Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Ideas - Taming Transitions

Yippee!  Time for more Bright Ideas!  

This blog hop cannot come around often enough for me.

My bright idea has to do with time management.  We are responsible for teaching so much to our little learners, and every second counts.  A couple of years ago, I was really struggling with getting everything in.  I just felt that there was not enough time in the day to do it all.   

This forced me to take a hard look at my schedule, and really analyze my day.  I soon realized that one of the places where I was losing time was in my transitions from one lesson to the next.  2-4 minutes here and there, add up over the days, weeks, and months.  In fact, let's just say your transitions take an average of 3 minutes X 5 transitions (roughly).  That is 15 minutes lost in one day.  But, in a school year that equals about 2,665 minutes, or about 44 hours.  That is 7.5 DAYS of lost instructional time! (Data from 

This is when I found Rick Morris' website. I had heard of Rick Morris and Positive Discipline for years, and have used many of his principles successfully in my own classroom. I love his website because he shares a lot of great ideas that you can use right away, and they're free!

But he has one section of his website that is devoted to helping you manage your boring, drawn out transition times, and turn them into snappy, motivating, musical transitions. He has tons of mp3 files that you can download onto your school computer, and start using on Monday. 

I use two musical cues in my classroom.  When I need everyone's attention, I use the NBC theme.  Everyone knows to Stop, Look, and Listen when they hear it.

The other musical cue I use throughout the day is the Mario Brothers' theme song.  It is 50 seconds long.  It cues all my students to gather their materials and gather on the rug in the front of the room.  By the end of the song they must be ready to learn.  They LOVE this song.  It puts everyone in a great mood!  To be really honest, I really would like to find a shorter song because the kids are normally ready before it ends.  But, the kids will just not hear of it.  So, Mario it is.

I hope you will check out Rick's website. It really is chock full of great ideas!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider following here on my blog, and on my Facebook page HERE.

For more bright ideas, browse the link up below. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Wow, I love this website already! Music is such a great way to transition! Of course, I think music is great for a lot of other things, too!Thanks for sharing!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

  2. I LOVE the Mario song idea! Where did you find the song?
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

    1. Hilary, I downloaded it from the Rick Morris site I mentioned above. That was a few years back, so I am not sure if it is still there. :)


    2. Thank you! I am going to go look! :)

  3. are the smartest girl ever! I love that you use popular theme songs for those times. I'm so copying that next year! What a great motivator.
    love ya girl,
    Teaching and Much Moore

  4. Hi Nicole,

    I did go to an all day Rick Morris workshop a few years ago and loved it! I use many of his ideas in my classroom. I'd love to go to another one. I'm sure he's got lots of great, new ideas. Thanks for the reminder about his website.

    First Grade Schoolhouse

  5. Wow, Nicole!! I love this tip! I use music in the classroom all the time! I never thought to use certain songs for transitions and clean-ups. I usually play what I want-- I am going to change that! So clever. And you are also right about loosing time in transitions! I haven;t actually sat down and calculated but I am sure I am wasting some important instructional time! Our day is only so long (although somedays I wish it were shorter! ha!)! Thanks for sharing this idea! Love it and you!

    First Grade and Flip Flops



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