Transitioning With The Magic Word & The 50 States

Hi, Teachers!

Once you move past the first six weeks of school, sometimes kids can test your limits. That's natural, and that's OK. Kids test so they know what is and isn't expected of them. It's also natural if you feel a bit frustrated. I find that this is the time of year when kids start to get a little bit comfortable and see what they can and can't get away with during transition times. Of course, you can model certain transitions over and over again, but after a certain point, you have to put the ownership on the kids. Now, I'm not saying stop modeling and giving positive reinforcement during the transition. Definitely keep doing that! However, this first tip will keep your kids listening to directions so they can move through transitions successfully. My tip for you is to use... a magic word!

This is the smallest little tip I've heard in a while, but the impact was immediate. I start my transitions by saying "When you hear the magic word, which is ____, you will (insert directions here)." Then I have the kids repeat the directions and off they go when I say the magic word. Each time, my magic word changes. So far, I think my students' favorite magic word was "pineapple." They chuckled a lot over that one. Then, while the kids transition, I am giving constant positive feedback. Simple right? But the magic word makes kids buy into the fact that they have to listen for it... making them more motivated to listen!

My next tip I discovered accidentally. It was the end of a school year (like, 2 days before school was about to end), and my kids were very active to say the least. I told them I bet I could say the 50 states in alphabetical order before they could finish packing up. They happily accepted the challenge, not knowing that I learned the 50 Nifty Song in elementary school! Somehow I still remembered it. 

My suggestion is to sing this during transition time. It becomes a challenge to beat the teacher, but it also gives the kids practice memorizing the states! I started using this this year, and within a few days, many of the kids knew the fifty states in order. I didn't try to teach it to them, I didn't try to get them to memorize it... we just used it in a fun way during the day. It feels good to know they're getting the exposure!

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Anyway, those are my quick little tips for you, Teachers! What are your tips for moving smoothly through transitions? Did you buy your Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters yet? If so, what did you get?

1 comment

  1. I love the "magic word" for transition times. I use something similar in my third grade class. Each day, I introduce a new "word of the day." I unveil it in the morning, and we discuss the meaning of it after pledges. Sometimes the word of the day is just a fun word, but I usually try to incorporate it into something we are learning about (difference, regrouping, prominence, solar), or sometimes it has to do with character building (self-control). I use this word throughout the day to transition, and it has been working really well this year!