SOL16 Day 13, DigiLit Sunday: Transitions

Margaret Simon’s DigiLit Sunday’s link up this week is around the idea of transition. Having an idea or topic to consider is a nice way to get thoughts going.


When I think of transitions, I think of space in between. Between words and ideas, instruction and learning.  We want it to be smooth, efficient. But honestly, change is difficult. It’s unrealistic to not to expect trouble and bumps in the road. Transitions aren’t easy.

My students are transitioning from elementary to middle school beings. Whether they want it or not, the process is happening.  It’s confusing, disruptive, exciting and scary all at the same time.

Last week, D closed her Chromebook, pulled her Reader’s Notebook out of her desk, put her club book on her desk, and came to the carpet. She waited with ten other students who had just done the same thing. They did it because I had called them to Reader’s Workshop. They know how it goes.

I looked at the ten on the carpet and said, “You will all be very successful in middle school.”

They sat up a little straighter and smiled.

For those not on the carpet, transitions are tough. Taking their eyes off the screen can be impossible. It can hold them through recess bells, ice cream parties, and best friends leaning in. And that’s a worry. I worry about their ability to transition out of that space.

And it’s not just devices.  Some students are in their books. K is in the corner. Reading his book. K is always in the corner reading his book. E is on the other side of the room, head down, on the edge of the desk, book in his lap. M and D try to sneak books into every part of class. These kids would rather read that do anything else.

A big part of me wants to let them linger where they are. How can I be upset about a kid who would rather read or finish a blog post? I love it. I’d let them do it all day if I could. But, school (and life) demand more. We all have to be able to put down the book and do the other work. Yep. Sorry guys.

Students need to develop the muscles required to transition from direct instruction to non-digital or digital learning spaces and back again. We need to learn what works and how it works. And what works varies based on the task and kid at hand.

Yes, it is March, and we should have this down. A third of these kiddos get it. They transition well. For the others change is difficult. They need to be pulled out of their devices and their books to hear where we’re going next.

We learn how together. The work is new and old. I suppose we’re always in transition.

It’s confusing, disruptive, exciting and scary all at the same time.

Transitions and how we handle them can make or break us. They are so much more than space in between.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers blog for the March Slice of Life Challenge. Read more slices here.