Amazing Classroom Transition Songs to Try Right Now!

Do you ever feel tired of shouting over your kids, doing signal after signal to get their attention, or repeatedly nagging them to clean up? Trust me, I know the feeling! I struggled with classroom transitions for a long time… until I started using transition songs! Since I have one for each transition and I used them consistently, every time, I didn’t need to get the whole class’s attention at once, or to yell at them to get them to understand what the needed to do. I’d just walk around and quietly start signing, and as students heard the tune, they’d join in, until everyone was peacefully singing together as they did what was required of them.

Honestly, you might not even believe me, and YES, you might feel like a crazy cult leader sometimes, but trust me, it actually works!

These are songs I wrote myself to familiar tunes. Each song has lyrics that state specifically what the students are supposed to be doing, so as they sing they are affirming that they know what is expected of them.

I had a different set of songs when I started teaching, but over one summer I watched the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and fell in love with how powerful and calming all the music is, so I wrote a whole new set of songs to those tunes (mostly.. my circle song was too good to abandon, but more on that later).

So without further ado here are my;

Songs that will transform your classroom transitions

For Cleaning up- to the tune of “Go to Sleep You Little Babe”

Link to the original song;

My lyrics:

It’s time to clean up now

It’s time to clean up now

Gonna put the____ in ____, yeah

Everybody helping now

(For this one I put specific directions in the blanks based on what we were cleaning up- for example “gonna put the papers in the writing folders” and etc)

For walking out to recess- to the tune of “Down to the River to Pray”

Link to the original tune:

My lyrics:

As we go out to recess today

All of us together on our way

We shall say to our friends

“Hello, yes you can play”

Oh, classmates let’s be kind

Let’s be kind, kind, kind

Oh classmates let’s be kind

Kind at recess today

This one really makes you feel like a cult leader but I’ll tell you- the kids loved singing it and it made the transition so peaceful. Embrace it!

For walking in the hallway- to the tune of “I’ll Fly Away”

Link to the original tune:
My Lyrics:

I know that it is not the time to talk

In the hallway

My eyes are forward, I don’t run I walk

In the hallway

In the hallway my hands are down by my side

(Kept to myself)

When I walk it’s calmly and with pride

In the hallway

To start your day- to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine”

(My class and I wrote these lyrics together as part of our study about having a growth mindset. We made up our own movements and sang it every morning to get into the right “mindset” to start the day! If you need a good resource to start teaching about growth mindsets, check out Making a Splash!)

Link to the original tune:

My lyrics;

I want to do my very best learning

So when I grow up I’ll be smart

And I will make my whole family proud

And I will feel good in my heart

I know that if I think I can’t do it

I just say “yet!” and try again

Because I know that the harder something is

The stronger it makes my brain

For moving to the rug for a lesson- to the tune of “I pull my ears”

This is the only tune that’s not from “O Brother, Where Art Thou”, because this song has worked so well for me I saw no reason to rewrite it.

The tune is from the old children’s song “I Pull My Ears”:

My Lyrics:

I move to my spot, I sit criss-cross

My hands are in my lap, I am my own boss

Eyes on the teacher, I have a quiet voice

I feel good when I make a good choice!

Do you use music in your classroom?

I love to hear your feedback! Leave a comment and let me know!

For another amazing classroom management trick, check out Good Notes: A Simple but Powerful Teaching Tool!

Or for another song you can use in your classroom, make sure to try my Winter Animal Adaptations Song!

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