Tight Transitions is a quick and effective practice that students perform without extensive guidance from the teacher. Transitions are the points during a lesson when students end one activity and begin another or physically move from one place to another. “Messy transitions are an invitation to disruptions and conflicts,” (Lemov, 2010), but teachers can easily implement smooth and crisp transitions in order to maximize learning time. To accomplish this, teachers must provide clear expectations to students and practice the routine consistently until steps are performed quickly and orderly. The investment in teaching students to execute Tight Transitions creates an increase in instructional time over the course of a school year and also helps manage discipline by promoting a positive and respectful classroom environment.
- Review lesson plans and routines to identify what transitions occur in the classroom. These may include (but are not limited to) entering class, distributing and collecting materials, moving in and out of groups, and/or dismissal.
- Plan the most efficient and practical way to accomplish the task or transition.
- An effective way to teach transitions is to scaffold the steps: teach the steps one at a time. For example: “When I say one, please stand up and push in your chairs. When I say two, please turn to face the door. When I say three, group 1 please line up.”
- Point to Point Movement (Lemov, 2010) is when the teacher identifies a location/action and students move to that point and stop. For example, “Please walk to the door by the library, and stop there.”
- Break tasks down into smaller steps that are clear and age appropriate.
- Teach students to follow the procedure step-by-step.
- Allow time for students to practice repeatedly, possibly using a stop watch, until students perform the task in a specific amount of time - quickly and orderly.