I’ve been using brain breaks with my students for the past year and it has worked out really well. My students are in my class for 2 hours of reading/writing instruction, most of which is direct instruction. After a while, the students start to get that glazed look on their faces. Brain breaks wake them back up and help them re-focus.
I took a bucket and some ping pong balls and made my Brain Break Bucket. Basically, I just wrote the brain breaks on each ping pong ball. When it’s time to break up the monotony, I have a student choose a ball from the bucket and we do whatever it says on the ball.
The kids have really enjoyed it. There’s a renewed energy in the classroom when they go back to their seats.
What sorts of things do I do for brain breaks? I’m glad you asked!
Line up alphabetically by last name, silently
Line up alphabetically by first name, silently
Make a train around the room
Switch seats with someone else
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Youtube dance videos for kids
Use a beach ball and play “Keep it off the Floor”
Would You Rather?Questions
Wink one eye and snap the fingers on the opposite hand (hard to do but fun to watch!)
In my classroom, the students are in their seats listening to me (my curriculum requires 90% direct instruction) for up to 2 hours at a time. This makes it hard for them to focus on the lesson after a while. By breaking up the time with these Brain Breaks, it helps them to re-focus on the lesson. I know when I sit in a Professional Development session, or attend a conference, I have a tough time staying focused after a while. Pretty soon your brain is wandering off into “I wonder what’s for lunch”, “How am I going to accomplish all the tasks in front of me today?” “When is this over?” Having a chance to get up and move around is so helpful.
What Brain Breaks do you do?