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C.M. Corner: Transitions with Pre-school through Elementary

One of the most disruptive times of the day continues to be transitions between classrooms or activities.  If we are able to utilize the transition times to our benefit, this will help students say focused and use their energy in positive ways.  This week, we are going to take a look at strategies for early childhood – elementary class strategies that could help us transition more easily to the next task.


In particular with pre-school through kindergarten, prepare the children for the transition time.  Give them notice that a change is going to be coming, whether with a specific time or when the current activity is finished, for example, “In 5 minutes, we will . . . .” or “When we finish reading this book, then we will . . .”.  This will help the students mentally prepare not only to finish the current portion of the day, but will help them get mentally prepared for the next. 


Think about using a routine to help students transition, clean-up, put things away and line-up or sit in your seats.  If you know a song to go along with this, that would help emphasize the transition time in a light-hearted and fun way, like the “Clean-up song”.   You can also make the transition time itself an activity, by creating a game out of it, like “Simon Says” or have them answer questions based upon the subject matter they are learning about.  If you are moving rooms, consider having the students line themselves up by color of their shirts, by height, alphabetical order or by birthdate.  You can even have the students tip-toe, slide or walk like penguins in line to the next room. 


Large group activities can also help with the transitions, in particular from activity to activity.  A game of “I spy” or “20 questions” can help the students focus on what’s happening and help them mentally transition to the next topic.  Maybe have each student come up with an answer to a question asked to the entire class and have them share, “What’s your favorite letter?”,  “What is your favorite kind of bug?” or “What is your favorite planet and why?”.  It may be as simple as giving short direction, “I know you are ready when you . . .”


If you have other activities, games or strategies to help students transition, we would love to hear them!  Feel free to email us at Training@teachersoncall.com.   We would love to hear from you!