Why do we need to incorporate transitions into our teaching day and why is it important to master this as a teacher?

Well, transitions are not simply a means of controlling or managing a group, they are interesting, engaging and open ended activities with a definite structure. When you incorporate Transition activities into your timetable, you can give children the activity to re-engage and provide students with a series of tasks that don’t take a long time to complete. This can help students feel that they are making progress by keeping them engaged.

Having a routine in your classroom can help. For instance, plan to have a starter activity ready on the desks for the students every time they enter your classroom and as soon as they enter the room. They shouldn’t have any excuse that they “have nothing to do”. Transitions need preparation like any other activity. Plan for them and enjoy the results!

Mastering Transition – Hot Tips 

  • Make transitions fun and meaningful
  • Keep a collection of finger-plays, games and songs in your teaching bag of tricks for instant activities
  • Use a timer to indicate when a transition will happen and for how long.
  • Tell students what is going to happen next, what will they be doing after the transitions.  This helps students to understand what is expected of them and look forward to the next change
  • Invite students to create their own versions of transition activities.

Types of Transitions

  • Movement Transitions- Different ways to move from place to place
  • Calming Transitions- Activities that will calm the tone of the class and redirect the focus and energy of the classroom
  • Action Breaks- Opportunities to release a little bit of extra energy eg aerobics, movement, dance breaks, action songs
  • Thinking Time- Thought provoking activities where students are challenged to think creatively, or offer them a problem solving or open ended task
  • Musical Breaks – songs, finger plays, poems


Identify where the transitions from one activity to another will be.

These are the times when students will talk. If a student genuinely doesn’t have anything to do because they are still waiting for the worksheets to be handed out, can you really expect them not to chat?

Suggested Attention Getting Signals

  • Musical Instruments (bells, drum, tambourine, triangle etc)
  • Music on the IWB or a video clip
  • Sound effect recording (can be used on the IWB)
  • Hand clapping, hand motions or sound language

Links to explore for other transition activities




Happy teaching!

Nikki Tester

Ocean View Resources – visit my site for more tips and resources!