Skip to main content

8 Ways to Speed Up Classroom Transitions


Have Materials Ready
Line up all of your lesson materials on an open table for easy access.  We start our math lesson off with a fact fluency song every morning, so I use this time to get materials out.  2-3 minutes is typically all it takes for me to grab the necessary boxes and line them all up.


Bowls
I also have a stack of large bowls in my room that I can fill up with anything to enable everyone to reach the materials.  If we are using pattern blocks, I can place 6 bowls of blocks out rather than asking everyone to grab 1 red trapezoid, 2 yellow hexagons, etc. 


Split Up Boys & Girls
Have your boys go put their paper in their mailbox, while the girls put their clipboards away.  Then switch.  This automatically cuts traffic in half and speeds the process up.  The same rule applies when working with partners.  Have partner 1 go get dry erase materials for both people, while partner 2 gets the necessary papers & supplies.


Use Music
Websites such as Flocabulary, YouTube, Amazon Music, etc. are the perfect way to get your class up and moving.  I choose a song that is the appropriate length (or start it in the middle) and tell the kiddos they have until the end of the song to be cleaned up and sitting at their seat.  Content based songs are the best because they sing along and don’t even realize they are learning.  So often, I feel like they aren’t hurrying, when in reality it has only been 20 seconds since I gave them a direction.  The songs help me know just how long it has been and show the kiddos a little grace. 


Have Students Turn Work Into A Specific Location
9 times out of 10 students don’t need to place their work directly into your hands.  Have them place work in a designated bin or file so that you have 30 seconds to get ready for the next lesson.

Buy-One-Get-One
Ok, so they aren’t buying anything, but I have started telling my students to get one paper for themselves and one for a friend.  This enables me to have half as many kids standing in line for a paper and the fast kiddos can help out the slow kiddos without anyone realizing what’s going on.


Keep It Short And Sweet
Stop giving your kiddos so many directions!  Keep it short!  Within the first few days, my kiddos know the phrase “Paper, pencil, clipboard, carpet”  That’s all I have to say for them to get their materials and take a seat on our carpet.  Less talking for you isn’t a bad thing.  Short, one word, directions are easy to remember. 

Repeat After Me
My teammate is the one that got me started with classroom chants.  She has always made her kindergartners and now first graders repeat after her.  She gives a one word direction and they repeat it three times as they are doing it so that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing and they aren’t having a conversation with their friend.  If she says “line up” they say “line up, line up, line up” as they are doing it.  It may seem a little robotic, but those first few weeks are rough and procedures must be understood as quickly as possible to have a productive year. 




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Favorite Board Games For Math

I don't know about you, but I love board games!  I grew up playing cards and board games and building puzzles with my family, and those are some of my favorite memories.  You know that I also love technology, but sometimes, it's nice to unplug.  Here are a few of my favorite games to use in the classroom for math.  This list is constantly growing, so keep your eyes peeled for another post in the future. (Affiliate Links Provided)

Chutes & Ladders This is one of the first games I introduce in my classroom.  Kiddos love the idea of playing "games" at school.  Chutes and Ladders is setup like a hundreds chart and the perfect way to get kiddos familiar with the layout of the chart.  Students learn to take turns and ease into math centers in my room.
Connect Four This is a great game to build your math center routines and procedures.  Students are learning problems solving and creating strategies while cooperating with others.  To add a little more math to it, use a p…

Engage NY - Devil's Advocate

Engage NY Math is quickly becoming a hot topic across the country. NY Department of Education developed curriculum to support Common Core and published it online for free. Our district has adopted the math portion. I would like to play devil's advocate and see what everyone thinks about Engage. Pros:
~It is free online
~It dives deep into numbers, both composing and decomposing and makes our kiddos think differentlyCons:
~It is only available online which means everything must be printed, no materials can be purchased pre-made
~ Each lesson is an hour long of direct instruction
~ The first grade lessons include a lot of papers, typically three double sided pages each day if you do the homeworkQuestions:
~ Does it say anywhere that it is research based?
~ Why hasn't a publishing company picked it up? Post your thoughts in the comments.

Interactive Whiteboard Units

A section on our evaluation involves using technology in our classroom.  The district is also replacing all of our SMARTBoards with Prometheans.  We wanted the kiddos to be more involved with our lessons and keep their attention.  Sometimes, I am just sick of passing out a paper for them to do.  The kiddos also have a hard time seeing a book when I read it on the carpet.  You know the scenario..."Johnny isn't sitting on his pockets."  "Sally forgot her glasses."  Although our document cameras are wonderful, they are also a SMART product and the district hasn't decided what exactly they are going to do about them.  I scoured the internet for free ebooks and setup an account with our librarian so that we could access even more ebooks.  Reading was our main focus this year as far as interactive whiteboard units were concerned.  I just finished our Text Features unit and you  can see a PDF version below.  I did not provide a copy of my lesson plans, so some sli…