Ms. Noonan: Managing Transitions
Lesson Objective: Maximize instruction by adding content into your transitions
All Grades / All Subjects / Management

Thought starters

  1. What is the class's daily routine for learning the word of the day?
  2. Why does Ms. Noonan have students "sit like a scholar" and wait before she says the word of the day?
  3. How does the "Grab Bag Quiz" help with classroom management as students move back to their desks?

1. The class' daily routine for learning the word of the day includes naming it, using it as their transitions signal, defining, and building and practicing. 

2. The teacher has the students sit like scholars and wait before she says the word of the day to be sure she as their attention.

3. The grab bag quiz helps with classroom management because they have to be quiet and listening to hear the question, it dismisses in small groups, and it reviews other topics that have been covered recently. 

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I have multiple age groups in my classroom simultneously and I like to realease the students in these groups. Simply releasing them one at a time to choose a work leaves an opportunity for review unseized. Asking content questions as a method of transitioning groups is efficient for review and engaging for the student.

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I will definitely be implementing the "Word of the Day" transition method in my own classroom. My students have become bored of our current method and this would provide variety and promote alertness.

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She starts transition to word of day by calling her students "super scholars". I like how she use word of the day as a transition because students are anticipating new word being called, which in turn causes students to listen, and what they will do next. I like how she is very clear with her instruction and transition. I especially like how she used the grab bag question which is a great way to review that they have learned. 

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The class daily routine for learning the word of the day starts by asking a student to choose one of the  words they've been studying. Then they transition from the desk to the carpet where Ms. Noonas explains it and provide the definition.

Ms. Noonan have students "sit like a scholar" and wait before she says the word of the day in order to keep rules set when starting an important topic, so all students would be focused on the learning process only.

The "Grab Bag Quiz" is another way of transition in Ms. Noonan's class wher she releases her students by small groups depending on content base answers. It is a brilliant way to help the students stay focused all the time on learning meaningful and memorable information.

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  • Classroom Close Up: E.L.A. Throughout the Day
    Managing Transitions with Madeline Noonan

    Madeline: "Super scholar style in 3..2..1. Beautiful. Eyes

    Classroom Close Up: E.L.A. Throughout the Day
    Managing Transitions with Madeline Noonan

    Madeline: "Super scholar style in 3..2..1. Beautiful. Eyes are over here. SWBAT."

    All: "SWBAT"

    Madeline: "Students will..."

    Classroom management is so important. And I think anytime you can embed any academic content in classroom management, it's really beneficial for students.

    "OK. Today, the Word of the Day."

    We transition by naming a word of the day - a root word that we've been studying, or it might be a word from our Social Studies unit, something content based that I want students to hear again, and again, and again, until it's just imprinted in thier memory.

    "Daniel's gonna choose our word of the day. 3..2.."

    Daniel: "Uh..I would want, um, quixotic."

    Madeline: "I'm sorry?"

    Daniel: "Quixotic"

    Madeline: "Oh, quixotic."

    Today's word of the day was quixotic, a particularly difficult one.

    "When you're seated like a scholar."

    Once we've selected that, we use that as a transition from our desks to the carpet.

    "Word of the day is quixotic."

    We'll define the word, and use that repeatedly throughout the day.

    "Our word of the day means impractical. Quixtotic is a great word. It comes from this book that you're going to read as a high schooler, as a college student, called Don Quixote. And, believe it or not, there's a guy in there who fights windmills, which is sort of funny, and not very practical."

    It's a really valuable opportunity to really have a word sort of marinate in their minds.

    "The word quixotic comes from Don Quixote."

    You can build on the word throughout the day to ensure that students are getting comfortable with its sound and its meaning.

    "Impractical. I say, you say, impractical."

    All: "Impractical"

    Madeline: "Impractical."

    All: "Impractical"

    Madeline: "So when you hear that word of the day that means impractical, you're gonna head to your desks. Quixotic"

    It's also a great management tool because often times as a teacher, when we give directions, students wanna already start, when we're only half way done with the directions.

    "One, two, three...eyes on me."

    All: "One, two...eyes on you."

    Madeline: "At this point, it is definitely time for science. When I say the word of the day, oh...if your pencils are writing, they need to stop. If your eyes are not on me, you need to swivel. Very nice. Thank you. When I say the word of the day, we're gonna put our materials away."

    It signals to them that we don't do anything until Miss Noonan says the word of the day.

    "Ohh! Quixotic!"

    It's a nice management technique, and also a great vocabulary builder.

    Another way we transition is through a Grab Bag Quiz.

    "I'm going to dismiss you in your groups. In order to get back to your group, you need to answer a Grab Bag Quiz question. I am looking for the capital of a state in the Mid-Atlantic Region, Maryland. Adeline."

    Adeline: "The capital of Maryland is Annapolis."

    Madeline: "How do you feel about that, class? Let's see Ravenpuff head back to their desks. Let's see how they do. I like how they're walking really quietly."

    I'll think of a question that we've already covered, be it geography, math, science, reading, and ask students to answer that.

    "I see the red folders coming out. Awesome! Eyes back up here. I'm looking for what 1/3 is as a percent. Daniel, your hand just shot up. Nice tracking."

    Daniel: "1/3 as a percent is 33%."

    Madeline: "How do you feel about that, class? I'm seeing a lot of agreement."

    So here, as opposed to just sending students to their desks en masse, it one, allows them to go in small groups, and model for their peers what a good transition looks like.

    "I'm looking for a group that could tell me if you were alive in colonial times, would you go to school in a schoolhouse, or would you go to school somewhere else? Ahh...Christopher."

    Two, the way you release them is content based. So, it's incentives for kids and their groups to really be focused throughout the day because they never know what that transition question is going to be.

    "For the final dismissal, we're just gonna head down to the Southwest. I'm wondering what the capital of New Mexico is."

    Student: "The capital of New Mexico is Santa Fe."

    Madeline: "How do you feel about that?"

    It's something that makes it more meaningful and more memorable to them as a student. So, anytime I can build that into our management system, it's really powerful for their learning, and their growth as a scholar.

School Details

Think College Now School
2825 International Boulevard
Oakland CA 94601
Population: 306

Data Provided By:



Madeline Noonan
English Language Arts Math Social Studies / 5 / Teacher


Teaching Practice

All Grades/ All Subjects/ Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement