Transition activities: finding "treasures" within the classroom.Transitions occur throughout our lives. They can be as mundane (jargon) mundane - Someone outside some group that is implicit from the context, such as the computer industry or science fiction fandom. The implication is that those in the group are special and those outside are just ordinary. as needing to find an alternative route to school when a road is under construction or having to select something else to eat for lunch when the cafeteria cafeteria: see restaurant. takes our favorite food off the menu. Transitions also can be life-altering events, such as divorce, a death in the family For the Batman graphic novel/storyline, see .
A Death in the Family is an autobiographical novel by author James Agee, set in LaFollette, Tennessee. He began writing it in 1948, but it was not quite complete when he died in 1955. , or moving to a different home.
As adults, we have lots of experience with transitions and we often move from one place or activity to another without consciously thinking about it. Throughout our lifespan, we have learned ways to handle each new change and expectation as it arises. We draw upon our past experiences to guide us with our new encounters; when we cannot figure things out on our own, we look to others for assistance. Children, on the other hand, have much less experience with transitions. More often than not, they need additional guidance and support from adults to help them figure out what they are supposed to do as well as when and how they are supposed to do it. This is particularly true for students who are vulnerable for failure in the early grades (Stormont, Espinoza, Knipping, & McCathren, 2003). When teachers successfully guide and support students as they transition from one activity or place to another, benefits (or treasures) abound for everyone in the classroom.
Transition activities can be considered "indirect guidance" tools, because they help students change their attention and focus from one activity to another while ensuring that all students have a safe and successful classroom experience (Marion, 2003). Transition activities also can function as playful play·ful
1. Full of fun and high spirits; frolicsome or sportive: a playful kitten.
2. teaching strategies (Kieff & Casbergue, 2000). An example of this in a preschool or primary classroom would be to sing songs to help children transition from sitting on the rug to doing another activity, such as going to centers or washing their hands for lunch. Music is enjoyable for young children; thus, the skills and concepts presented through musical activities have the capacity to not only engage students but also motivate and enhance learning on multiple levels (Press, 2006).
Creating Transition Activities That Work for You
ransitions can be executed in a variety of ways. Sometimes they include rituals that become part of the everyday routine, such as having students put their belongings belongings
the things that a person owns or has with him or her
Noun 1. belongings - something owned; any tangible or intangible possession that is owned by someone; "that hat is my property"; "he is a man of away, then choosing from a variety of tasks set up in the room. Other times, you need to initiate activities that serve the needs of a particular student, such as giving a student who finds it difficult to switch from one activity to another extra time to plan for the upcoming changes. This can be just a simple extra verbal reminder, or you can use an egg timer timer,
n radiographic timing device that functions as an automatic exposure timer and a switch to control the current to the high-tension transformer and filament transformer. The face of the timer is calibrated in seconds and fractions of seconds. or the wall clock to help the student get ready for the upcoming changes. You may find that some of the transition activities you used at the beginning of the school year do not serve your students' needs at the end of the year. You may also realize that you need transition activities for the entire class as well as contingency contingency n. an event that might not occur. ones that are especially helpful for students who finish their work early. In the latter case, such strategies as providing brain teasers This article is about the roller coaster. For the British game show, see BrainTeaser.
Brain Teaser is a steel family roller coaster manufactured by Zierer of Germany. The coaster is currently located at Darien Lake in New York. or daily challenges often work well. As with most teaching strategies, the better you know your students and their capabilities and needs, the better equipped you will be to decide which transition activities will best meet their needs (and yours). To help guide your efforts, I have organized my suggestions in terms of a "typical day" scenario and named the grade levels that the activities are best suited for.
Students often have information and experiences to share when they arrive at school. Consequently, it is a good idea to allow some time at the beginning of the day for students to share that information with the teacher and their peers. Activities planned for arrival help students make the transition from home and/or the bus into the classroom.
* Have children sign their name on a large sheet of paper (this will later be made into a class signature book). This communal event allows them to chat with their friends as well as practice writing their names. [pre-K-1]
* Find and move name tags or picture tags from a board outside the classroom to one inside the classroom. This process helps with name recognition and also can be used later during a large-group activity to count how many students are in class that day, as well as how many students are missing. [pre-K-1]
* Students can attach name cards to or make notations on the laminated laminated /lam·i·nat·ed/ (-nat?ed) having, composed of, or arranged in layers or laminae.
made up of laminae or thin layers. daily lunch count chart (e.g., one column for buying complete lunch and one for buying milk and/or ice cream). This activity frees the teacher to talk with students while they arrive and provides another tool to discuss math concepts during circle time with younger children. [pre-K-5]
* If students have a staggered arrival schedule, certain centers that are easy to clean up, such as the book area and manipulative ma·nip·u·la·tive
Serving, tending, or having the power to manipulate.
Any of various objects designed to be moved or arranged by hand as a means of developing motor skills or understanding abstractions, especially in area, may be opened for students to play in while they wait for the rest of their peers to arrive. [pre-K-K]
* Students can begin to work on a brain teaser, puzzle, or challenge for the day. This can be written on the board or selected from a special area in the room. [1-5]
Moving Into Large-Group Activities:
Utilize the times that students transition from one activity to another to engage them in active, playful activities that also help develop skills across the cognitive, physical, and social domains. This provides opportunities for a fun "mini-break" or "recharging session" while simultaneously helping students to refocus Verb 1. refocus - focus once again; The physicist refocused the light beam"
focus - cause to converge on or toward a central point; "Focus the light on this image"
2. their attention on a new activity. As soon as you ask students to gather in a group or get ready at their desks, begin to engage them in activities such as these:
* Start singing a song or doing a finger play. Teachers often can recycle re·cy·cle
tr.v. re·cy·cled, re·cy·cling, re·cy·cles
1. To put or pass through a cycle again, as for further treatment.
2. To start a different cycle in.
a. tunes and just add new words to fit what they are trying to teach. Props, such as puppets or signs with the lyrics lyrics npl [of song] → paroles fpl
lyrics lyric npl [of song] → Text m on them, can help you to focus students' attention and add a bit of fun into the mix. Periodically talk with a student beforehand and ask him or her to lead the class in song. If you are not comfortable with having a student lead the singing, you can create the job of song selector (programming) selector - 1. In Smalltalk or Objective C, the syntax of a message which selects a particular method in the target object.
2. An operation that returns the state of an object but does not alter that state. for students to do each day or week. [pre-K-5]
* Engage students in rhythmic rhyth·mic also rhyth·mi·cal
Of, relating to, or having rhythm; recurring with measured regularity.
rhythmi·cal·ly adv. clapping and/or stamping. This allows students who are sitting and ready to immediately engage in an activity that combines motor activity with listening and thinking skills (recognizing and repeating patterns). This step also motivates students who were straggling strag·gle
intr.v. strag·gled, strag·gling, strag·gles
1. To stray or fall behind.
2. To proceed or spread out in a scattered or irregular group.
n. behind to join the group more quickly and try to figure out and catch up with what everyone else is doing. [pre-K-5]
* Make up a rap song to introduce a new concept with your students. This genre of music has become popular, and so students will often express their appreciation for your efforts to engage them using pop culture. [1-5]
* Start telling a story in a very quiet voice. There is something about a low, quiet voice that seems to draw students' attention. We often read out loud to students, but we seldom just tell stories. [pre-K-5]
* Have an activity such as a DOL DOL - Display Oriented Language. Subsystem of DOCUS. Sammet 1969, p.678. (daily oral language) exercise posted on the board or a flip chart flip chart
A chart consisting of sheets hinged at the top that can be flipped over to present information sequentially.
Noun 1. . These comprise a three- or four-sentence paragraph that contains spelling and grammatical gram·mat·i·cal
1. Of or relating to grammar.
2. Conforming to the rules of grammar: a grammatical sentence. errors. As soon as students get settled, they can begin to spot the mistakes and get ready to share and discuss them with their peers. [1-3]
* Entice students with a music and movement activity. These can include different forms of dancing, such as the Mexican hat Noun 1. Mexican hat - coneflower with flower heads resembling a Mexican hat with a tall red-brown disk and drooping yellow or yellow and red-brown rays; grows in the great plains along base of Rocky Mountains
Ratibida columnaris dance, the hora ho·ra also ho·rah
A traditional round dance of Romania and Israel.
[Modern Hebrew h , an Irish jig jig, dance of English origin that is performed also in Ireland and Scotland. It is usually a lively dance, performed by one or more persons, with quick and irregular steps. When the jig was introduced to the United States, it was often danced in minstrel shows. , salsa, line dancing line dancing
a form of dancing performed by rows of people to country and western music , and hip hop hip-hop or hip hop
1. A popular urban youth culture, closely associated with rap music and with the style and fashions of African-American inner-city residents.
2. Rap music.
adj. , etc. You can also engage students in circle games, such as The Farmer in the Dell, Bluebird bluebird, common name for a North American migratory bird of the family Turdidae (thrush family). The eastern bluebird, Sialia sialis, is among the first spring arrivals in the North. It is about 7 in. (17.8 cm) long. , Ring Around the Rosie, and London Bridge London Bridge, granite, five-arched bridge formerly over the Thames, in London, England. It is 928 ft (283 m) long and was designed by John Rennie and built between 1824 and 1831. , etc. After moving about for a few minutes, students can be asked to sit right where they are on the rug to listen to a story or engage in a lesson. [pre-K-1]
Moving to Small-Group Activities:
Classrooms can become chaotic when transitioning large groups of students from one area of the room to another at the same time. A multitude of ways exist to systematically and safely move students from a rug area or their desks to centers, tables, and into small groups.
* Randomly choose names from a list or a basket to send a few students at a time to another area. Reverse the order the next day so that students who were called on last will be called on first the next day. [pre-K-5]
* Call students by the names of projects they are working on. An example of this in a 2nd-grade classroom might be to send all the students "working on building the settlement" to go over to the block area and continue the work that they had started on the day before. [pre-K-5]
* Describe students in terms of gender, hair color, siblings' names, birthdates, telephone numbers, types of shoes, etc., and allow them to leave the large-group area when they figure out who you are describing. [pre-K-1]
* Spell students' names out loud and allow them to leave when they recognize their name(s). [pre-K-K]
* Sing a song that contains multiple verses, such as the various versions of "Five Little Monkeys This list includes individual non-human primates (capuchin monkeys, squirrel monkeys, Rhesus Macaques, and marmosets) who are in some way famous or notable.
Note: This list does not include fictional monkeys, nor Apes, which are not monkeys. "; after each verse, select children to leave the group and go to the next activity. [pre-K-1]
* Play trivia games or Jeopardy jeopardy, in law, condition of a person charged with a crime and thus in danger of punishment. At common law a defendant could be exposed to jeopardy for the same offense only once; exposing a person twice is known as
double jeopardy. ! with students and send them off to another area when they correctly answer questions that relate to schoolwork, television or movie characters, or personal information, such as asking, "Who just became a big brother?" Name four students before you ask the question and tell the rest of the students that they have to let the four you named have a chance to answer the question. When one of the four comes up with the answer, all four can move onto the next activity. [K-5]
Students Who Finish Working on Assignments, Eating, or Napping Early:
Disruptions to the learning environment can occur when students finish activities early. Providing transition activities for students during these times can help to prevent problems from arising. It is a good idea to post a list of activities (using pictures for younger children) so that students may look at and choose from them.
* Allow students to go to centers when they are finished eating breakfast or snack. While this may appear to entice students to hurry up to make haste.
See also: Hurry and eat so that they can play, it often levels out after the first week. This step allows students to eat at a pace they are accustomed to without being pressured to hurry up by the students who eat more quickly. [pre-K-K].
* Encourage students who finish their work early to read silently at their desks or go to the reading center to listen to books on tape or do silent sustained reading. [pre-K-5]
* Direct students to the computer center to work quietly with a program that you have set up for them. [pre-K-5]
* Provide questions, posers, riddles, crosswords, word searches, and puzzles for students to work on while they wait for their peers. [1-5]
* Let children draw or write in their journals. [pre-K-5]
* Provide a puzzle to work on. [pre-K-K]
* Have students edit writing assignments. [1-5]
Moving Students in and out of the Classroom As a Group:
The logistics of a line just seems to create opportunities for students to talk with one another and poke See peek/poke.
poke - The BASIC command to write a value to an absolute address.
See peek. and push the student in front of them. The longer they wait before the line actually moves out the door, the more apt they are to start messing around with one another.
* Have students line up in two lines near your door. One line can face the door directly and the other line can run perpendicular to the first one. You can designate des·ig·nate
tr.v. des·ig·nat·ed, des·ig·nat·ing, des·ig·nates
1. To indicate or specify; point out.
2. To give a name or title to; characterize.
3. a name or color for each line and alternate as you ask students to line up, calling on two students and sending one to the red line and the other to the yellow line. You also can place some colored tape or pictures on the floor to give students spatial and visual clues. Shorter lines mean that students have less time to wait before they can start moving out of the classroom.
* Have students walk down the hallway in pairs, holding hands. Again, this cuts the length of your line in half and only half of the students' arms are available for getting into mischief A specific injury or damage caused by another person's action or inaction. In Civil Law, a person who suffered physical injury due to the Negligence of another person could allege mischief in a lawsuit in tort. .
* Have students pretend to be animals (e.g., a mouse) and then ask them to walk as quietly as mice down the hallway. You can also ask them to tiptoe down the hallway. These are good activities to use as you go to specials and walk past open classroom doorways.
* If you co-teach or have an aide in the classroom, send half of your students to line up, and then have your aide or co-teacher take them to wherever they are going. As soon as they begin to move out of the classroom, tell the rest of your students to line up and then follow the others. This step eliminates having students waiting around and decreases their opportunities for getting in trouble.
Finding the right type of transition activity can be a hidden treasure in your classroom. Many resources are available to help you find specific music, stories, and activities to stimulate your students' bodies and minds, and I've listed some of them below. Students will welcome any attempt you make to add transition activities into your daily routines, especially if they involve a little movement or a challenge. You will be surprised at how these activities change your classroom environment. If you periodically change the activities, you will keep their interest piqued as they wonder what you will do next.
Feldman, J. (2000). Transition tips and tricks. Beltsville, MD: Gryphon House
Humpal, M., & Wolf, J. (2003). Music in the inclusive environment. Young Children, 58, 103-102
LaCava, P. G. (2005). Twenty ways to ... facilitate transitions. Intervention in School and Clinic, 41, 46-48.
Peterson, D. (2000). Using transitions to promote literacy in preschool and primary classrooms. Young Children, 55, 24-25.
Kieff, J. E., & Casbergue, R. (2000). Playful learning and teaching: Integrating play into preschool and primary programs. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Marion, M. (2003). Guidance of young children (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River Saddle River may refer to:
In 1913, law professor Dr. .
Press, M. R. (2006). Twenty ways to ... use music in the classroom. Intervention in School and Clinic, 41, 307-309.
Stormont, M., Espinoza, L., Knipping, N., & McCathren, R. (2003). Supporting vulnerable learners in the primary grades: Strategies to prevent early school failure. Early Childhood Research & Practice 5(2),