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Smooth classroom transitions are an important part of teaching that can affect the flow of our entire day. There is a fine line between excitement and chaos in a Pre-K or Kindergarten classroom. Trust me! But I am here to tell you that switching from one task to the next or lining up to go to lunch, doesn’t have to turn into a 5 year old free-for-all. With these simple and effective classroom transition ideas, you can have smooth transitions while incorporating some learning fun!
*For even more teacher tips and how to create a playful learning environment in your classroom, be sure to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!
Simple and Effective Classroom Transition Ideas: Part 2
I am all about tips that help me to stress less and accomplish more. Transition time wasn’t always the smoothest or most effective part of the day in my classroom so I knew that I needed to get creative and make a change. I hope you find these easy tips and ideas as helpful as I did for creating a positive and engaging learning environment!
This post is Part 2 of our simple and effective classroom transition ideas. Be sure to check out Part 1 for ideas #1 – 4 PLUS an important bonus tip!
Idea #5 – Subitize It
This first transition idea focuses on one of my favorite skills to teach – subitizing! Subitizing is the ability to identify a small set of numbers quickly without actually counting. This skill is necessary for building number sense and early math skills.
In this routine, I explain that our classroom helper is going to pick a classmate and point to a group of dots displayed on our easel. The student that was picked must quickly identify the number (subitize it!) before they can get up and go.
Idea #6 – Make it Magical
Bring a little magic into the classroom with this “Magic Wand” transition idea! It adds a fun, magical twist to an often ordinary part of the day and your kids will love it.
For this transition idea I use my “magic wand” (also known as my teacher pointer) to excuse students. I like to point to their names displayed in a pocket chart. When I point, the student reads their name, and then they are excused. An even simpler and quicker option is to just point right to the student that is free to get up and go.
Idea #7 – Identify the Shape
Learning shapes is always a hit in my classroom so I am constantly looking for new ways to incorporate identifying shapes into different parts of our day. This classroom transition idea does just that!
I prep by drawing the shapes we are currently learning on chart paper, making sure to draw the shapes in only one color so as not to distract or take the focus away from the shapes. I choose a student, point to a shape for them to identify, and then they can go. This is a great way to strengthen shape recognition skills in a fun way!
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Idea #8 – Telescope Time
How many times have you seen a student making binoculars with just their hands or rolling up a paper to turn it into a telescope? Usually, this is a time when I politely ask them to get back on task but not with this transition idea. With this routine I get to encourage the imaginative play and turn it into an effective and fun transition tool!
I simply use a paper towel roll (or other sturdy cardboard roll) as a “telescope.” I look through it and move it up, down, and around until it lands on a student. Then that student is excused. The excitement that builds as kids wait to see if I land on them is priceless!
My final (but incredibly helpful) tip is to keep it quick! We don’t want transitions to take too long and lead to kids sitting and waiting for a lengthy time. The real goal of these ideas is simply to not have all of our students get up and leave all at once. So how do we keep it quick while still being effective?
You don’t HAVE to choose every single student every time. With practice, the kids learn that they will get their turn that day, it just may not be right then. This works best with transition routines that have items with answers (Subitize It, Identify the Shapes, etc.).
You can also start slow with the first few students to get things moving and then speed it up! This works best for transition routines that don’t include students giving answers (Magic Wand, Telescope, etc.).
Which new classroom transition idea will you try first? Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of our effective transition tips and ideas including what to do when students don’t know the answer!
Want to stress less with even more “must-try” tips while learning how to create a “Playful Learning” environment?
(even if you “aren’t allowed to play”)
If you’re wanting to incorporate playful learning, free-flowing centers, effective routines, and more in your Pre-K or Kindergarten classroom, then you’ll definitely want to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!
This course is a deep dive into practical ways that you can create a playful learning environment in your classroom. Be sure to request an invitation so you’re the first to hear when the virtual doors open!
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