Friday, July 29, 2011

Totally Transitions Tips

I've been spending a lot of time lately updating my website to document my journey into Kindergarten, but the start of school is just on the horizon and I'm starting to feel less than prepared.  My main worry?
I know how important routines, schedules, and transitions are for Kindergarteners, so I've scoured books and the internet for transitions that I LOVE!

Top 5 Transitions Tips
Drumroll, Please

Transitions Tip #1
Music Playlists and Sound Bites

Simply 2nd Resources uses pre-made playlists for beginning the day, transitions, calming, and ending the day.  Check it out!

Primary Connections uses music sound bites like "Aye Aye Captain" from Spongebob Squarepants to signal it's time to clean up. 

First Class With Mrs. Mac uses sound bites of theme songs from popular movies or television shows like Jeopardy or Mission Impossible.

Curls and a Smile plays a song that give the kids time to clean up AND DANCE (if they finish cleaning up quick enough).

Mrs. Bee's KinderGarden  uses a song to gather everyone to the carpet, and if everyone is in their spot by the time the music ends, they get a "gumball" on the incentive chart! (I LOVE IT!!)

Gracehopper Learning loves Dr. Jean CD's.  (As a newbie to Kindergarten I must admit that I don't have any.  So, this is something for me to check out!)

Transitions Tip #2 
Interactive Whiteboards

Interactive Whiteboard Ideas uses an online clock, timer, or stopwatch. 

(I've actually used a timer that counts down with my upper grade kids...I wonder if there is something more visual out there for Kinders, maybe an iterative sand timer?)

Curls and a Smile uses flipcharts with sight words, word patterns, math facts, etc. to read as they move to their destination. 

Transitions Tip #3
Rhymes, Responses, and Body Movements

A class response method that I've always liked is "Peanut Butter and Jelly."  When I say, "Peanut Butter" the class responds, "Jelly." They are expected to stop and look at me at that point.  If there are any who do not, I simply repeat, "Peanut Butter" and everyone repeats, "Jelly".  It only takes a couple times and always brings smiles!

The Schroeder Page dismisses kids from the carpet with a "Row Rap" and has a "Body Check" rhyme for getting ready to learn. 

Curls and a Smile has a body game called "1, 2, 3 Still as a Statue" where the kids freeze in an interesting way to listen for directions before moving on to the next activity.

Kinder Kats uses a follow the leader game down the hallway using different arm/hand movements.

Kindergarten Monkey Business uses a class response method from Whole Brain Teaching.  She'll say "Class" in a fun way and they respond "Yes" to match her style, rhythm, or pattern.

Teacher in Training uses a clapping response, where the kids mimic the clapping pattern and then stop to listen.

Mrs. Bee's Kindergarten also has a line up poem that reminds the kiddos what is expected in the hallway.

GraceHopper Learning also posted making the movements to the carpet thematic.  For example, "pretend you are Native Americans looking for Turkeys- you must be quiet and watchful as you move so you can sneak up on one! "

Transitions Tip #4
Props and Instruments
A friend of mine uses dancing stuffed animals.  She will push the button on one to indicate clean up time, and then another to let the kids know to come to their spots on the rug!  I can see this getting very seasonal (and fun!)  

Curls and a Smile has a Music Wand that she chimes 4 times for clean up and 2 times to switch stations. 

I {Heart} Teaching uses a music box! She winds it up on Monday and anytime they need a quick transition or to get their attention, she opens it up.  If there is any music left at the end of the week,  the class gets a reward!  *AWESOME*

Rambling about Reading uses chimes!  Love this idea!

Transitions Tip #5
Games and Riddles

Curls and a Smile also uses an "I'm thinking of..." game.  It might relate to math, phonics, themes, anything!

Mrs. Dillard uses the Secret Walker method.  Only the teacher and the line leader knows who the Secret Walker is in the hallway.  They watch to see if The Secret Walker is quietly in line.  If they are, they get a Warm Fuzzy!

(I've done something similar with pulling a student's popsicle stick at random.  I'll watch in the hall and if the student does a nice job, he/she gets a Gator Buck.  If not, no one ever knows who it was.)


  1. I am a newbie to kindergarten too! I taught first for 3 years so I am familiar with Dr. Jean. I've been know to make up my own songs on the spot too. Great thing about 5-6 year olds is they can't tell if you aren't a good singer ;) Can't wait to follow your blog more! Check out mine-


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