MAT Blog

15 of Our Favorite Brain Breaks for Students

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke on Apr 1, 2014 9:37:00 AM

brain breaksIf you’re not familiar with them, brain breaks are short activities that offer students a reprieve from routine learning activities. Not only are brain breaks fun, they’re a simple way to refocus students’ energy and get them back on track.

We shared a collection of brain breaks back in December, but thanks to Liz over at The Happy Teacher our list has grown considerably. 

1. Crab Walk around the Room: Put on a song and have students walk in the crab position around the room. At some point, have students go in reverse. 

2. Doodle Time: Give students some blank paper and markers and let them doodle and talk for five minutes. 

3. Dance Party: Turn on the radio and let students dance until the song ends.

4. Tic-Tac-Toe: Give students some blank paper to play tic-tac-toe with a friend. It’s a simple game that won’t cause a mess or a distraction for your neighbors! 

5. 50 Jumping Jacks: Get students’ heart rates up with this quick physical exercise. 

6. Heads Up, 7-Up: Another classic that is easy and exciting for students!

7. Stretching: Choose a student to come up and lead a minute of stretching.  Most students know various stretches from gym class and will enjoy leading their peers!

8. Pantomime: Choose a student to act out an activity without talking.  The class must mimic the leader and then guess what the activity is (swimming, flying, sleeping, laughing, jogging, singing, etc.).

9. Mirror-Mirror: Have students pair up and mirror the actions of their partner. Students will get a kick out of this activity!

10. Thumb Wrestling: Have students choose a partner and participate in some old-fashioned thumb wrestling. Be sure to establish your expectations before this little brain break.  

11. Rock, Paper, Scissors: Have students partner up for five rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winners get a high five from their partner.

12. Sky Writing: Have students “sky write” their ABCs, sight words, spelling words, or a secret message to their friend.  

13. Air Band:  Choose an "air" instrument and "rock out!"  Drums, guitar, and saxophone are my personal favorites.

14.  Silent Yoga:  Strike a yoga pose and see how long your students can hold it. Google "Kid Yoga" for some easy examples. 

15. 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.

Brag Tags

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

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.

Get Your Free Classroom Management Guide

 

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

Subscribe to the Marygrove MAT Blog!

Comments on this Blog Post