If you have taught long enough then you know that every student must transition when going from one lesson to the next and this requires an effective classroom management technique. Without a good technique these transitions will many times lead to classroom management problems that the teacher must address. This article will talk about the ways that you can transition from one lesson to the next with the least amount of disruption to the classroom.
The first thing that I recommend that you implement is the use of the mini-lesson. Mini-lessons are a perfect way to keep the students’ attention without allowing them to get bored. As we all know bored students can often cause classroom management issues which are what we are trying to avoid in the first place.
The best way to facilitate a positive transition between lessons is to make sure that the transition is always well structured with a classroom management technique. When unstructured the chances of issues arising during the transition period are greatly increased. In simple terms sometimes the best defense is actually a good offense. Here are 5 steps you can take to structure your transitions and cause the least amount of disruption to your class.
1. Have a Signal
You must have a signal which will effectively stop all student activity. One of the simplest ways to do this is to use an egg timer. On the very first day of school teach the students that when the timer beeps they need to immediately stop what they are doing and listen for further directions. Of course many other signals can be used and this is just one example.
2. Give Specific Directions
Your students can not read minds any better then you can. When you are specific about what you want it is better for everyone. For example if you are transitioning from a math activity to a silent reading activity there is a large difference between telling the students they need to put their math away and open there books to page 25 and, “You have 1 minute to put your math away and turn your book to page 25 without talking. When you hear the beep, stop immediately and listen for further directions.” You can easily see which one is better because it is more specific. I would also recommend writing the page number on the board for further clarification.
3. Follow Up to Ensure Understanding
You need to know that your students understand what to do. The easiest way to do this is to select students at random and ask them to repeat your directions. You might ask them what they should be doing or how much time they have left.
4. Model When Necessary
If the transition is especially complex you may need to just model the transition yourself. A good example is if the students need to get into groups. You may model the way that you expect them to get up and form the groups. Remember that the students need specific directions as to what they need to do. This technique can also be used for simple directions like putting a crayon back in the box and putting the box in the proper place. Remember you are the teacher and it is your job to teach the students the right thing to do.
5. Say, “Go!”
When all of the steps above are complete set your timer, if that is what you are using, and say, “Go!” Students will then start the structured transition.
This is one way to achieve effective classroom management but there is more to know. Below I have provided a review of a resource that can be the most important tool a teacher can use to maintain control of the classroom. I highly suggest that you read it.
You know that you must transition between lessons and these transitions must be smooth to run an effective classroom. You can not let these transitions lead to classroom management problems so you must use a classroom management technique. If you follow the 5 steps outlined above you will see that you will be able to transition between lessons effectively with minimum disruption to the classroom.