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Using transition time as an opportunity to embed SEL

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

With the new social and emotional learning (SEL) goals set out by the government, many teachers are looking for novel ways to address these curriculum directives in the cut and thrust of a busy classroom. One of the ways many teachers are doing this is to use the time already put aside to help the class transition into a better learning mindset, using short, simple activities that also build social and emotional intelligence. This is where Switch4Schools can come in handy. With most of the activities able to be mapped to the national SEL curriculum, teachers can quickly look through an array of activities that they like, and then use the attached lesson plans and printable activity sheets to deliver the short transition activity. Now the class has effectively transitioned into a better place to learn and they might have developed some new social and emotional skills.

But which switches seem to work the best for transitions? I sent out a quick survey to a number of teachers currently using Switch4Schools asking them for their preferred class transition switch activities, and below are the top five responses (albeit from a relatively small sample size).

1. Stars and wishes (found in the happy switches)

This simple goal setting exercise helps them focus on their strengths, and what they want to be good at. It is particularly good for capturing optimism, focussing, and feeling positive about the future.

2. Blind drawing (found in the creativity section of the activities tab) One person describes an object, and the other has to listen to the directions and draw what is being described. This is great for testing communication abilities, thinking about communication, and learning how to be more descriptive and articulate.

3. Breath Draw (found in the angry switches)

Trying to draw what your breath looks like is a great activity to get kids focussing on, and controlling their breathing. This mindfulness activity is perfect for quickly calming the mind and focussing attention internally. For kids that draw angry or hyperactive lines, it is a good way to try to get them to change their breathing, draw what it then looks like, and in turn shift their energy. Download the Breath Draw worksheet here.

4. Future Letter (found in the sad switches) This great take on journal writing is more appropriate for the older grades, but is really effective. By focussing on a future (and likely more positive) version of themselves they start to change their behaviour in the present. They start to act in line with who they want to become rather then who they are right now. Download the Future Letter worksheet here.

5. Stretching (found in the sad switches)

An oldie but a goodie. Stretching has been shown to reduce stress and increase blood flow to the brain, increasing focus, general cognitive ability, and just makes us feel good about ourselves. Download the Stretching worksheet here.

Don’t forget to check out the lesson plans and activity sheets attached to each of the switches that can be found in the Switch4Schools app.

If you have a favourite switch or transition that you’d like to share with others, then let us know at and we’ll include it in one of our upcoming updates!

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