Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Transitions between activities

I have had several interesting conversations with some teachers in
the last few weeks about how they have children in their classes
having difficulty with transitions. The children either don't want to
leave the activity they are currently engaged in or it becomes a power
struggle with the child wanting to choose what activity to do next.
This leads to frustration on both sides; the teacher and the student.
So here are some things to consider: One, think about using a picture
schedule. This is particularly helpful with children who may not be
reading yet or children who are very visual in nature. Keep the
schedule at child eye level. You would be surprised how many times I
have entered a classroom only to see the picture schedule located way
up on a wall out of the children's reach. Review the schedule with
the children throughout the day to help them see what will be coming
up in their day.
Two, give a five minute warning prior to the transition. I have even
used timers with countdown areas on the clock for children to see the
time elapsing and then used the picture from our picture schedule to
alert the children of the transition that is coming up. That way
children can "gear up" for the change in the routine.
Three, make sure to give simple but clear directions about the
transition. Remember the saying KISS? (Keep It Simple Stupid) It is
the same theory really. Some children have difficulty with multi-step
directions. It isn't that they are upset about the transition, it is
that they don't understand the directions you just gave to them. So
give directions in a simple format and with some children consider
restating the directions to ensure their success.
Those are just three suggestions for helping your transition from one
activity to another in the classroom. There are many others out
there. What have you used with success? Please share in the comments

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