A classroom transition is when students switch from one task to another, it can be changing subject, groups, classrooms or going out or in from break. The transition can be difficult for many students as they need to switch from the structured learning they have become used to and prepare for the next part of the day.
These transitions take place throughout the school day and school year and are often the point where problems start. There are many different types of transitions in a primary school room, but few are as important as the transition from the end of a lesson into the beginning of the next one. Classroom management can be stressful for the teacher, so these lesson need to start and end with a calm successful transition. It is important to take time to think about how you can get your classroom transitions in order.
Teaching students how to move from one lesson to the next is taught just like everything else you teach in the classroom. Setting up a transition routine that works in your classroom is a unique process ad it takes time to get it exactly right.
Calm and pleasant transitions in the classroom are vital, it is important to remember that children need transitions just as much as you do, and that they need a little break to adjust to the next lesson or session. If you allow yourself to schedule regular transitional breaks during the day, your students will stay on task during class. Think of teaching transitions as mini lessons on their own. Start at the beginning and go through what is expected step by step.
Teach the basics
When teaching transitions you will need to start with the very basics, some things that seem like common sense to you, may not be "common sense" to your class. Your children do not have the years of living that brings this knowledge. Teach them basic principles such as not jumping out of your seat when there are already people around you in the passageway. I often think about an aeroplane that has landed and how the passengers get up to leave, some jump up and stand awkwardly with their heads bent for ages waiting to get a space, while others are calm and seated until it is their turn to leave. Using this as an example and practicing with your class can be very beneficial.
Call backs, particularly fun ones, are a great way to get the attention of students quickly and easily. They give the children something to focus on when during the confusing time of transitions and help keep the movement flowing. Some ideas for call backs include: counting down from 10 with each number needing a fun response: i.e – 10 we are ready, 9 on our way, 8 keeping calm etc. etc.
You can sing a sign during the transition or play a piece of music. This is a great way to help students monitor the time so they don't forget what they have to do after the song and give them an extra dose of learning. Turning on a visual timer with the music, can help with this even more.