Here are five ways you can incorporate movement and Brain Breaks into your Back to School to-do list.
When you create rules, have your kids come up with gestures to accompany these rules. Practice them together and ensure that kids know not only the rule, but the gesture as well. You can even have them practice the rule gestures only, without words. For more on class rules and gestures, you can see some of my posts HERE.
Another way to channel energy during this back-to-school time is to create a Class Cheer and a Sign of Silence. These can be any movement, but should be class-developed and practiced regularly throughout the day. Cheers can be as simple as a fist pump and "Oh yeah!" or get even more complex, as mentioned HERE. A Sign of Silence could be a hand making a zero and held in the air to signal quiet, or even something a bit louder like Ready, Set, Learn (read more HERE). Anything that will pair both movement with a verbal cue will help get every student on board during these important times.
One of my most favorite activities is similar to Four Corners, although I will use compass directions (mentioned HERE) to sneak in some geography skills. I will call out a variety of choices and have kids run to different walls that coincide with their choices. Some of my questions include:
- Favorite subject
- Favorite specials
- How you get to school
- Teacher last year
- Favorite sport/hobby
- Favorite recess activity
- ...and more!
- hair color
- eye color
- shirt color
- class as last year
- number of siblings
- birth month
- ... and more!
If kids can't find a partner who has the same/different criteria, they need to find a way they are similar or different and be able to tell me what that is... I actually love it when this happens, as they usually find some wonderful connection that we often use the next time I call out to Find a Friend!
I will use the compass direction signs for this activity as well, and create a simple checklist of all of the necessities in our class. I share this with them before we begin and they grab a clipboard and walk around the room looking for each item. When they find it, they record their answer using the compass direction of the wall it is found along. Of course, working with a partner is encouraged and helping each other is great!
Using Scavenger Hunts is also a great way for kids to get to know each other and the school as a whole. You can use a similar checklist-style or create something more fancy, but encouraging getting up and moving around will help them to get their wiggles out and discover these important places and spaces themselves.
Controlling the breath is a simple and no-impact break that will help everybody. I love throwing in some math when we breathe. For example, counting by 2/5/10s and encouraging an exhale that is twice as long as the inhale. You can also have kids put their hands on their bellies to feel it expanding as they inhale and contracting as they exhale. During this time, have kids practice breathing in through their nose and out through their mouths for even more calming effects.
Another easy break is having students close their eyes and rub their ear lobes with opposite hands. The cross-lateral movement is subtle, but important, and this can be done at their desks, in the meeting area, or even in line before you leave the classroom.
No matter how you choose to do it, incorporating movement from Day One will help establish even more class buy-in to routines and procedures and reduce many of the behavior management issues that can arise during these first few weeks. When you include movement and Brain Breaks from the beginning, you make them a part of your classroom culture and establish them as a "normal" part of your day. What a wonderful gift to give to yourself and your students from the very beginning!
Brain Break ResourcesIf you are a fan of these ideas and looking for more to last you throughout the rest of the school year, be sure to check out all of my Brain Break resources HERE on Teachers Pay Teachers. There are resources for each major holiday, Word Work & Spelling, general classroom use, and more!
Find all Brain Break activities HERE on TpT and have fun with your students all year long!
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Have a great Back to School season!