Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bright Idea: Managing Transitions With Music

Good Morning! Today is one of my favorite Saturdays of the month, it's Bright Ideas Link Up time! 

While I've posted about my Bright Idea before {here}, it was really more a "check out what I did and love" mention at the end of a blog post.  I occasionally get questions about it, so I thought I'd share more about how I manage transitions such as lining up for specials and recess, coming to the carpet and getting notebooks out for writing, and going to Daily Five Rotations during this month's Bright Ideas Link Up. 

Before I begin, I want to thank Sandy and Mary for sharing how they use music time time transitions in their classrooms. It has really been a lifesaver! 

I keep a Powerpoint Slide that has all the transitions that my students usually do during the day on it up all day.  Imbedded in that Powerpoint are TV show theme songs.  I play the theme song while my students are transitioning to time them. 

This has been a huge lifesaver for me because bigger kids are so very social and see every little bit of downtime as a chance to talk.  :)  Since I only have each class for a limited amount of time, these songs really keep us on track.  My Powerpoint slide is below. :) 

I used clip art, text boxes, and sound files to make my slide.  Once I had the songs, this literally took minutes to put together. :) Below is a screenshot of how to insert sounds into Powerpoint if you've never done it before. 

While I used Powerpoint, you could use your Interactive Whiteboard software as well if you have one.  I create almost everything for my classroom in Powerpoint, so this was the easiest. :)

I use a mixture of songs my kids know and ones they don't. I love using TV show theme songs because they are short enough that I don't have to do any editing of their length.  I use shorter songs for simple transitions and longer songs for the transitions that take a little bit more time.   For example, I play "Be Ready" when I want my students to do something quick like put a paper in their take home folder.  My "Be Ready" song is the Rugrats theme song. I play "Pass Out Papers" when we are passing out tests/papers.  During this time privacy folders and tests are being passed out for each table, so that requires a little bit more time.  My "Pass Out Papers" song is the Saved by the Bell theme song. 

When creating my Transition Time slide, I also picked songs I don't mind hearing again and again and again since I used it with both of my classes. :)  My class' playlist is below. 

Sometimes I change up songs throughout the year. Sometimes we get bored, sometimes we aren't moving fast enough, or sometimes I just can't bear to hear a song anymore.  Currently, I'm looking for a song to replace SpongeBob because he's been my line up for specials song for three years.  I'm a little sick of him. :)

Using music to time transitions has been one of the best things I've done in my classroom.  It's a fun way to hold students accountable during what can often be an unstructured time.  If my students beat their transition song, I always reward them with a Bingo number, especially if it's been one they've struggled with.  My students love hearing these fun songs throughout the day and once they figure how long each song really is, the songs really do help them speed up what they are doing so that they can complete the transition in time.  

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider 
following me me on FacebookInstagram, or Teachers Pay Teachers for more great ideas. 

For even more great classroom ideas, please browse through the link-up below and click on a topic/grade level that interests you.  Thanks for visiting! :)


  1. I love this idea! I am going to attempt to try this idea this year. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Lisa, I use musical transitions in my classroom - but I LOVE the powerpoint slide idea. I just have mine as a blob of icons on my desktop right now. Genius! Thanks for sharing.

    Mrs, Rios Teaches Second Grade

  3. Love this idea! Wish you could sell this in your TpT store because I would totally buy it!


    Fancy Free in Fourth

    1. I would also totally buy this! What a great idea.

  4. I love this! I have been collecting snippets and clips of songs and tv shows to use as transitions for my students. Thank you for sharing the ones you use...I added a couple to my playlist!

  5. I've been wanting to make one of these forever!! Thanks for the reminder!!!!

    EduKate and Inspire

  6. What a great idea to put them all in one spot like this! Well done!

    Jennifer from Simply Kinder

  7. You had me at music. I love incorporating music throughout my students' day. Music really helps with transitions. I never thought about using TV theme songs. Great idea!

    Kathy Griffin's Teaching Strategies

  8. I am LOVING that you used fun TV show songs from my (and maybe your?) childhood!

  9. I've been wanting to do something like this for years!! Thanks for reminding me! I love how cute yours is!!

    A Tall Drink of Water

  10. I always try to watch what I say about someone's favorite band because people are as passionate about their music as they are in politics or religion.
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  11. Thanks so much for this! I always wanted to do this but didn't know an easy, accessible way! And even better, my version of PowerPoint allows me to trim the audio clips, so I can take parts of songs instead of whole songs!

  12. I wish you would sell this in your TpT store!

  13. I never thought of using Powerpoint. Thanks for that idea. Where do you get your songs?

  14. Would also buy it from TPT if you had it up there!


    Great site for mp3 music

  16. Hello!

    I LOVE this idea! Do you have it posted to your teacherspayteachers site?



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