Updated: May 31
On the 6th day of Tech-mas, my EdTechs eased my strain … with a multitude of breaks for my brain!
Whether you are teaching in the hybrid model or just distance learning Brain Breaks are more important than ever! Incorporating Brain Breaks in class and into your Zoom lessons is a great way to make learning more fun. As educators we know how crucial it is to recognize when students are not engaged within our lessons and refocus their attention by giving students a Brain Break.
Ready to Learn I have noticed that whenever I give students a break it increases their on-task behavior and helps them stay alert throughout the lesson. When they are alert they are able to retain more information and be productive. Additionally, it is a great way to build a positive classroom environment and teachers need breaks too! Brain Breaks can be used with all students at any age group.
Timing is Everything!
The good thing is that Brain Breaks do not take up much time and it provides students with a burst of energy. I try to use Brain Breaks before students get tired, bored or distracted. I pre-plan my Brain Breaks and either break up lessons or use them to ease into my transition to new subject matter lessons. My scheduled Brain Breaks give my students something to look forward to. Here are some reasons why my sixth graders enjoy them.
“It helps me when I feel frustrated or stressed because I get to have a break and then it makes me focus longer.”
“Brain Breaks are fun and it makes my day go by faster!”
“My favorite Brain Breaks are Would you Rather because it is funny to hear what my friends choose.”
“Brain Breaks help me relax whenever my brain gets distracted or tired!”
“I like the video brain breaks on mysteries or how things work because I can tell my family new facts or read about them in my free time.”
Helpful Tips Surprisingly, Brain Breaks can be used without any disruption in the flow of student learning when you:
1. Establish a clear routine such as assigning students a “bubble” to stay socially distanced when doing movement breaks in person.
2. Pre-plan Brain Breaks and use a variety of Brain Breaks to keep the novelty and engagement.
3. Use your learning goals and students’ responses to guide you in selecting the best type of brain break.
I also suggest relating your Brain Breaks to your content standards. For instance, when I taught third grade I would play count by videos and my students would do stretches and exercises while chanting their multiplication count by songs. In sixth grade, I will show short clips about ancient civilizations to keep them engaged in their new learning.
Other Ideas -- Read alouds, National Geographic kids, Storybots (space songs), Space School (space short videos) GoNoodle, stretches, freeze dance, meditation methods, breathing techniques, growth mindset, positive affirmations, motivational videos, and inspiring videos.
Below you will find a collection of Brain Breaks to incorporate in your day. These Brain Breaks will help keep your students engaged this school year: (All activities should be modified to meet the needs of your students.)
This is a collection of short science videos where students will learn a variety of fun random facts.
This collection has mystery videos and things that students often wonder about. These short clips have inspired many of my students to look up and read more about the facts they learned in their free time.
How it’s Made is a collection of videos where students will learn how everyday things are made.
In this collection you will find videos on growth mindset, kindness and inspiration.
This collection has interactive count by songs that you can use to help elementary grade level students learn their multiplication facts in a fun way.
This is a collection of Would you rather questions to engage your students in critical thinking and conversations. We often enjoy some laughs with their debates and reasoning behind their choice. For this Brain Break I have my students move to one side of the room depending on their choice. Be sure to set up your expectations and remind students to keep a safe distance if they are in person. If it is during distance learning, you can always have them type their answer or share.
Sixth Grade Teacher
Don Pedro Elementary