Smooth and timely transitions are key to a successful classroom! Oftentimes, valuable instruction time can be wasted if students can’t easily transition from one activity to the next. The biggest thing I try to get out of my transition time is that my students are calmed down quickly and ready to focus. Here are five quick ways that I use transition activities during the day!

Number Circles

One quick transition that my students enjoy is number circles. I’ve used this in various ways, but with multiples of a given number is probably the most effective and favorite. Students stand in a circle and quickly count one at a time by a given number. I will pick an end number before we start playing, and if you’re that number you must sit down. Students enjoy counting quickly and have to listen to each person before them. To take up less time, I split the class in to two groups to play.

Fitness Challenges

My students also love fitness challenges in the hallway! The key to this is that all fitness challenges must be silent. They love doing walking lunges from one room to the next! On occasion, I will do the same challenges to transition between center activities.


Freeze, floor is lava, and Andy is coming! To get my students attention quickly in the hallway or classroom, I will shout one of these three phrases. In freeze, the students must stand as if they are frozen. When the floor is lava, students must fit on only one floor tile. If Andy is coming, they must lay down like a toy on the floor. These are great, quick ways to get around the building and get their attention.

Cleaning Points

Quickest clean up—My students are super messy! Currently, they are grouped in teams, and teams can earn points for special rewards. As soon as certain lessons are over, I ask them to complete their work and clean up their desk area. After this, they can get up and help straighten up the room (bookshelf, sink, floor, etc). If I notice that a team has more than half of their members up cleaning, I give them bonus points. Not only are they quiet, but they help get our room organized too!


Simply playing music and letting them dance for 30 seconds is pretty effective too! My kids enjoy when I play popular music and let them move about the room. The only catch is that it can’t get too crazy or loud. When the music stops they must immediately be ready for their next activity.

Whichever transition activity I pick, it is clear that the biggest factor for success is expecting the best from my students. They need to know what my expectations are prior to, during, and after transition activities or it is likely that I will not use that transition again. Also, as often as I can I try to not have my students sitting for long periods of time. I think this helps with transitioning too! With smooth transitions in place, the day will be less stressful for both me and my students.

Activity Breaks

Get students moving and learning with these equipment-free classroom activity breaks! The research shows that active students learn better – they are more focused, have better attitudes, and perform better throughout the school day. So what’s stopping you? Add more physical activity to your class’ daily routine with these five simple, yet effective ideas.

Add Classroom Transition Activities to Your Room!