Transition Tuesday: a mi-re-do transition

Happy Tuesday everyone!!!  So, on Sunday I mentioned that I'm going to be doing "Transition Tuesdays" but I forgot that I would be on utter "I have one week until spring break" mind so I hope I make sense today, lol!

Probably the most common transitions are story transitions.  They are easy to use, especially with those younger kiddos.  I'll tell you, I'll very rarely blog about story transitions.  My opinion: they are over used.  Just ask the level 2s that I had last year.  They used story transitions for every transition and I banned them.  I said if they use one they may only use one in a lesson.  Granted, they're great, they make sense to kids BUT why use a story transition when you can use one that helps you hone in on a melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, formal or expressive musical element that you're working on?  This will not only teach the concept that you're working on but most times increases listening skills, develops musicianship, is a higher level thinking task, may include partwork, etc.

So, the first Transition Tuesday will be one of my favorite transitions for re.  It is not too higher of a  level thinking transition but there is some aural decoding.  

I start with this song/game.  If you don't know it, it's one of my favorites:

**  this song is great for fa (melodic reading with melody only, NO rhythm) and tim-ka.  But in order for me to use it in those grades I need to introduce it younger, when the content of the song is more appropriate.  So, I do it in second and it works well as we're able to extract re in the final measure of the song.

Game: the students are seats in a circle.  I'm on the outside of the circle, with a basket that contains print-out copies of pictures of various things you might find at the Baker's Shop.  I sing the song (unknown/new to the students) while walking around the outside, hopping on the words "hop, hop, hop."  (**note: this is not only because the text tells us to do so but also because this is the part of the song that I'm going to extract and this helps "highlight" that mini-phrase).  At the end, I give the student(s) that I'm behind a picture of a baked good and ask them to go with me to the baker's shop.  This continues until all students have a baked good and are following in one giant line (a.k.a. circle at this point).  To move things along, I'll often times give 2-3 baked goods out at a time.  Having the students sit through 32 hearings (yes, I have 32 2nd graders in a class) is not fair to me vocally but REALLY not fair to them.  You're going to "lose" them if you do 32 repetitions.

Once everyone has sang the song, singing and hopping they sit down.
Side note:   ***I'm big on non-verbal cues.  I taught in a "bilingual" (really, English language aquisition school, you know the different, right?) for 10 years.  Many of the students knew NO English so I became really good at giving physical cues.  They work wonders with my English speakers too and save SO much time.  Why say, "please sit down boys and girls" when you can give a physical cue for it while you begin asking them a question or transitioning into your next area of instruction?  It's a huge time saver and you're not giving them the opportunity to get off task.***
From here I've done this a few ways:

  1. As they are sitting down I say something to the affect that "I'm really interested in the part that goes, 'hop, hop, hop". What happens to our voices?  ("it gets lower").  Then I ask three students to bring up their baked good (remember, they all have one now) and they place them on the board showing the melodic direction of "hop, hop, hop".  I'll tell the students, "Please sing 'hop, hop, hop" when I point to it, give them a starting pitch and off we go.  I'll point for them to sing it and repeat it once so it's "Hop, hop, hop.  Hop, hop, hop."  Then I'll "loo" the third phrase of "Hot Cross Buns" and then point to "hop, hop, hop".  EVERY time I've done this hands shoot into the air and they all know it's "Hot Cross Buns."  From there we go into what ever stage of teaching re that we're in: preparation or practice.
  2. As they are sitting down I sing "Hop, hop, hop.  Hop, hop, hop.  That sounds like a song that we know, Hop, hop, hop."  (**Know is changed from two eighths to a quarter note in the song "Hot Cross Buns").  Of course they know it's and we're off and running into one of the concentration areas of the lesson

I hope you come back every Tuesday for a new transition idea!  If you're looking for specific transition ideas (song specific, concept specific) please leave a note!

Also, if you don't already follow my Teachers Pay Teachers store, please head over and do so!

Happy Tuesday!


  1. Hi Amy! I love your blog! I just did a session at the MA All State conference on this exact topic (making meaningful musical transitions!) If you're interested, I'd be happy to send you a copy of my presentation :) Thanks for the great ideas!

    1. I'd love it!!! My email is



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