Transitions in the Classroom
Transitions can be exceedingly time consuming activities in the classroom. They can also be disruptive, interrupting what otherwise might have been a productive class period. Try implementing this week’s classroom management strategies to help ease transitions.
This Week's Tips
Plan for Classroom Transitions (Monday)
Prepare your students for classroom transitions before they occur. Let students know up front how much time they have to work on a task in class. Watch your time carefully and let them know throughout the task how much time they still have. Transitions are far smoother when students can anticipate the change and know the time constraints they are under.
Classroom Management Builds on Predictability (Tuesday)
Maintain a predictable class structure. Set up classroom routines for transitions such as entering and exiting the classroom and handing in homework at the beginning of each semester. Decide how you want students to prepare for classroom activities (getting into groups, sitting quietly at their desks, etc.). Idea: Write a short task or question on the board for students to begin working on while you take attendance and wait for others to arrive to class.
Establish Classroom Procedures (Wednesday)
Anticipate and answer questions about classroom procedures such as grading and homework up front. Provide students with written documentation about grading and homework procedures to save classroom time and repetitive explanations. The better you become at predicting students questions, the less time you will need to take out of class to explain things and the more informed your students will be.
Effective Classroom Transitions Incorporate Structure (Thursday)
Provide clear boundaries between activities. Announce transitions and monitor them as you guide the class from one thing to another. Like adults, students need closure in order to structure their learning and make sense of what is being taught. Task boundaries also allow students to mentally prepare for a shift in task and be better positioned for learning.
Flexibility Prolongs Effective Instruction (Friday)
Be flexible with classroom time when necessary. When students are on task and engaged in an activity, consider postponing a planned activity if the task they are engrossed in is both meaningful and appropriate. Try to identify why students found the activity so interesting and aim to repeat it or transfer those qualities to other activities.