Wahiba Mouhandiz November 20, 2020 Math Worksheets

Bell work, advance notice, schedules posted, focus activities, and stretch breaks will make transitions smooth instead of hectic. I have had success using these ideas with my students.

1. Bell work. Bell work is a great tool to use to transition from coming in, to getting the class started. Putting an assignment on the board or a worksheet on their table at the beginning of class can be called bell work. When in a resource setting, where students move from table to table instead of room to room, having a bell work type assignment built into the class schedule works well.

2. Give advance notice or five minute warning before the change. A very important thing to remember is to always give a heads up first. Even when my boys were very young, I learned to let them know they had five minutes to do the last thing before we went home or on to another activity. This habit has proved very beneficial in the classroom. Some teachers put a timer under the Document camera. Let the students know what is expected.

3. Have the schedule posted with times. Letting the students know the schedule on the board also helps. My students with Autism appreciated the times included in the schedule. They would often remind me when the next activity was coming up. That would help me remember to give the five minute notice before the transition. Especially with special needs students, a consistent schedule is a must. The structure makes them feel safe. I keep the schedule going from the first day to the last day of school. Before breaks and the week before school ends the activities are a little more fun, however, we are still reading, writing, spelling and doing language activities.

4. Keep students focused on activities during transitions. When changing rooms or taking a restroom break, practicing math facts or spelling words helped the students focus and control their actions. This activity has proven successful in almost every instance. Even when I didn't know the group the students were pleased to show their expertise in math facts and spelling.

5. Students need to move every fifteen to thirty minutes. Students need to move around, i.e. change tables, stand and stretch, change rooms, etc. It is important to include these transitions in the schedule. Sometimes, students are in need of a stretch break during a lesson. At times I would notice that the students were losing interest, too excited to work, so I would have them stand up and stretch or do a fun song with them. Even the older students (and adults) need an unplanned break sometimes. Good teachers notice the need and make that happen. It usually helps the students to focus and stay on task until the lesson is officially over. My students were easily distracted during the transition. Once I had a group of sixth graders that stayed at the same table instead of moving. They changed subjects however, because of the crowded situation and the rotation of the groups; they were stuck, so to speak at that table. The group was so big we needed two horseshoe tables to accommodate the group. I would have the students stand and stretch while the fourth and fifth grade students move tables around them. Having a balloon to volley back and forth across the tables worked well. Also, having the students take turns coaching the rest of the group on which stretching activity they were to do next, worked well also.

I've been thinking about transitions. In my experience bell work, advance notice, schedules posted, focus activities, and stretch breaks have made transitions go more smoothly for my classes.

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