Transition Activities and Tips


What’s Here

Prepare your students for learning with smooth, quick, engaging transitions that get them focused and excited about what’s next!  Learn how to transition into instruction at the beginning of the day and plan transition activities, songs, and signals that help you change quickly between subjects or lessons.

Webinar Excerpt: Transition Tips for Teachers

In The Cornerstone Pro-Active Behavior Management Webinar, I explain how to create instructional routines that set the framework for learning. In this excerpt, you’ll discover ideas for creating strong morning routines (including morning work/bell work) that set the tone for the day, and learn how to use transition signals to get lessons started quickly after lunch and specials. This excerpt also shares information about using brain breaks, classroom yoga, songs, and other transition activities in between subjects or lessons:

Cornerstone Cross-Reference

Find even MORE info about transitioning in The Cornerstone book and eBook! Book-exclusive content includes:

Ch. 9: How to Teach ANY Procedure
*Read the full chapter in its entirety!

Ch. 10: Predictable Daily Routines
*Establishing Morning Work procedures and choosing appropriate assignments
*Tips for transitioning back into academics after lunch and special classes: training students to go directly to their seats, look at the board for assignments, and/or wait quietly for your directions
*Ideas for structuring the end of the school day, tracking which students have been dismissed, and getting kids to be SILENT during bus call announcements (it IS possible!)

Ch. 11: Tips and Tricks for Difficult Procedures
*Don’t deny bathroom permission, but don’t allow kids to take advantage of you, either–it’s simpler than you think!
*How to handle bathroom requests when it’s not feasible for kids to go (such as assemblies/recess)
*No more thirsty kids constantly getting drinks–tips and tricks for letting kids keep water bottles
*3 different methods for distributing materials to students: teach your class to use one or all of them
*Detailed instructions for inexpensively obtaining and using ‘mailboxes’ for kids’ to-go-home papers

Ch. 12: Student Responsibility and Organization
*Strategies for teaching kids how to organize the supplies they keep in their desks
*Showing students how to keep a set number of pencils in their desks and having a consistent procedure for them to be sharpened
*Establishing routines for cleaning up and rewards/consequences for when students do or don’t meet your expectations
*How to give students the responsibility of keeping the class running smoothly through a genuinely useful class job/helper system

Ch. 13: Teaching Work Habits
*The little-known secret to getting kids to stop talking the second you open you mouth
*How to respectfully and firmly handle interruptions
*Establishing your expectations for sitting at desks and on the rug (and how to handle kids who complain constantly about others touching them)
*Explicitly teaching about QUIET and SILENCE: defining your expectations for the two terms and teaching kids to differentiate between them
*How to practice getting and STAYING quiet
*Training students how to whisper in a way that’s developmentally appropriate

Ch. 15: Teaching Children to Be Self-Reliant
*Show your students how to get your attention appropriately (i.e., without tapping you or following you around the room)
*The beauty of the 3-Before-Me rule: how this guideline will cut 90% of redundant, obvious, and unimportant questions
*Responding to attention-seeking behaviors: specific statements of encouragement (rather than praise) that you can use to foster independence
*Teacher control vs. self-control: construct questions that redirect behavior through problem-solving
*What to ask instead of ‘why’ when it comes to behavior: replace ‘Why are you doing that?’ with ‘What should you be doing?’
*One-liners to help untangle yourself from petty problems during instruction
*Teaching kids to solve social problems independently: discussing physical confrontations and the claim “If someone hits me, my mom told me to hit them back!”; a sample discussion of the consequences of fighting (no sugar-coating or political-correctness here)
*An example of facilitation using active listening
*The hidden reason why children tattle: once this issue is addressed, you’ll see major break-throughs in self-sufficiency

Now What?

Visit the main Routines and Procedures page
Find out how to transition into and out of instruction on the Arrival/Dismissal Routines page
Learn how to set up predictable daily routines on the Bathroom, Hall, and Water Fountain page
Discover how to routinely build a sense of community on the Class Meetings page
Create an efficient system for managing paper procedures on the Passing Out/Collecting Papers page

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Angela Watson was a classroom teacher for 11 years and has turned her passion for helping other teachers into a career as an educational consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. As founder of Due Season Press and Educational Services, she has published 3 books, launched a blog and webinar series, designs curriculum resources, and conducts seminars in schools around the world. Subscribe via email for blog updates, exclusive tips & tricks, activities, printables, and more.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Bethany February 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Hello, I am a senior at the University of Pittsburgh in the Applied Developmental Psychology program. For my senior project I wasn planning on creating a binder or book of help transitions for teachers. I am currently interning at an after-school program, in which I have had some students in my kindergarten class have trouble transitioning from their school-day classroom, to the cafeteria for snack(part of the the after school program) to the new classroom they are in for after school. I have developed social stories with the students and a game-board-like paper for the students thus far. My question is, do you have any other ideas that may be helpful for students transitioning from an after school program?

Thank you for your time. :)

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