This Week’s Feature: Transition Leader

Hello again! Saturday snuck up on me this week. That probably has something to do with the fact that between being sick and professional development I was only actually in my classroom for 2 1/2 days. What a strange week!

Today’s feature comes from Kate Condon. And luckily, even though the day surprised me, Kate was ready! Kate is in her first year of teaching but it sounds like she is already doing an awesome job. So happy reading!

Kate Condon
2nd Grade
Worcester, MA

Tell us about what is working in your classroom?

A big emphasis in my classroom is safe appropriate transitions. To help make them as smooth as possible, one of my classroom jobs is the transition leader! The child’s job is to literally leader the transition, from our seats, to the rug, to the line, they do it all! The student starts the transition by saying “I am waiting for ___ (number) of friends to show me they are ready.” The room needs to be totally silent and bodies still in order for the next step. Once the classroom is silent and bodies are still, the transition leader says “will everybody please stand up.” Again, the expectation is that the room is silent and everyone is on their feet. If the transition leader hears chatting, they say “can everybody please sit back down.” This doesn’t happen often anymore because of the all the practice, however on days where my friends are extra wiggly, we sometimes have to sit back down. Finally, the child says “can everyone please transition to _______ (where ever we need to be, our seats, the rug, the line, etc)” We have a scoreboard on the white board, a happy face and a sad face. If the transition is safe and appropriate, the transition leader gives the class a happy point. If the transition was poor, they give the class a sad point. If the class receives a sad point, the transition leader states what went wrong, and how we can fix it.

Why do you think this practice is working?

Since jobs change every week, all students have the opportunity to be the transition leader. I think since everyone gets the chance to be in charge, the students all see and experience at least one poor transition. In my opinion, it makes them more aware of how they transition. Also, the transition leader is the one rating the transition, one of their peers, so they become more independent and student lead!

How did you set this practice up in your classroom?

The first week and ½ of school, my principal made it clear that she wanted her teachers to hold off on beginning curriculum, but to really take the time to review and model expectations, procedures, and routines. It was so nice to take this time. At this point in the school year, that first week and a half is really paying off.

I have seen transition leaders in other classrooms, typically upper grades, and just added my own twist with the score board. I wanted to try it and see how it went, keeping in the back of my mind that my kids are 6 and 7. I modeled over and over again how I expected this to be done. The first few students were students who are role models in my classroom. I can now say with confidence that any child in my room could lead an appropriate transition!

Can you suggest any resources (links/books/articles) that would help someone else set this practice up?

Whole brain teaching was where I got the scoreboard idea. This website also offers other classroom management techniques that we use in my room.

I think this is a great idea that has it’s foundation in pure consistency. It sounds like having this very structured, predictable and routine procedure for transitions means that there is very little actual management that needs to be done once it is set up. This is what great teachers do! I have never met a teacher whose classroom ran smoothly that didn’t tell me about the painstaking work and time they put in at the beginning of the year setting up procedures, routines and expectations. I love the added element of putting students in the role of managing themselves and their peers. It gives so much ownership to the kids. Also, I would imagine kids want to behave for the transition leader because they know it will be their turn to be in charge soon enough and they will want people to behave for them. What a great detail in the development of student leadership and classroom community!

Also, make sure you check back in on Wednesday because I have a great Whole Brain Teaching video to share with you!

Thanks for visiting!


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