Transform your classroom with these transition strategies for active learning

Happy New Year Teaching Rockstar!

It feels so good to be back after that long holiday. I trust it was relaxing and wonderful for you. After that much unstructured time, our students tend to go a little whacko, right? So, we need to find some productive ways to remind our kiddos about how things go down in the classroom, especially during transitions. I like to call it limbo time. It’s not quite time for your formal lesson, and maybe the students have just come back from lunch or recess. They need a refocus. Lucky for you, I have an ideal list of activities.

1. Think Time

This is awesome because you can utilize it at any time during the day. Pam came up with it after the break was over and the kids were just being so loud. She said “ok, it’s think time.” This means the students have to quietly think about whatever subject she chooses. Her kiddos read their Daily Concept Builders™ books, look for the word of the day, and try to figure out the meaning on their own.

This is something you can do easily with your own reading books.  Simply copy the pages and have your kiddos highlight or circle the vocabulary words.  If you want something that’s reusable, laminate the copies and use dry/wet erase markers.

Another way to fill “think time” would be to present students with a hypothetical challenge or a difficult math problem.  Put a piece of a blown up image on the board and see if someone can guess what it is.  There are a ton of options.  The only 2 rules:

  1. Students have to be silent
  2. Think time is only about 10 minutes(otherwise they get squirrely).

2. Turn and Talk

Pam usually uses this immediately after Think Time. It give the students a chance to process their thoughts with a neighbor and then collaborate. This is a tremendous opportunity to get some really great input from your students.

Story Time

The other day, the word of the day was rights to accompany Martin Luther King’s birthday coming up. One of Pam’s ELL(English Language Learner) students was talking with a neighbor and mentioned that she thought right was like writing on a board. Pam was able to say, “no that’s not the same meaning, but they do sound the same.” This opened up a discussion about homonyms. One student said equal rights means everyone gets the same thing. She said an example of not having equal rights would be if half of the kids got to play while the other half had to do work. She was able to relate her vocabulary word to a personal situation!

This is why Turn and Talk is a very productive way to use your transition time. It teaches your students deeper thinking.3. Innovation StationsI’ve talked about these before on here and their existence bears repeating. Innovation Stations are basically miniature STEM labs that remain active throughout the school day. Students can create during those transitional times, indoor recess, science, etc. We have a template and initial challenge for you on our Free Learning site. Check it out below:

If you want even more info, you can check out the blog post!

I know I know. I have four more transitions to go. I had to borrow them from Teacher Karma because I just love them so much!

  1. Would You Rather?
  2. What Am I?
  3. Pass the Story On
  4. Act It Out

Click HERE for an overview of each activity along with a free sheet for implementing!

Well, that’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed this list of transitions that will not only occupy your students, but grow their learning and thinking skills as well. Do you have more ideas? We would love to hear them. Either comment below or join our Sing, Play, Engage FB group to share with others!

Have a great week!
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