Graphic Title "How To Use Transition Songs in the Classroom" sub title "Turning Chaos Into Compliance" background piano keys

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Use Music To Transition Students

When music is coupled with routine your transition times are going to be filled with fun and efficiency. No more telling students what to do. “Put your papers away and go back to your seat,- PuT YOUr PAPERs Away and go Back To YOUR SEAT (x50) PUT YOUR PAPERS AWAY AND GO BACK TO YOUR SEATS RIGHT NOOOOWWW!!!!!” It’s exhausting. 

Stop Using Your Voice Start Using Transition Songs

Unless you are trying to wear yourself out and become an exhausted and grumpy teacher I have a better way of conducting business for you and your students and it involves music, NOT your excessive direction giving that no one… and I mean no one is listening to.  

Use Kid Friendly Songs In Your Classroom

Here’s how it goes. Pick a song that’s peppy but not too crazy and appropriate for the age group. (Beyonce and Lady Gaga are not good choices for the K-1 classroom) I love the songs “Happy” by Pharrell Williams or “Touch The Sky” from the soundtrack Brave.

Check out this post about more songs that build fun and fast transitions. (Click Here)

Select The Transition

Then select a time during the day when you want students to transition. One example from my classroom is when students needed to put their independent morning work away in their mailboxes and head back to there seats to get ready for the daily class chant.

Happy women with out stretched arms. Music note graphics

What Happens When They Hear The Song?

When they heard the song, they knew that it was their job to get themselves to their mailboxes and back to their seats and ready. This transition took at a maximum of 30 seconds.  

Then whenever they heard that song during that time of day, they knew exactly what to do. This gave me time to praise good behavior, assist struggling students, and smile at my students. A perfect way to transition.

What Are Good Songs For The Classroom?

Here are a few songs and links to get you started building your playlist. Enjoy!!! 

Entering the Room:

I want my students greeted by calm and safety as they enter the room in the morning. The time for mosh pit dancing will come later on in the day.

For now, keep it calm.

Students have a lot to do when they first enter the room, and to assist with that is music.

So while they are hanging up their coats, putting away their lunches, handing in homework, doing attendance check-in, getting a drink of water, unstacking their chair, getting their supplies, and starting their independent morning work, they get to listen to some calm instrumental music. 

Add To Your Classroom Playlist With These Two Songs

YouTube Resources: 

Super Learning Music – Baroque Tune at 60 bpm

Jack Hartman-Over 60 Minutes of Rest Time Music for Kids

sheet music graphic

Tropical Scene of the ocean

3-Minute Warning Song:

I like to put on a song that lets them know they have 3 minutes to finish up. This song is great for kids who are always caught unaware by time.

When this song goes on, they know that they have until the end of the song to finish up.

Then even if they are not done, they will need to transition to the next activity.

Again, I want these to be instrumental so that they can get their work done with as little distraction as possible.

I want it a bit peppy to relay the message of urgency.

The Peanuts Theme song is a must-have.   

3-Minute Warning Songs  

Sweet Child of Mine Instrumental (This is a long song, but it will do the trick if you stop it after 2 minutes. )

Love this Violin Version: 

Peanuts Theme Song (Probably my most favorite transition song): 

palm leaf background

close up of dog nose

Put away Supplies and Papers:

Ace Of Base, Beautiful Life:(This song has a very long intro. About 30 seconds. It’s plenty of time for students to get themselves ready for the next activity. Use some of the vocals to clap and dance before you turn it off and move on with your day. It’s like a mini brain break.

Fresh Beat Band, Here We Go. This song is under 2 minutes (1:48) and geared directly to your student’s age group. Not only is this great for getting ready for the next activity but a great brain break and dance party song. Kids will love the video too.

Hands with Heart Around the sun

Color Throwing yellow, blue, pink


Today, we looked at 6 songs to add to your class playlist and some ideas of how these songs can do the heavy lifting of getting your students to follow directions and routines.  ​

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Angie K

Angie K

I love to help teachers create an amazing teacher life.
I've taught for 25+ years and I want to help you find joy and energy in each day.

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