Close your eyes and imagine you have been sitting at your computer all day. You have absorbed new information from a meeting at work, engaged with your co-workers, and even worked on a few activities as a team. Your mind starts to wander, you start to yawn, your tummy grumbles…you need a brain break! Brain breaks are exactly what the name implies–a short break for the brain! Just like adults need short breaks here and there, students need a moment to step away as well. Students are sitting, working, and consistently absorbing a great amount of content. Short brain breaks sprinkled in throughout the day help them to re-energize or regain focus for the next activity.
Sometimes students may need to wiggle and move around to let out a little energy. Other times, they may need to take a few deep breaths to calm down before the next activity. It is nice to have a variety of Brain Breaks prepared, so that you are able to pull the appropriate brain break out on the spot when needed (planned or unplanned).
Fluency & Fitness: A brain break that is also educational! Fluency & Fitness allows students to take a moment, get up out of their chairs, breathe, and refuel before the next activity. During a long virtual lesson or a transition time in the classroom, students are able to get out of their seats and dance their “wiggles” out for a moment before returning to work. Choose between a variety of educational concepts to review. Students will shout out their answers and then copy the dance moves. This is my favorite–short brain break during transition times. I like to choose a Fluency & Fitness activity that goes along with the concept we just learned and while we transition to a new lesson, students will review while also getting up and moving!
Go Noodle: A fun and FREE resource filled with various brain break activities from dance along videos to silly songs and rhymes with Moose Fabio, Go Noodle has a brain break for everyone! Simply visit the Go Noodle website to choose the perfect brain break!
Sometimes a brain break isn’t so much about moving as it is about calming. I have noticed times throughout the school day when my students naturally have more energy, for example: lunch, between activities, or at the end of the day. I have started incorporating a relaxing brain break to re-engage. Cosmic Kids Yoga includes yoga videos for young children and can be found at their website OR by simply visiting their YouTube channel. During Cosmic Kids Yoga, students are whisked away to a land of adventure where they listen to stories and explore all while doing classic yoga poses.
TAKE A BREATH
One way that I love to help my students regain focus is with deep breaths, but we make it fun with silly types of breathing! Here are some fun examples that can help your students to calm down while also having a little fun!
Bunny Breaths – Students take 3 quick breaths in through their nose and one long breath out through their mouth like a rabbit!
Snake Breaths – Students take a deep breath in and then breath out while making a “Sssss” sound like a snake!
Rainbow Breaths – Students take deep breaths in while make hand motions like a rainbow
Brain breaks are a great way to integrate student choice and a fun reward option in the classroom! Students LOVE to be the one to choose the activity for themselves and their friends. As your class displays excellent behavior or one student’s great choices stand out to you, nominate a student to choose the brain break for the day. Watch that student’s eyes light up with the biggest smile across their face when they are allowed to make the brain break choice! This is fun reward option that the entire class can participate in as well as
There is an abundance of brain break resources available nowadays, but that does not mean that classics aren’t just as engaging! When I was in school, before the age of virtual learning and GoNoodle, my teachers would offer a break with a simple game of Simon Says, Rock Paper Scissors, or my personal favorite…Heads Up Seven Up. Students still love these classic brain breaks – and they are easy to remember when you are in a pinch!
Sometimes students need to DANCE IT OUT! A good, old-fashioned dance party can do a lot of good! Whenever we’ve had a long week of learning, students are worn down, or I notice they may be feeling discouraged, a dance party usually brings up everyone’s spirits! Pick a song that students love from KidsBop or a popular children’s movie, crank of the volume, and spend a few moments dancing your hearts out!