Tips for Transitioning Students in Physical Education

Transitions, Transitions, Transitions. These can make or break a lesson. Here are tips on how to help students transition quickly and easily to keep the lesson flowing and not lose instructional time.

1. How do your students enter your room?


What do your students do as soon as they enter your room? That is the first transition. In my experience, give them something to do. They want to move and need to move. I have students do one lap and then complete exercises that I have made into GIF’s that I cast on my TV.

You can use a projector, you can show them, have student exercise leaders, the options are endless. Don’t have time to make your own GIFs? No problem, you can find premade ones easily in the few following places.

2. Use dots as a home base!

When transitioning between activities. Have students come to a tape dot on the floor. This is the PE version of their desk in your room. Their own personal space. It also signifies that I want to tell them something important. I give instructions here and then they move to wherever to complete the lesson/activities. Make sure the instructions are short. When giving instructions about skills, have students stand up and do the skills with you. You would be surprised at the muscle memory that happens even without equipment in their hands.

3. Get them Moving, Keep the Moving

Transitions, moving from one activity to another can be hard. However, it is an awesome time to work on procedures.

  • Example, when students get to their dots, give them an exercise to do. 5 jumping jacks, spin on their bottoms, etc.
  • When giving a water break, have students walk around or practice locomotor skills when they finish drinking. I have the students walk on the lines that I have in my gym. Once I started that, the students took quicker drinks, we had less spills and water breaks went by faster which allows for more activity/movement time.
  • Depending on your schedule, you may see your students once a week or everyday. However, students need to move. During instructions, have students try the skill with you. For example, when discussing an overhand throw, have students stand and do the movement with you. It keeps students engaged but also gives you as a teacher a quick assessment to who you need to give more one-on-one help to.

What do you do to transition students in your class? Continue the conversation and share your ideas in the comment section below!

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