Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What does the classroom sound like? Part III

Part Three: Get Up, Move On -  Transition Playlist

Confession: transitions are tricky for subs.

Imagine yourself in this situation:

It's time to move onto another activity. You don't know the classroom procedures. There is an attention-getter list on the board but one of the early arrives told you that their teacher never uses it. What do you do?

A. Clap a pattern and wait for students to clap back.
B. Turn off the lights.
B. Scream, "holy moly" at the top of your lungs in hopes that someone screams back, "guacamole."
C. Explain and model your expectations and introduce your attention-getter as soon as you can.

I try to talk to students as soon as we meet and explain my attention-getter (I learned it from my rockstar cooperative teacher during student teaching). I use a countdown. I say, "We have a lot of fun things to do today and just enough time to get it done. We need to work together to help each other stay on task. Thumbs up if you think you can help me stay on task today." Students are excited about the challenge. If I'm ever off task, they remind me!

I explain the countdown:
 "When I say 5, I need your voices off." - I hold up my hand with 5 fingers
"When I say 4, I need your eyes on me." - I hold up 4 fingers
"Please, do not wait until I get down to 0 to give me your attention. That is wasting our time. If you waste the time from class, you owe me minutes at recess. Do you think this is fair?"
I then open up discussion for students to quickly bounce ideas off of. Most students agree it is fair because they really need time in the classroom.

This whole explanation takes about 30 seconds and saves me tons of instructional time in the long run.

Let's move on to the music...

I get student's attention by starting the countdown and saying sometime like, "by the end of this 60 second song you should be finished cleaning up your center, back at your desk with a piece of paper and pencil out, and you should be reading silently. We will start our spelling test afterwards." "READY, SET, WALK."  I then start the music.

Transition Playlist

Album: This song is on many different Disney soundtracks
Song: The Enchanted Tiki Room

Album: Rockabye Baby's Lullaby Rendition of Elvis
Song: Hound Dog, All Shook Up, etc.

Album: Mine is from a Walt Disney World Soundtrack but I believe you can find it elsewhere
Song: The Ballad of Davy Crockett

This is a fun one for students of all ages. It also gives me a chance to tell kids that Davy Crockett is from Tennessee, some know and others don't. I like to hear what they know about him.

Artist: Sesame Street Cast & Will-I-Am
Song: What I Am
Will-I-Am, again? A fourth grader suggested this song to me and it's a fun one for all ages.

Final Thought: While I love music, I don't always use music for transitions. If students are going to spend 1-2 minutes for example, I wouldn't use music to transition from whole group to center work but I would use it if students were doing a craft activity with glue, paper, and the whole kitchen sink all over the desk!  All you crafty parents and teachers know what I'm talking about! :) 

I also try to keep transition time to the very least amount of time possible.

I'm sure there are many other songs out there that get the kids moving. I've heard some Yo Gabba Gabba songs that sound promising. I am open to anything that will help students get up, get moving, and moving on to another activity.

What do you use to help get your students motivated to transition from activities?


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