Are you familiar with Dr. Jean Feldman? She is a master of fun and innovative ideas for early childhood educators to use in their classrooms. Some of my favorites are the cheers she shares for transition times. These simple cheers are short chants combined with physical movement.
One of my favorites is the "Roller Coaster". Begin by saying "Roller Coaster." Then put your hands out with your palms facing forward, fingers straight, and thumbs touching. Say "Click, click, click" as you move your hands up slowly (like going straight up in a roller coaster car). At the top, bend fingers and start moving your hands down quickly while you say, "Whee."
We usually do the same cheer two or three times in a row so everyone has a chance to catch on and participate. Cheers are especially great for transition times while we wait for all children to line up before we leave the room. By the time we have finished the cheer, I have everyone's attention and can whisper directions for what comes next.
Cheers work so well that I've written some that focus on Daily 5 and CAFE. They will be useful for transitions as well as brain breaks between rotations. Here is a sample.
"Daily" (Make a D with your hands. It must look backward to you so it is the correct orientation for the children. One hand is held straight up, viewed from the side. The other hand is a backward C. Combine them to make a capital D.)
"5" (Show five fingers, spread out. Move them in a circle while wiggling fingers.)
I print my cheers on cardstock, laminate them, cut them apart, and keep them in a small box by my door. You could also hole punch the cards and place them on a binder ring to hang from a hook. If you use cheers often, you'll find that the children begin requesting their favorites.
So give these a try or write some of your own. I think you'll find this is a gentle way to grab the attention of your students and share a few smiles together. Cheers!