Transition times account for a decent chunk of the school day, and it’s hard not to feel like that time is lost or distracting to your learners. That’s okay! You can give your transition times a boost by adding in healthy choices. Incorporating a quick emotional check-in or a movement activity into that transition time provides your students with a burst of energy to refresh their minds for the next learning experience. Here are a few quick tips to help your learners adjust to the change in transition activities.
- Provide kids with verbal and nonverbal cues to recognize that it’s transition time.
- Talk about your expectations for behavior and participation.
- Be patient – it will take time for your students to adjust to the change and for you to find the activities that work best for your group.
- Support your learners before, during, and after the transition.
- Give them positive attention and feedback to reinforce the new routine.
- Stay flexible with your activity plans in case learners are having more difficult days or need time to process overwhelming emotions.
Looking for some activities and ideas to get you started? Check out a few of our favorites!
Enjoy a Mindful Moment. Practicing mindfulness can increase mental focus and physical energy. It’s also an effective way to cope with stress and feelings of anxiety, as it helps you to focus on the present moment. Pull a card from the Mindful Moments deck and enjoy a mindful moment before you move onto your next activity. If you have the ability to use a video projector or display screen in your classroom, bookmark our new relaxation video, Relax with Dakota: A Mindful Meditation for Kids! The guided relaxation video is available in English and Spanish and with a total run time of 2 minutes – it’s the perfect small dose of mindfulness to calm everyone back down.
Move Your Way to Your Next Activity. Being physically active before starting a new activity is a great way to encourage memory retention and focus in your students. Try a quick fitBoost activity to do just that! If you need something for seated learners, we’ve got that too! Check out fitBoost in Place.
Plan a BINGO Day. Use the Food BINGO printable game pack to add a little extra nutrition lesson throughout the day. Give each student a BINGO sheet of their own and pull one letter from the BINGO list after each lesson. Whoever has a BINGO (or closest to it) at the end of the day gets to choose a transition activity for the next day.
Make Time for a Self-Check-In. Sometimes we need to take a moment or two to check in on our feelings and emotions. Print off a Feelings and Emotions Chart for each of your students. During transition times, say aloud, “Feelings Check In!” and ask them to put a check mark under the emotion they feel in that moment. At the end of the day, encourage them to review the feelings and emotions they’ve marked throughout the day to teach them about how feelings and emotions come and go.
Take a Break with a Sensory Path. A sensory path is a great way to rejuvenate your students’ minds and bodies between lessons or to transition to special activities. Display the Wellness Way Sensory Path in the hallway or on your bulletin board. Encourage everyone to go through the sensory path or enjoy their favorite part of the path if you’re short on time.
Add a Music Transition. Kids love to sing! Transitions, clean up time, or mid-day brain breaks are a great time to use educational songs, like of the fitMusic tracks. These catchy, upbeat songs provide a fun way for kids to learn about making healthy choices. Our top picks include:
- Fruits and Veggies Give Me Energy: This is a high-energy track, perfect for a brain break! Our favorite lyrics are “Apples give me energy to play, move my body throughout the day, grow up in a healthy way, I eat apples!”
- A Really, Really, Really Super Good Day: This song teaches kids about all the healthy choices they can make throughout the day. It’s a great sing-along song!
- To Be Your Best, You Need to Rest: Transitioning to rest time or reaching the end of the day? Cue this song up for a positive song with a calming effect.
Shake It Out. Prolonged sitting is a very common experience for learners and educators alike. Something as simple as shaking out your arms and legs between lessons is a fast and easy way to re-energize your students’ minds and bodies.
Practice a Coping Skill. Big feelings come and go, and transition times provide the perfect chance to work through them! Pull a card from the My Keep Cool Cards pack and do the activity as a group to re-focus your students’ minds and get their brains ready to learn.
Remember, it’s okay if transitions are stressful or frustrating at times but incorporating healthy choices into this time is a great way to give your students a boost, physically and mentally, so they can be prepared and engaged for the next learning experience.
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