Transition Activities

I spent the day in the classroom subbing for one of my teachers. Through this time I discovered I was teaching the assistant a bit more than I expected to be teaching her. The major thing was Transition Activities! It's so much easier to move a group of children a little at a time rather than as a whole group. One activity that I used is here. This is the simplest activity:

Pick anything (shirts, shoes, pants, jackets, etc...) and call out colors. You need to make sure that you don't call blue jeans first or else the entire group gets up at once! But find something that sticks out. Here, I was actually very surprised to find, that most of the children had laces. Only three children had velcro on their shoes, so I started with that. This allows for a slow movement.

When we were coming in for breakfast, I called by color of anything: "If you are wearing orange, go wash your hands for breakfast." The assistant teacher was inside at the sink ready to receive children to wash their hands and direct them.

My favorite, and best controlled for a long transition, is to sing a song that sends one at a time. I used the frog today:

10 little froggies sitting on a well
Jose looked up and down he fell
Jose jumps high
Jose jumps low
And off he goes

This works well for getting ready for lunch. Now, Jose can go put his mat out, get his blanket, and start washing his hands before the next child is done with their verse of the song. You can change any counting song to do just this. The cookie song also works well for this time:
Rachel took the cookie from the cookie jar
(Rachel responds) Who me?
Yes you!
Couldn't be!
Then who?
(Rachel then chooses another child then goes and washes her hands)

These transition times can also be a great time to test the children in what they know. Call them out by a concept:

If your name starts with a B, go find an activity
If your birthday is in March, go find an activity
If your last name is Smith, go find an activity
If you are a boy, go find an activity

You will quickly be able to tell if they understand these concepts; especially when you have that boy sitting down at the end with black, laced, velcroed shoes!

Transitions should be a time that move the children in an orderly fashion from one place or activity to the next. Once they arrive at the next place, there shouldn't be waiting.

Most importantly, unless the whole group jumps up at once, if one or two children wander off before they are called, don't make a big deal. They are obviously not ready to wait. If you see a child is getting antsy waiting, make sure the next one they call is them. Don't torment the child by making her wait until the end because she can't sit still. Do both of you a favor and let her go!

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