Back to Spanish Class: Transition Tip for Any Secondary Classroom

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 / 2 comments


If you haven't figured out by now, I love using games, task cards, and hands-on activities in my secondary classroom. I like how they lend themselves to collaboration and community building, all while having fun and learning. Research shows a teenager's attention span is about 10 minutes so I move my students around a lot while we do these activities. Plus, have you yourself ever sat through a whole day of PD? I know my body aches by the end and I am usually one of those teachers standing in the back. Kids need to move!

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Getting students out of their seats several times a class period requires a lot of transitions and that means the potential for many precious minutes to be wasted during those transitions. When students are in pairs or small groups, rather than say "Okay, someone needs to move," and spend the next three minutes listening to a classroom full of teenagers whine and argue over who has to move, I use statements to help determine who has to move. All can be quickly determined and make the decision for the students. 

An example of how it works: When it comes time for someone in the pair or group to move, I say "The person who was the last to eat pizza moves,". Students then figure who that person was and that person moves. This usually takes less than 5 seconds. If it is taking more than that, I make the kid who has been seated the longest move. 

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Since I implemented this strategy, my transition time has decreased dramatically, we are getting more accomplished during the class period, and our relationships are stronger. I love learning little facts about my students and they love learning about each other, too. Bonus? Admins LOVE this strategy. That's always a good thing, too!

As with any new procedure, you will need to teach students your expectations for transitions. In this case, that the "mover" needs to be quickly determined (no long side conversations) and that they need to find their new seat hastily. What may take a minute at the beginning of the year shouldn't take more than 10-15 seconds max after a few weeks.

Here is a list of questions to get you started! 
The person...
1. ...with the next birthday moves.
2. ...with the last birthday moves.
3. ...who is oldest moves.
4. ...who is youngest moves.
5. ...who is tallest moves.
6. ...who is shortest moves.
7. ...with the longest hair moves.
8. ...with the shortest hair moves.
9. ...with the most siblings moves.
10. ...with the fewest siblings moves.
11. ...with the most pets moves.
12. ...with the fewest pets moves.
13. ...who got to school last today moves.
14. ...who got to school first today moves.
15. ...who has traveled the farthest moves.
16. ...with the most tattoos/piercings moves.
17. ...who plays the most sports for the school moves.
18. ...who woke up first today moves.
19. ...who woke up last today moves.
20. ...who lives the closest to the school moves.
21. ...who lives the farthest from the school moves.
22. ...who went to bed the latest last night moves.
23. ...who went to bed the earliest last night moves.
24. ...with the most jewelry on today moves.
25. ...with the least amount of jewelry on today moves.
26. ...with the most articles of clothing on moves.
27. ...who most recently finished a book (not for school!) moves.
28. ...who has eaten the weirdest thing moves.
29. ...who went to a concert last moves.
30. ...who played an instrument last moves.
31. ...who listened to music last moves.
32. ...who watched a movie at the theater last moves.
33. ...who watched the most TV yesterday moves.
34. ...who watched a movie last moves.
35. ...who traveled the farthest last Christmas moves.
36. ...who is wearing the darkest colored socks today moves.
37. ...who ate French fries last moves.
38. ...who drank water last moves.
39. ...who has moved the most amount of times moves.
40. ...who has moved the least amount of times moves.
41. ...who has traveled the farthest moves.
42. ...who went out to dinner at a restaurant last moves.
43. ...who trick-or-treated last moves.
44. ...who sent the last text message moves. 
45. ...who played a video game last moves.
46. ...who has the next math class moves.
47. ...who has the next science class moves.
48. ...who went to the last school dance moves.
49. ...who went to art class last moves.
50. ...who went to the last school sporting event moves.

In the rare event of a tie, I have students quickly do rock, paper, scissors.
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I hope this helps you with your transitions! Do you have any fun questions to add to the list? Please leave them in the comments below! Have a great school year!



2 comments:

  1. This is a fabulous list and I absolutely love using this strategy.

    I often call for "the person who slept the most." Everyone is always jealous of that person, so the least they can do is get up and move! :)

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    Replies
    1. Ha! I love that one, too! Isn't it fun to learn about our students?

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