How often do you stop instruction for brain breaks? Is it when you see the glazed look on your students’ faces – or perhaps you set a timer every so often to remind you to stop intentionally for a quick pick-me-up?
However you decide to remind yourself to stop for a brain break, it is always a good time every so often to stop and allow the brain to process what you just taught your students.
It’s Thursday and I’m sitting in a weekly staff meeting. I always pick the back of the room for a good reason.
I can’t sit for longer than 30 minutes without feeling the need to move. If I am in the back of the room, then I won’t disrupt anyone else during the meeting if I get up and sway a bit or pace a few steps back and forth.
In fact, I’m lucky if I make it 30 minutes to be honest.
Do you ever feel the same? Like you might go bonkers if you have to sit any longer without taking a minute just to think about what was said?
Kids feel the same way.
Classroom Management Dance Party
Whether you have older students or younger children, most everyone enjoys some fun music movement songs. They didn’t invent the Chicken Dance or Macarena for no reason. 🙂
If you are having behavior management issues, perhaps it might be due to students just needing more mental breaks in the day. Research-based instructional strategies show that kids need to have a lesson broken up into 10 minute segments for it to be truly effective learning time.
Rather than have students making their own brain break distraction for all to see, stay ahead of them and create your own learning environment which has regular pauses in the learning for physical activity.
Being that your children will be moving and shaking while standing, do a quick check of your room set up to verify they have the space to participate in energizing movement and not hit anything (or anyone else) in the process.
The best part of a brain break is that it doesn’t need to be long. Three minutes or less is a quick turnaround before getting back to work.
It’s good for not only academics, but for social emotional needs of the child – and the teacher too!
You might also be interested in:
•36 weekly activities which can be done as a whole class or as a center activity, including the answer keys
•All the matching handouts are included as a full page and as a half page, in both color and in grayscale, which will make for easier printing for those that do not have access to a color printer
•All 36 weeks worth of audio files See more pages here.
3 Minutes for Focused Attention
Need some quick brain breaks activities that don’t take a lot of time or prep to pull off? Check out the list below!
- jumping jacks – Have students do a little stretching before starting and then get that bloos pumping with 20 jumping jacks for resuming work
- gonoodle – One of my son’s favorite classroom websites
- balloon bounce – The class gets in one large circle facing each other and holds wrists. You toss a non-latex balloon into the circle and they must work together to bounce it and keep it off the ground
- Eye Spy – Ask students to stand up or sit on their desk tops and look for items you are spying throughout the classroom
- nature walk – If it is a nice weather day, pop your heads out of the school building door for a brisk walk before resuming the learning
- 3 minute lego build – Hand each student group a bucket of legos and see who can build the tallest tower in 3 minutes
- Pandora playlist – use a fun kid-friendly playlist (I love KidzBop Kids songs) just to jam out for a couple minutes
- head, shoulders, knees, and toes – quick finger play songs work beautifully for the littles in the classroom
- pretend you are… – Choose different animals to pretend and act out what those animals might look and sound like
- compliment break – Have older students write down a general compliment on a scrap piece of paper. Then play music and students roam around the room. When the music stops, they pair up with the student closest to them and swap papers.
- scavenger hunt – Hide a few items in the room and have students work in teams for 3 minutes to see how many they can find (this could even be done on paper with a hidden objects printable)
- quick commercials – Give student groups a slogan and a box of random “junk” in a box. Ask them work together to come up with a 30 second commercial at the end of 3 minutes
- water break – sometimes just a quick restroom and/or rehydration break does the trick too!
So much fun! Want to know a secret? I actually usually played a KIDZ BOP CD after school as well in the event that students might still be in the building with parents that were colleagues. It just made me feel safer to play appropriate music, but something that I could still jam out to after school to unwind a bit while prepping for the next day.
What are some of your best brain break activities? Please share them with all our teacher readers in the comments below – we love new ideas!