Using visual directions has been a game changer with transitions and completing activities in my classroom. Transitions are smooth. There are fewer interruptions during small groups. The classroom is peaceful & students are engaged.
I set up my visual directions using the MVP strategy. I introduce each transition and activity following the same 3 steps every time. When planning for transitions and activities I always ask myself these 3 questions:
- What kind of movement will my students be allowed to do during this transition/activity?
- What kind of voice should students use for this activity?
- What actions will students show me so I know they are participating correctly?
Whether they are lining up to go out in the hallway, completing independent math work, or going to reading stations. I introduce any picture related to movement first.
Students movement may be: working at their tables, flexible seating, lining up, sitting next to a partner, working at the carpet, etc. These movement pictures refer to the big body movements around the classroom where students will need to be during the transition or activity.
Next, I introduce the picture cards with the voice level. I of course model each voice level and give examples when I first introduce these voice levels. There are 4 different levels:
- Loud voice- voice we use inside the classroom to make sure everyone can hear us like when we take attendance (This is not a yelling voice. It is a loud firm voice).
- Normal voice – voice we use inside the classroom to converse or read to teacher in small group.
- Whisper voice- voice we use inside the classroom when we are working with a partner or reading to self.
- Silent voice- no voices in the classroom when we are working on a test and need to hear directions or something similar.
While Movement and Voice usually only requires 1 visual card; I usually use up to 4 cards for participation. I place these cards in order so students know what they need to do step by step.
For example, when I send students to work on their math assignments I may place the cards like this:
- Get a pencil and paper
- Complete your work
- Turn in paper in basket
- Work on math website
Here is an example of what my MVP chart might look like when I transition my students from learning at the carpet to complete independent work:
The best part about setting up these visual directions is that students, as young as Kindergartners, can refer back to the pictures and help them remember what they need to do at each step.