Activity 4: Transitions

Activity Guide

Activities for Collaborative Staff Conversations: Transitions

By definition, a time of transition is a time of vulnerability.  Students moving from one school building to another or from one grade grouping to another are at risk of losing a sense of direction or stability.  All school staff must be aware of the challenges students face due to the changes associated with transitions.  The transition to a new school or grade level at the beginning of the school year is not the only transition students experience. They continually experience transitions and their impact throughout the school year as events, grade level groupings, and class or course changes affect the status quo. This activity is designed to inform and sensitize teachers to the effects of transitions and to engage them in problem solving by recalling their own experiences with transitions as a student.



  • Discuss the following in a large group, personalizing the discussion topics to your school or students. This activity can include the whole faculty or a subgroup, such as ninth grade instructors.
    1. What are some signs that indicate that new students are having difficulty adjusting to high school?
    2. What behaviors do transitioning students exhibit?3. What academic issues do transitioning students exhibit?
    3. How often are students regrouped during the school year?
    4. How does the way in which 21st century students socialize and communicate affect their ability to transition?6. List at least one thing that you do inside your classroom that has helped students make transitions successfully.
      • Ask each person in the room to recall a time of transition in school when they were a student.  Give the group three minutes to “free write” about the recollections.
      • Share the free write activity in small groups of three to five members.  Ask groups to record two or three points about transitions to share with the larger group.
      • Pair groups and ask them to combine their lists into one. Continue to combine groups and lists until you have consolidated to four or five groups, depending on the size of the original group.
      • Ask the combined groups to record two or three important points about transitions to share and post them on chart paper.
      • Now ask the groups to list on chart paper what strategies are in place specifically to ease the transitions of students.
      • Ask the groups to connect transition-easing activities to the school year calendar so that each month has at least one activity that addresses strategies to ease student transitions.

Seek volunteers to take the lead in fleshing out the activities for each month.  They must not only outline the activity, but also identify who is responsible for each task and how the work will be communicated to school and community stakeholders. Refer to the Process Circle Module and Six Steps template for planning assistance.