I hope you are well. Today, I would like to speak about transitions. Transitions are often a forgotten part of lesson planning and a source of much wasted time. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. Transitions can be just as productive and educational as planned learning time.
Yes, you do a great job of planning lessons for all your classes? The activities are helpful and students are productive. Yet, transitions are chaotic, noisy, and wasted time. You aren’t sure why. I can tell you! You haven’t planned or taught a procedure for a smooth, educational, or productive transition.
Transitions need to be treated just like an actual class. Learning time is being wasted, if you don’t. Yes. I know, you do enough planning with the classes and the students need down time anyway. I agree. However, they don’t have to be a free for all and chaotic time. Transitions need planning and procedures just like regular classes.
They don’t need to be elaborate. Transition procedures can be as simple as clean up your space, put away your things, get ready for the next activity, jump up and down in place ten times, sit back down quietly, and whisper with your partner. Transitions can involve reciting the alphabet or multiplication facts (depending on age) as students are cleaning their space. You could put on some instrumental music and let students talk quietly until they hear the music stop.
Another strategy I have used during transitions before is to say something like, “I want you to clean your area, put away your things, and line up before I count down from 20. It must be quiet until you have things picked up. If you finish before I do, you can either jump up and down in line or talk quietly with a friend next to you in line. Ready, 20, 19, 18… make sure you push in your chair… 17, 16, 15, it should be quiet still, 14, 13, 12… don’t forget to check under your desk and chair, 11, 10, 9… you are talking quietly with a friend or jumping up and down in line in a safe space if you are done, 8, 7, 6, we should be almost ready, 5, 4, 3… get in line… 2, 1, 0. We should be in line, quiet, and ready to go. And, we are. Thank you.”
Transitions may be different for each class and each subject. The important thing is to have a planned procedure with clear expectations for transitions. Teach the procedures to students from the very beginning and make rules and participation count for those as well.
As you are planning for transitions, you may want to have a “quiet” transition procedure and a “not so quiet” transition. That way, if something comes up and students need to be very quiet or you are busy and can’t count backwards or participate in the procedure, students still know what to do and what is expected. Also, if the lesson involves a “not so quiet” activity, you may want to have a “quiet” transition or vice versa. Just remember, that students do need both “quiet” time and “not so quiet” time. They can’t be expected to be quiet for the entire school day.
So, it may take a little extra planning, but you will find that it will be well worth it. Your transitions will be smoother and more productive if they are well planned out and taught with high expectations.
What are your transition plans, rules, and routines? I would like to see and learn from you. Thank you.
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How are you? In education, August has been a time for preparation. Educators are busy preparing classrooms, schools, curricula, lesson plans, seating arrangements, name tags, procedures, and activities for students. Parents are busy preparing for students as well. They are buying school clothes and supplies, making daycare or after school arrangements, and signing paperwork. There is much that goes into education preparation, not to mention meals, nutrition, and health services.
Once school actually starts, whether at home, public school, or private school, many “beginning of the year” things start. I have found that “getting to know you” activities are helpful. They can also be educational. Even parents can use these activities for their home-schooled children. I have found that one such activity is “Getting to Know You Questions”. Teachers and parents can get to know their children, their likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses this way. (Even if parents think they know their children, this may be a great activity. The answers can be surprising. It could also be fun to keep the questions and answers over the years to see how the child’s likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses change over the years.)
I like the “Getting to Know You Questions” because not only does it provide information about student likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses, it is also written and can be kept as reference. It is also a writing sample of sorts, which can be useful in looking at spelling, grammar, and printing skills.
There are many questions educators can use to get to know their students better. The ideas are endless. However, if too many questions are asked, students are likely to get bored or frustrated with the activity and may not give honest answers.
I am providing a free copy of a sample “Getting to Know You Questions” sheet that you may use. Feel free to download them. If you would like to read the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations in your inbox and would like other educational content and activities, subscribe below. Also, DUO Inspirations creates educational materials to purchase, which might interest you. Thank you.
Now it is your turn.
What do you like to do to get to know your students at the beginning of the school year? I can’t wait to know your thoughts. Thank you.
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Word Search Uses in Education
How are you today? This week’s Education Blog post is featuring word searches. Word searches are a source of fun for many people. It is sometimes enjoyable to go through a grid of letters trying to find various words. Some can be quite easy, while other word searches can be quite difficult.
However, word searches don’t just have entertainment value. They also have educational value. Word searches can be used in various ways to improve educational skills. You may have even used word searches in your lessons before.
One of the most recognized uses for word searches is to reinforce correct spelling words. Word searches are often used as part of spelling lessons. When a student looks at a word multiple times in order to find it and ensure that it is the correct word found, it helps him or her remember the correct spelling of the word. Another strategy to further help the memory of correct spelling is to encourage the student to read the word and spell the word each time that he or she looks at the word, while looking for it in the word search. (For example, if looking for the word plant, he or she can look at the word and say, “Plant. P-l-a-n-t.” Then, he or she can look at the word search. Let’s say the student finds a P-L-A-O in the puzzle, he or she can check it against the word plant and find that it is incorrect. Since the student checked it against the word, he or she can repeat with the saying of the word and spelling it, “Plant. P-l-a-n-t.” Of course, the words and spellings are said silently, if possible.)
A second use for word searches is to reinforce vocabulary words. This is particularly so for the vocabulary words of themed lessons. For example, if one is studying a space theme, the names of the planets, as well as words such as asteroids, meteors, and orbit can be some of the word search words. In that way, the student gets reminded of and more familiar with these words.
Another use for word searches can be to learn strategy. I know this may sound strange, however, one can be taught or simply learn strategy through word searches. For example, just glancing at the puzzle and hoping to find a word is less effective than say starting at the top left hand corner and looking at each letter until you find a P while looking for the word plant. One could also ask the student to explain his or her word search strategy, which would lead to not only helping others learn, but also helping the student get better at speaking and presenting explanations.
I make my word searches by using a word processing program and a photo-editing program. I make my word list ahead of time. I decide how many words I want in the word search and how difficult I want it to be. I create a table within the word processing program for the size of puzzle I want. Then, I add the words into the puzzle, one letter per square. Afterwards, I add random letters in all the other boxes, around the words. Then, I add the words in a word bank on the bottom of the page. Lastly, I copy and paste all of that into the photo editing program and erase all the squares around the letters.
I realize that you may not have the time, knowledge, or resources to create your own word searches. Yes, there are some online programs where you can make your own word searches. However, I can also do it for you. Just, contact me. Let me know what words you want and whether you just want the to go horizontal, or if you want them to go vertical and/or diagonal as well. Note that the biggest word search I would recommend would be a 25x25 letter grid and about 20 to 25 words per puzzle. They can be smaller for younger or less experienced students and word searchers. I will then, create the word search and list it for you and others to purchase, and send you a link. (Please, make sure I have your email, so I can send you the link or email you if I have any questions or concerns.)
Now, it is your turn.
Do you like word searches? How do you use them? I would like to hear in the comments. Also, if you would like me to create a word search with your words, please contact me. If you like my content and would like to get the Education Blog in your email, please consider signing up below. Thank you.
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