By: Danielle Hood
Be completely still.
Now imagine your students doing that all day!
Learning is best accomplished when students get their attention, brain functioning and body moving with frequent brain breaks that can be categorized in three groups, relaxation and breathing, physical activity, and mental activity.
What are Brain Breaks?
- Brain Breaks are “simple transitional physical and mental exercises designed to equip the teacher with tools to manage the physiology and attention of the class and to keep children in the most receptive state for learning,” (Weslake 2).
What are the benefits?
- Resharpen children's focus on learning.
- Increase concentration.
- Increase memory.
- Increase oxygen in the bloodstream.
- Increases readiness to learn.
- Alleviates stress.
- Improves physical fitness.
- Develop fine and gross motor skill.
- Engages students and excites them about learning.
Relaxation Brain Breaks
- Relaxation and breathing breaks are found to “maintain focus and increase student well-being.”
- A good way to incorporate relaxation and breathing breaks is to periodically get your students up for a stretch.
- “Breathing exercises are often coupled with stretching exercises such as neck rolls to relieve stress and relax students (Dennison & Dennison, 2004),” (Weslake 3).
Rainstorm Brain Break
Let it Rain is a fun activity for the whole class. Everyone works together and the sound is amazing.
1. Stand up.
2. The conductor will model the class through the rain process.
3. Here is the progression that the conductor will take.
Stage 1: soft circular hand rubbing
Stage 2: vigorous back and forth hand rubbing
Stage 3: finger snapping
Stage 4: thigh tapping
Stage 5: foot stomping
4. The class will follow the lead of the conductor. The conductor will take about 5-7 seconds with each stage.
5. The rain will get louder and louder getting to the last stage in which the conductor will lead the 3 separate thunder jumps. Then reverse the stages and the rain will get softer and softer.
Zero In (Mental Brain Break)
Academic Focus: General activity
- Activity: One student is selected to stand in front of the room while facing the class.
- The class is given direction that they are going to help the student (a.k.a the guesser) guess a secret number without talking or using hand gestures. A secret number is held up behind the student.
- The guesser will call out a number. If the guesser needs to guess higher, the class will cue him/her by jumping up and down.
- If the guesser needs to guess lower, the class will cue him/her by squatting up and down. The class continues to give active, silent, cues until the guesser guesses the secret number.
- Instead of using a number, hold up a math problem that the class has to solve before the guesser begins guessing. The guesser must guess the answer to the problem (of course, without seeing the math problem).