You might not have heard the term “between times” before but I’m sure you’ve experienced them. You know, when you are transitioning from one activity to another, in between two tasks. The times when there is less structure. The times when little minds seem to forget every.single classroom expectations as they attempt to fill the “between times.” 🤣 Yep – I thought you might know exactly what I was talking about! Let’s talk about how to keep your classroom running smoothly during those between times.
In my previous post, I shared some ways I manage my classroom expectations as a whole group, and tips to keep behaviors at bay, especially during the craziest weeks of the school year. You can read more about those classroom management tips on this post.
For now, let’s chat about managing your classroom during breaks and transitions.
Classroom Management through Songs
My students always, always, always respond so well to a direction when I sing it. Trust me…I do not have a singing voice! But it works like a charm every time! We use songs and chants daily in the classroom, and especially during transitions and those between times too.
These songs help to get my students attention in a fun and engaging way. They also love to sing along which helps to cut down on the extra chatter.
When I need my students to come meet me at the carpet, I start to sing The Carpet Song and they join me in a flash! When they need a reminder to sit quietly, I start to sing Quiet Please and they immediately turn off their voices.
It also saves me a ton of frustration and aggravation throughout the day because let’s face it, singing *is* fun!
I added all of my favorite songs we use in our classroom every day to my Classroom Management Bundle and I also included the tunes so you can hear exactly how to sing them!
Classroom Management for Transition Time
When we’re not singing, we’re filling our transition time with some thinking! We transition A LOT in kindergarten and sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming to everyone.
I have found the key to smooth transitions is keeping students thinking and engaged. They same to stay on-track a bit better and everyone is less overwhelmed. So how do we keep our little learners engaged and thinking during transition times?
Over the years, I have tested out several things. Many worked great and some others, well . . . not-so-much! What I found worked the best was asking my students questions as we transitioned to a new task. I couldn’t always come up with questions off the cuff, so I created a set of Transition Task Cards to help me think of questions to ask.
I stuck the cards on a ring and kept them near the front of the room so they were easy to grab. When it was time to line up for recess, I would say “Boys and girls, it’s time to line up for recess! While you’re walking to your line, tell me the first sound you hear in ‘mat’!” and that got them thinking as they were walking!
I created over 48 different transition cards to incorporate use in your classroom. Honestly, this is one of the biggest lifesavers when it comes to classroom management. Being able to transition from activity to activity with ease makes for a smooth day for everyone. Grab these cards, use the ones that work best for your class, and see what a difference easy transitions can make!
Fast Finisher Activities
This just might be THE between time of all between times. When your students finish an assignment, they have some unstructured time, and they’re not quite sure what to do.
One of the best things I set up in my classroom is a Fast Finishers Station! I fill it with engaging activities that the students can work on after they finish their task. I found this 3 drawer storage organizer at Joann fabric but you can find them at Target or Amazon too. Make sure the drawers are large enough for paper to fit inside of them.
Before I add a new activity to the drawers, I introduce it to the whole class so they know exactly how to use it. The students know that they grab a fast finisher stick from the jar and then find the matching activity sheet. All of the fast finisher activities are things students can do on their own, which makes them perfect to use in this way.
Some of the fast finisher activities include, reading a book writing silly sentences, and writing a sticker. The great thing is that if students don’t finish their fast finisher activity, the activity can easily be stopped and saved for the next time they need it.
When students can independently find a fast finisher activity and complete it then I am able to continue working with students that may need help. It is definitely one of those classroom management tools that makes our room run like a well oiled machine.
Creating Your Classroom Management Plan
If you are in need of some extra support with your classroom management this year, you can find my classroom management resources in this Classroom Management Bundle. You can use them all or pick what is best for your classroom this year. But most importantly, use them to create a classroom management plan that works for you and your students.
Save these Tips and Ideas
Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board and save these tips and ideas. You never know when you might need to change up your classroom management plan.