Thursday, November 19, 2015

Messy Schedules and Tight Transitions

I got into a snag the other day during a five-minute transition time for my fifth graders. They have five minutes with which to transition from one end of the building to the other and back again. With regard to time, the transition could be easily completed in one minute. Hence we have four minutes of lag time which actually is a messy amount of time for ten and eleven year olds because they typically don't just hang out and talk. What's a teacher to do?

My first idea was not to transition up and down the school hallways and to stay put until the next event started, but teachers needed their space so the space to wait is unavailable. So what's a teacher to do?

We have several of these messy five-minute transition times in the schedule. I've tried to use the time to give students mental math problems which many like, but not all. I've tried walking outside and then inside again but the lure of the playground is too great for a good transition. I've got to think of something engaging and inviting that takes three minutes long and is not too noisy since everywhere we move to and from during that time is noise sensitive space.

I'm also going to work to try to eliminate these messy five minute transitions in the schedule next year as they are transitions that make the day much more difficult than it has to be.

Let me know if you have suggestions. Sounds crazy that this is an issue, but I'm not alone. The colleagues find this time difficult too.