplest is to transition to our work. To use this transition, I incorporate the CHAMPS strategy. When giving directions, I use the CHAMPS acronym:

C-Conversation

H-Help

A- Activity

M- Movement

P- Participation

S- Success

After going over each of these expectations, the kids know to listen for our vocabulary word. Sometimes I say silly words, sometimes I incorporate past vocabulary words, but I always say 3-5 other words before our week’s vocabulary word. In doing this, I am able to lower the volume of my voice to a whisper and make the kids hang on to every word I say. This helps to engage the kiddos to listen to any directions and set the tone for their work before they begin.

Here’s what it would be like:

(After giving the directions for the task)

“Friends, your voice level is a level 1. If you need help you need to raise your hand or ask 3 before me. Our activity today is to work on ___. Your movement is to stay in one spot. Do you have to work at your desk? No. Just make sure to stay in your place when you choose it. I’ll know you’re working because your eyes and hands are on your…(the kids usually say paper for me at this point! 😉 ). You’re listening for your vocabulary word.”

At this point in the directions, some kids start to position their little bodies like they are about to sprint to their desks. When I see this, I make direct eye contact with them to remind them we are not in a hurry. If students are talking, I do not begin listing our words. When I feel students are ready, I will begin to whisper words: “Grit. Stewardship. Adaptability. Perseverance.” Students would only leave the carpet once I have said our vocabulary word. 🙂

What transitions do you use in your class?

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