Elementary school teachers teach many subjects and skills. Many times throughout the day, they have to transition from one subject or activity to the next. A few examples of transitioning in the elementary classroom might include passing out papers, getting ready for the school day to begin, taking the students for a bathroom break and moving from a carpet activity to a desk activity.
Transition times can potentially take up more time than necessary, and inefficient transitions can take much-needed time away from core subjects. Procedures and creativity can help keep the class on schedule and eliminate wasted time and undesired behavior.
Here are some ways to review how well you are managing time and classroom behavior:
- How often do you repeat instructions? Many times teachers are repeating instructions more than necessary and the students’ behaviors are still not desirable.
- Keep track of the time it takes to accomplish a task or subject. For example, how long does it take to get the class started? How long does it take to get the class lined up for lunch? How long does it take to have a restroom break?
- Periodically evaluate transitions to see if there is room for improvement. Identify the transitions that could be more efficient and focus on changing one transition at a time. Turn that transition into a procedure.
- To improve the transition times and make them more meaningful, set a goal with the class. Use a graph to show progress and track the progress towards the goal. Involving the students this way encourages them to take ownership of their learning. Celebrate when the goal has been met.
- Research ideas for your transition times. Fellow teachers are a great resource for procedures and creative ideas that would improve transitions. The internet is also a great resource for best practices.
Here are a few simple examples of efficient and creative transitions:
- Play music when a transition time begins. Transitions time ends when the music ends.
- Practice math facts with students while waiting for everyone to return from the library.
- As students leave for the day, have them tell you an example of an interrogative sentence as their exit ticket.
Teachers have many demands on their time and can find it difficult to implement all the subjects and skills that need to be taught. Procedures and creativity improve transitions and productivity in the classroom and can eliminate chaos and undesired behavior.