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Character Education

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Digital Learning

Using Music for Smoother Transitions

Transitions! A pet peeve of many teachers for sure! Don't we all wish that the relative calm as students work on a task could be carried over into the next activity? I love to use music to soothe and smooth these transition times. Here are some quick ideas if you'd like to start using music as an aid for smoother transition times.

  • Have a playlist ready on your computer desktop or on a CD. Choose some songs with your students and have some that you have carefully selected to set the mood you'd like.
  • Select one song that will be your "lining up" signal. Make it one that your students can sing along to. Singing will be much easier on your teacher ears than endless chattering! 
  • Select another special singable song to be your "cleanup" signal. Cleanup time will go faster and be more enjoyable with a singalong!
  • Use songs that relate to the standard you will be addressing in your lesson as an introduction for that "listen up" phase. If no song applies, have several ready that encourage thinking and focus.
  •  Play DJ to settle the occasional disagreement with a song. I love to use this strategy after recess when students enter still arguing over conflicts that occurred on the playground. An example of this is when a group of girls rushed me at the door with an endless tale of who would or would not play with them and who was or was no longer their friend. (Been there?) I would simply step over to my computer, cue up a song called "Whatever" (a favorite of my class and me, about walking away from conflicts), and say into my sound system mike, "This one goes out to all my lovely ladies out there." Smiles all around and right back to work as the song ended. Kids - happy. Teacher - unruffled and calm. Aaaahhhhh.

So, for a happier classroom environment and smoother transitions, make and use a "soundtrack of your lives together in class." I promise you'll love it!

You may also like "Music in the Classroom".

So happy to link up with a fabulous group of teacher bloggers sharing more Bright Ideas with you!


  1. Music is magical! I love the effect music has on my kiddos during transitions!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

  2. Music is such a great transition and a great way to connect with kids!
    Lynda Curls and a Smile

  3. Good point about using music for calming down an argument. I usually use it for transitions and writing time. I could suggest adding Mean by Taylor Swift to your playlist - I'm adding it to mine. :)

  4. I love using music for transitions too! :) This was a fun post! :) Thanks so much for sharing your post with us all! :) This link up is so much fun because we get to meet all kinds of new people! ;)

  5. Loved using music in my classroom. It's the one truly universal language!

  6. I would love to know what the "Whatever" song is so I can use it. There's always a few of those girls in class that I'd love to use it for. :)

    1. Hi Erika,
      The "Whatever" song comes as an mp3 with this powerful social skills unit written around the song. Here's the link:
      Here's a free download with my kids explaining what the song means to them. You can hear the song in the video.
      You can find the song alone here:

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