Transitions Transitions

This is how I felt going to bed last night knowing my alarm would NOT be going at off 5 a.m. this morning!!!

I LOVE three day weekends!!!! I don't know about you, but Mondays are the hardest for me. Especially Monday mornings when the whole entire week is still ahead of you. Because by Tuesday, at least it's not Monday anymore. And Wednesday we're half way there. And Thursday who cares because tomorrow is Friday. And then Friday! Yipeee. 

I was wondering about how you fabulous teachers transition your kiddos from one activity to another during the day. We all know that the faster we transition them, the more learning time....

I went to a Rick Morris (the classroom management guru. In fact, my classroom management idol) training my first year of teaching and was hooked on his method of transitioning kids. I use music!!! Songs like "Billy Nye The Science Guy" and "Mission Impossible" and the theme music from "Jeopardy" and "Password." I teach my kids at the beginning of the year what each song signifies. I have a song for pretty much everything- coming to the carpet, lining up, talking to your neighbor, transitioning from work station to work station, cleaning up... For example, when they hear the Mission Impossible song, they know they need to start cleaning up. By the end of the song, they need to be sitting up tall in their seats, everything put away, feet on the floor, hands crossed on top of their desks, and a big smile on their faces. 

It actually works, too! Whenever anyone comes into our classroom (okay, okay- when my mom comes in) she is always so impressed with how well "trained" they are. In fact, she says they are more well trained than my dogs (which isn't really a huge feat at all because they have all of about two manners between the three of them. In fact, they are barking ferociously saying hello to the neighbors walking by right now... On a positive note, I don't have to invest in one of those fancy shmancy security systems because of them...Here's what you might see walking by my house:

Who would want to break into that house with those vicious doggies...???)

Back on track!!! Here are three reasons why I love using the music for transitions: 

1. It eliminates me from having to say "Time to clean up" over and over and over and over and over again. I don't have to say a word. When they hear that song, they know. And then I can save being a broken record for phrases like, "Capitals!!! Periods, people!!!" and "We always start in the ones place!" and "Did you wash your hands after going to the restroom!? No!?!? How many times do I have to tell you!!!???"

2. The kids are more motivated by the music than me- SHOCKING, I know...

3. The kiddos internalize the music and know exactly how much time they have to do a certain task. This eliminates wasted time (which I hate!!! I tell my kids I have nightmares about wasted time in second grade...) 

You can check out Rick Morris' website here. He's got some amazing classroom management tips and tricks!!! And you can find more info on using music for transitioning here.  

Now, I had EVERY intention of going into school today to get stuff done! To prep and plan and copy and sharpen and laminate and get ahead of the game (that's always my goal but NEVER happens...when it does happen it lasts for about an hour, then my to-do list has piled back up). Going to school didn't happen.

I did NOT stay home and watch a Four Weddings marathon.
I did NOT stay home and read Taylor Armstrong from RHOBH's book. (if any administrators ask, I was reading a book by Robert Marzano!!!) 
I did NOT take a nap. 
I did NOT get Panera for lunch.
I did NOT do any of those things.... 

So, two questions for you. Did you have a productive day??? (Please say no to make me feel better!!!) 

And, what do you do to transition your kiddos during the day!?!?



  1. I DID NOT have a productive day! All I really did was go to the grocery store and now I'm SCRAMBLING to get my lesson plans all typed up!

    Oh my goodness, I LOVE your puppies. So cute. My doggie parks at everything too.

    I used music for transitions a lot a few years ago but now just use an egg timer on my Smartboard. Thanks for the reminder to switch it up. My kiddos love music too!
    Stories From Second

  2. I love your transitions! And your dogs :)

    I did have a productive day. Went to the grocery store, made lunch, I'll make dinner, and I got to work on some behavior freebies I'll be post soon :)

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

  3. We sing through transitions all day long too. We also use poetry and counting to get us from one thing to another. It all works like a charm huh?

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  4. Sat through 6 hours of the longest inservice ever! Had to be! But the good part was great Mexican food lunch with my teammates.

  5. The kids did not have school today, but teachers had inservice all day long. So, it was productive on learning new things, but not for doing things at home! We do lots of things in transition...poems, count, sing, etc.

  6. My dogs look exactly like that at the window!

    1) I did NOTHING I had planned to do Monday. And paid for it today.

    2) I've use iRemote from my reading table to start a song in my laptop's iTunes to signal the rotations. The kids thought it was magic at first. =)

    P.S. Now I want Panera...

    Emily @ Second Grade Silliness 

  7. My day was not as productive as I would have liked to be considering today was a teacher plan day. Does an excessive number of pins on pinterest count as productive? But I'm so excited to have read your post! I didn't realize that Rick Morris was the clip chart guy - I love our clip chart and will have to investigate the rest of his work now. Thanks for sharing!
    Mrs. Castro's Class 2nd Grade...Spanglish Style