It’s 10:45 am. While some people may just be starting their day, the leaders of Crew 313 have already welcomed each other in Crew, participated in either Art or Capoeira, read a text, analyzed a text, written a paragraph and provided feedback to each other. And that’s not including our 6 different transitions and countless materials.
Needless to say, even before lunch, our brains are already full with knowledge, facts and questions. So how do we take a moment to regroup before our next lesson? Brain breaks! Brain breaks are a fun way to break up the day and add joy in the classroom. Here in Crew 313 we love taking just a few minutes to play a quick game, watch a video or do a quick exercise. It’s natural to want to move so let’s give in to our instincts and use them to our advantage!
There are a few great go to Brain Breaks we like to do. The best part is you can do them almost anywhere! Some of you may have heard about Flocabulary videos. For those who aren’t familiar, they are educational hip hop videos either telling a story or reviewing content. The coolest part about these videos is that they use the vocabulary and terms that students need to know, according the Common Core State Standards. One of the ways we use them is to introduce a new lesson or allow students to follow along. You can view a free one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30CPmgVQNks
What if you only have a couple minutes and can feel yourself or child feeling antsy? Try a quick math brain break! A quick one to get the blood flowing is quick and easy to do. Here’s how it goes: Have everyone stand up. For us, we’re practicing skip counting and counting by 2’s. With your hands in the air above your head, shake them as you count up to 20: “2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20”. Then shake them to your sides, this time, only going to 18: “2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18”. Repeat this with any action that seems like fun: jumping, running in place, cross-body stretches, etc. This not only gives children a little bit of exercise and gets their blood flowing, but also helps them with their math fluency. You can do this with a lot of different focuses: ABCs, counting, counting backwards, etc.
The last popular brain break we break up the day with is a breathing exercise. One we just started using that allows us to calm our minds is by having students slowly tracing their hands. As their fingers go up one finger, breathe in. As it falls down the other side, breathe out. This is a brain break used when the energy is really high or we need a focus break.
Again, brain breaks are a great opportunity not only to get some extra energy out or to refocus, but also to quickly practice academic skills. If you have any suggestions, let us know! We love to keep moving :)