STRATEGIES FOR QUICK CLASSROOM TRANSITIONS

Check out these fun and easy classroom management tips and strategies for quick classroom transitions from the Clutter Free Classroom. Teachers and students will love teaching and learning these songs, procedures, and routines.
Check out these fun and easy classroom management tips and strategies for quick classroom transitions from the Clutter Free Classroom. Teachers and students will love teaching and learning these songs, procedures, and routines.

Teachers often wonder how to save time in the classroom. With everything that needs to get done, most teachers would agree there are not enough instructional hours in the school day. Since every second counts, it is important to not waste any time. This post will explain how classroom management transition strategies can enable teachers to spend more time on task.

This blog post will...

  • share several tried and true strategies for improving transitions in your classroom
  • help you create effective routines with your students that will keep them focused and productive
  • save you time and stress by introducing you to systems that have proven to work with many different cohorts of children.

Before We Begin...

I assume you are reading this because you are interested in improving your overall classroom management. I encourage you to grab this free resource:


How to Save Time in the Classroom

When making schedules teachers don't typically take into account transitions within the classroom room. A schedule may read:

9:00-10:00 Guided Math
10:00-10:15 Word Study
10:15-11:00 Reader's Workshop

The problem is that you don't magically snap your fingers at 10:00 and suddenly go from Guided Math to Word Study. The students may need to pass in their independent spiral review pages, put away math manipulatives, move around the room, distribute materials, and then get started on a spelling practice activity.

Without planning and practice, such transitions can get chaotic and will steal valuable teaching time. You may even find you are needing to manage and document student behaviors because the time off task sets the stage for impulsive behaviors. This is avoidable.

The best way I have found to save time is to set clear expectations and establish routine procedures for transitioning, set class goals and then use a stopwatch to time them.
Check out these fun and easy classroom management tips and strategies for quick classroom transitions from the Clutter Free Classroom. Teachers and students will love teaching and learning these songs, procedures, and routines.

I use the timer on my cell phone, but anything digital would work just fine.


How to Use the Timer Strategy:

I don't recommend using this strategy all the time, but when you do it will have a big impact. Here are the steps to follow:
  • Pick one transition at a time to focus on. Perhaps you want them to improve on lining up for lunch. Maybe you are finding you are losing valuable writer's workshop time because the students are taking too long to get their writing supplies and start writing. Whichever transition you select is the one you will stick with for a few days.
  • Without drawing attention to what you are doing, time how long it takes the students to transition. Record the time where they can see it.
  • At a later time (such as during a class meeting) explain the problem and how you are going to work as a team to solve it. If you've been teaching your students about a growth mindset you could tie in the benefits of goal setting to your work in that area. Tell them how long it took them to transition and set an initial goal of beating that time.
  • The next time that transition occurs get their attention and review the procedures. Remind them not to run and to always work as a team. Start the timer and tell them to transition. When they have successfully transitioned from point A to point B I stop the timer and record the time.
  • Discuss how the transition went. Talk about what was done well and address any areas to be improved further. 

What Has Worked in My Classroom:

In my classroom we kept track of the times and always strived to beat the best time. If they beat their best time, the class would earn a bingo number to add to our Teamwork Bingo Incentive Chart (which works amazingly well by the way). If they didn't beat the time we just focused on how to improve.

Once they showed improvement in a specific transition I would target another using the same process. It consistently helped to decrease behavior issues and helped us to reclaim time on learning.


IMPROVE YOUR CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT:



ANOTHER TIP FOR IMPROVING CLASSROOM TRANSITIONS:




Another great tool for improving transitions in your classroom is wind chimes.

They are the perfect signal for alerting your students that it is time to clean up an activity and transition to the next. I used them in my classroom for over a decade and they were consistently effective with every cohort of kids. 

Upon touching the chimes, the procedure is to become silent, put away whatever was being worked on and quickly transition to the group area. 



  • You will not feel the need to talk over people. 
  • You won’t need to state 50 bazillion times that it is time to clean-up. 
  • If someone needs further direction, the classroom will be silent and you can speak in your normal tone to instruct them. 


The thing I love most about the chimes is that they sound lingers before it fades so it isn't a signal that will be missed.



Check out these fun and easy classroom management tips and strategies for quick classroom transitions from the Clutter Free Classroom. Teachers and students will love teaching and learning these songs, procedures, and routines.

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