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Monday, April 9, 2012

Brain Breaks

What are they? They are mini activities (2-3 minutes tops) that happen in between subjects or during transition/clean up time. There's a lot of research by both educational gurus and doctors alike that says kids learn best when they're moving.

Ideally, these breaks should happen every 20 minutes, but I think it really depends on what's going on. For example, if kids are in the middle of a science experiment I wouldn't suggest taking a random break when they're fully engaged like that.

I have a couple of ground rules for the kiddos:

  1. All these activities have to be done silently.
  2. They have to keep themselves to themselves. In other words, stay out of other people's personal space. This includes waving your hands in someone else's face.

Here's a list of the favorite activities in my classroom:

Write these brain breaks on popsicle sticks. Put colored dots on the tops of the sticks to indicate length. Green = REALLY quick (20 seconds, tops). Orange = semi-quick (1-2 minutes). Red = longer (2-5 minutes).

· Play karaoke pop song music(no words in the songs) for about a minute while kids dance in or beside their seats.

· Brain bump: Students put their two fists together (looks like a brain) and “brain bump” (like a fist bump) 15 other students and then return to their seats.

· Miss Mary Mack

· Core Matrix-Students sit on their legs (they are bent underneath them) and they lean backwards. They should feel the stress in the core of their body.

· Grab your left ear with your elbow pointing towards the ceiling. Write your name and then the names of 5 of your classmates on the ceiling with your elbow.

· Squat in place

· Macarena (red—3:44 min): play the song while they do the dance.

· Tic Tac Toe: The students play tic tac toe on their paper with the person who sits next to them. They try to see who can win the most in one minute.

· Spin X 3: This is the one I pick on purpose when we are short on time, haha. The just stand up, spin around 3 times, and sit back down.

· Seat Switch (math): They have 10 seconds to sit in someone else’s chair. They then check the last problem that person did. They then have 10seconds to return to their desk.

· High Cincos: High 5’s to 5 people.

· Rainstorm: Start by everyone tapping one finger on the desk, then two, then three, then four, then lightly tap whole hand, a little harder, a little harder, now pound! Now do it all backward. It should sound like a rainstorm hitting the building.

· Beach ball: sit in desks and pass around a beach ball.

· Categories: Pick a category such as words with long a, verbs, junkfood, etc. Go around the room and each student says one word that fits in the category.

· Get in Order: Say an order for the students to get it, such as height, birthdays, ABC first name, ABC last name, etc. Give them 1minute to get there. Challenge – do it without talking!

· 20 Jumping Jacks

· Jump Rope: Jump rope for 30 seconds… it gets tiring.

· Sign Language ABCs: Sing the ABCs and sign the letters. Would have to teach the sign language first.

· Jokester: Pull a popsicle stick for the student who will read/tell the jokes from a joke book.

Students count to six as they follow each step.

1. Rub your palms together fast. Feel the heat.
2. Rub your ears in circles. Squeeze your earlobes between your thumb and finger.
3. Rub the back of your head with your pointer fingers, moving toward your ears.
4. Rub big circles around your eyes with your fingertips, moving from your eyebrows to the top of your cheekbones and back up along the side of your nose.
5. Rub the sides of your nose using your pointer fingers.
6. Act like you’re washing your whole face with your palms.
7. With your right hand, brush your left arm, from shoulder to fingertips, top and underside. Then switch sides.
8. Put one hand on top of the other on your stomach and make 6 circles.
9. Use both hands to rub your thighs.
10. Stomp your feet on the floor.

Do you use brain breaks?  What activities do you use?


3rd Grade Thoughts said...

Hi Heather,

I loooooooooove Brain Breaks and actually just wrote a post about a set I made. I think they have made all the difference this year with my wiggly kids :)

Love the idea about the colors representing the different time required to do each one!

3rd Grade Thoughts

Sally said...

Great ideas for Brain Breaks! I've got quite a wiggly group this year, and I'm always looking for new ideas!

Sally from ElementaryMatters

Elizabeth said...

I love this list! Thanks so much for sharing. We all need breaks, don't we?
ElizabethFun in Room 4B

Heather said...

Stephanie: I'm heading over to your blog to check out your post. Sally and Elizabeth: So glad I could share something you can use!