Transitions with Language and Literacy

by Mary on July 26, 2012 Filed under: Classroom Ideas,Transitions

Pre-K classes spend a lot of time in transition… longer transitions such as those around lunch, snack, and naptime and many shorter transitions between activities such as singing, an opening activity, or reading a book leading into a follow up activity. These transitions are wonderful opportunities for learning.

It is easy to fall into a transition rut where you use the same fingerplays and songs time after time. It is good to have predictable songs and activities that the children are familiar with but adding in a few new ones makes for fun and excitement!

Post a list of transitions in key places around your classroom to help you find the perfect transition. Refresh the list often with new theme related chants or fingerplays but also rotate the ones your students like. You will keep your children on their toes while avoiding the transition rut.

Here are some fresh ideas that reinforce language and literacy skills:

Follow Our Feet – Activity

Four-year-old children love to pretend. Walk with different “feet” to transition to various places and activities. Focus on recent books and let children choose the types of feet.

tiptoe feet

kitty cat feet

skipping feet

skating feet

baby step feet

little mouse feet

Let’s Pretend – Activity

While we walk in the hallway, let’s pretend…

… that we have to move through a plate of spaghetti

… that we are walking on the moon

… that we are teeny-tiny ants

… that we are humongous dinosaurs

Tips: Choose imaginary actions based on the children’s interests, recent literature, or topic of study.

The Finger Band – Sung to the tune: Here we go round the Mulberry Bush

The finger band has come to town

Come to town, come to town,

The finger band has come to town,

So early in the morning

The finger band can play the drums, play the drums…

(Substitute the flute; the clarinet; the trumpet; the violin; the trombone; the piano; the guitar)

End with The Finger band has gone away

Tips: This song reinforces vocabulary; add new instruments as you explore them.

What Can You And Your Friend Do? – Activity

Allow children to choose partners for this transition; then ask questions, “Can you and your friend…

…walk like a cat to the door?

…hold hands on the way to the door?

…touch pinky fingers on the way to the door?

…make bubbles with your mouth?

…walk with your hands on your hips?

Fun in the Rain – Fingerplay

When the rain comes down

Drip, drop, drip, drop (move fingers back and forth);

Windshield wipers

Flip, flop, flip, flop (move arms back and forth);

And boots in puddles

Plip, plop, plip, plop (stomp feet);

I wish the rain would never stop

Drip, drop, drip, drop (move fingers)

Plip, plop, plip, plop, plop! (Stomp feet and pretend to splash).

Mirror Mirror – Activity

This could also be called Follow the Leader While Standing Still. The leader moves very slowly and the participants respond as if they were the mirror image. You might have the children imitate the main character in your story or act out their favorite part.

Tips: Use with large group, small group, or with pairs of children.

Hook-A-Leah – Echo Chant

Hook-a leah (hook a leah)

A-pera-ticky-tomba (apera-ticky-tomba)

A-maza-maza-maza (a-maza-maza-maza)

Ohh-a-la-wee-a-la-wah-a-la-wee (ohh-a-la-wee-a-la-wah-a-la-wee)


Ideas taken from Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Pre-K Teaching Times

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