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Discipline Checklist: Transitions

Found in: Classroom Management

School staff experience their most difficult time with student behavior during transitions. As students change from one activity to another, return from recess or a special event, or move from one part of the room to another, successful teachers report the necessity of using a number of strategies.

Consider the following:

  • As you announce an upcoming transition, remind students of the kind of behavior you're looking for.
    Restate your expectation of moving quietly and slowly without bumping, shoving, or touching others with hands or feet.
     
  • Publicly compliment those groups of students complying with your transition expectations.
    Say such things as, "I like the way John, Sue, and Paul are moving quietly to their seats. Some of you, I see, are already sitting, ready to begin. OK, now I see more of you are ready to work."
     
  • As students reenter the classroom, have the next activity waiting for them.
    Put a message on the overhead projector about how to get ready for the next lesson, or have an assignment or the seatwork for a lesson already distributed on their desks.
     
  • After all students have reentered the room, give a signal that you are ready to begin.
    Say, "Let's get started," "We have so much to do," or "The sooner we can begin, the sooner we can finish," or turn off the lights, count backwards from five, or ring a small bell. Then look at the clock, set a timer, or raise fingers on your hand with the prearranged understanding that lost minutes of instruction will be made up by the whole class (or a few individuals) before leaving for recess or lunch.

Excerpted from Discipline Checklist: Advice from 60 Successful Teachers, available from the NEA Professional Library

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