So the day has finally come! You are about to meet your new class for the first time and you are feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement. Will you remember their names from now until September, will you remember where your classroom is? But, more importantly…
What on earth are you going to do with them during the transition sessions?
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Steph Caswell and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.
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During the first two weeks in July, schools traditionally arrange transition mornings/days for children, so that they can meet their new teachers and, more importantly, their new teachers can meet them. Some schools even have their children move up to their new classes permanently from the beginning of July. Maybe that’s you?
Well, whatever transition looks like for you, these top tips will help you to make sure that it runs as smoothly as possible…
1. Plan a ‘getting to know you’ activity
How can you best get to know the children in your new class? Get them to talk about themselves, of course! This might take the form of a circle time/PSHE activity, an art activity or even a piece of creative writing. Whatever your choice, make sure that it gives you a good insight into each child and their likes/dislikes. I have seen a lovely activity where children draw around one of their hands and write an interesting fact about themselves in each of the digits. This can then go on to make a nice display for the classroom. Make sure you share facts about yourself too!
2. Have high behaviour expectations
Even though you may only be seeing the children for a few hours before the summer break, give them a flavour of your behaviour expectations. This way they won’t feel as though they have met one side of your personality before the summer and another one in September. Chances are the children will be beautifully behaved on that transition day, so you won’t be needing to come down too heavy on them, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure the boundaries are in place.
3. Arrange a seating plan
This will give you confidence that you are in control of the class and it will also ensure that you begin to learn children’s names. Take advice from their current teacher and seat them according to his/her recommendations – they know them the best at this stage. You will have plenty of time to devise your own seating plan based on your own observations of them, in the autumn term.
4. Share the session timetable
Whatever you have planned for your transition session, make sure you share this with the children at the start. Any children who might ‘wobble’ due to change, will feel reassured that there are no surprises coming their way. It will also give you that sense of control which, in turn, will ease your nerves too. Keep the pace up and don’t make children stay at one activity for the whole morning/afternoon. Not only will this encourage some poor behaviour choices from certain children, but it will also bore them senseless. You want them to remember the session as ‘fun’ so that they look forward to more lessons like it, during their first term with you.
5. Take photos
During your transition session, take lots of photos of the children immersed in their activities, as well as photos of the room. These can then be put up on your school’s website, on the class’ page, so that they can look at these over the summer, should they hit a sudden nervous patch. It can also be a nice way of helping the children to share their day with their parents and to avoid the answer of, ‘nothing’ when the age-old question of, ‘what did you do today?’ is asked.
Hopefully this list has given you some good ideas to include/think about for your transition sessions with your class. Remember, this is an opportunity for you to get to know them as best as you can, in the short amount of time that they’re with you. Make it your goal to have learned all of their names by the end of the day – that’ll certainly help when they come in on the first day in September!
Question: What other ideas have readers got for transition mornings? What has worked well for you?
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