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Indicator 6 – Smooth Transitions

Managing the Classroom

Managing Time and Routines

Indicator 6 – Smooth Transitions UETS 3c., 3d.

Effective teachers orchestrate smooth transitions between tasks by giving students clear directions about closing the first activity, making necessary changes, then beginning the second activity. Clear transition procedures save important instructional time and reduce misbehavior.


  1. Explain the transition only when every student is listening.
  2. Provide instructions about what is to be done before, not during, the transition.
  3. Post the transition instructions prominently in the classrooms
  4. Explain exactly what behavior is expected during transitions, and give a time limit to the students:
    • Voice level
    • Arrangement of desks
    • Paper handling procedures
    • How to walk
    • One minute
  5. Continue to emphasize the procedure and be consistent until it becomes a routine.
  6. Repeat instructions to individuals who do not complete the transition efficiently.
  7. Have a student/students model the transition before the whole class moves.
  8. Before you record scores of assignments or tests, start students working on another activity.
  9. Assign a student the role of helper within each group to carry out automatic, specific, pre-assigned routines.
  10. Have students perform activities as single units when they are related.
    • If the spelling and vocabulary words for the week are the same, concentrate on activities related to either spelling or vocabulary the same time.
  11. Don’t leave one activity “dangling” while you switch to another.
    • After asking a student to open to a specific page and start reading, the teacher should not abruptly say, “Oh my, Jim isn’t here today. Does anyone know if he is ill? I forgot to mark him absent.”
  12. After students begin a new activity, avoid interruptions like “Oh yeah, by the way…,” especially while they are completing seat work.



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