MAT Blog

Help Your Students Focus With These Brain Breaks

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Dec 20, 2013 9:18:00 AM

brain breaksThe closer to the holiday break we get, the harder it is for our students to focus; they’re either falling asleep or climbing the walls!

We’re not above admitting that we’re in countdown mode too, but there’s still much to be done! To help you refocus your students’ energy and get them back on track, we’d like to share our favorite brain breaks from Rachel Lynette’s blog, Minds in Bloom.

Help Your Students Focus With These Brain Breaks

Desk Switch
Give your students 10 seconds to grab their materials and find another desk to sit in. They will remain in this desk until the end of the lesson. There are two reasons we do this: First, it gets them moving; second, being in a different location often helps them see the environment in a new way.

Position Switch
Many teachers are sticklers for good posture, but in our experience, one of the best ways to help students focus is by allowing them to turn their chairs around and sit straddling the chair so that their hands can rest on the back. Sitting like this is a rare treat for students—and we’ve yet to see any misshapen spines as a result.

Fidget Bucket
If your students can’t sit still, put together a fidget bucket. This may include stress balls, stuffed animals or even random items that you have lying around the house like bottle caps, corks and magnets. Objects like this allow students to keep their hands busy, but still focus on what’s going on in the classroom.

Toss Them a Foam Ball
Instead of calling on students, toss them a foam ball.

Walk Around the Room
Instead of gluing yourself to the whiteboard, wander around the room as you teach. Human instinct provokes us to follow things that move, so don’t be surprised when your students start tracking you!

Select a Code Word
If your students are nodding off, arrange a code word—something fun like “Boom!” or “Shazam!” Whenever students hear this word, they must use both hands to hit the tops of their desks two times and then clap two times. This should wake them up!

“Wot dat yeh sey?”
If you’re not afraid to tap into your silly side, teach a short (notice the emphasis on short) part of your lesson with an accent. Our cockney English accent isn’t the greatest, but our students seem to think so. 

Roll the Physical Activity Cube
In our perusal of Pinterest, we came across set of instructions to create a physical activity cube. Each side of the cube has a different exercise—spin in a circle, jump five times, flap your arms like a bird, hop on one foot, etc. When students need to wake up, we pull out the cube and give it a roll.

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Tags: classroom management, Classroom Community, classroom procedures, Classroom Climate, extrinsic motivation, brain breaks

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