Saturday, July 7, 2012

Brain Breaks Revisited: Better Than Ever & A Giveaway!

I have used Brain Breaks for a while now and both my students and I LOVE them!

When I posted them as my first item for sale in my TpT Store a few months back, I never would have imagined the response I received!! It has been very positive and also question-filled. I want to answer some of the questions here in one post, as well as give you some of the reasons why Brain Breaks are so useful in my classroom.

Also, at the end, I have some good news about my Brain Breaks set on TpT, so be sure to check that out :)

The Brain & Learning

Brain Breaks fit under the larger umbrella of "Brain Based Learning" which includes multiple intelligences and learning styles, among others. There is a great overview from the University of Wisconsin HERE and some practical classroom tips for engaging the brain and body HERE. They also post an extensive Brain Based Learning Book List HERE.

Fun Brain Facts (source and my thoughts are italicized):
  • Did you know your brain uses 20% of your body's oxygen? And that's just to stay "conscious"-- hopefully our kids are a bit more engaged than that ;) 
  • For only a 3 pound organ, that's a lot of our oxygen to stay fully engaged! 
  • Our cerebrum or cortex is the largest part and makes up 85% of our brain- it is responsible for thinking and voluntary muscles, those that move when you tell them. So, the importance of getting oxygen flowing freely to our lovely brain is very important for our thinking and learning. 
I would think it is safe to say that combining movement and learning is a great way to engage all students. Breaking lessons up into small chunks, practicing teaching to each other, and linking movement with a new concept are all basic principles in Whole Brain Teaching and LOTS of additional information is available on their website HERE.

We know as teachers than when a lesson runs too long, when we talk too much, or when a test is taking up a long period of time, our students' attention spans dwindle and they are not learning at their most effective level.

Enter... Brain Breaks!

Brain Breaks are just that- breaks for your brain! This can happen at following times:
  • Before, during and after instruction time and work time
  • Before, during and after an assessment
  • Transitions
  • After recess to calm down
  • In the morning to energize
  • Group team-building
  • Refocusing for a student or group of students
  • A chance to include humor and fun stuff any time of day with no additional materials! Yay for quick, easy and fun!!
Whenever I see one of these times pop up, including when my students suggest it, I will simply say, "Brain Break!" and grab the top of my head with both of my hands. The kids will repeat "Brain Break!" after me, while also doing the same motion. This was something I think the kids came up with-- the call & response is straight from Whole Brain Teaching and pops up all of the time :)
I then choose a break- there are lots to choose from, but I begin the year by introducing them one at a time. This allows me to model, for us to try the break together, and for the kids to remember it for the future. Later in the year, I will sometimes have a student choose a break (a very special treat for them!).

The purposes of the breaks are also different, so some I reserve for energizing times, like "Air Band" and others are for more centering times, like "Plank". Some involve partners, most are solo. Only a few use props like a chair or some music, but no materials or prep-work is needed on your part for these. All of them, however, do have an instant effect on the environment in your room.

As the class becomes more familiar with the Breaks, adjustments are always made and that's what keeps it fun. For example, while doing "Plank" lift one leg off the ground, then the other. Then, lift one hand off the ground, then the other. The possibilities are endless and therefore stretch the usefulness of these little sticks to keep them fun the whole year long.

There are also times I will use the Breaks as a reward- see my past post on The Scoreboard HERE for an example.

Now, for the BEST part....

Better Than Ever!

My best-selling Brain Breaks set has been beefed up to include 29 NEW Breaks!! That nearly DOUBLES the old set!! There are now a total of 64 breaks and 4 blank circles to create your own :)

Here are some pics of the whole kit & kaboodle:



I have also added to the 2 1/2 pages of short descriptions to include the new Breaks and, thanks to a helpful reviewer, I alphabetized them to make them easier to find :)

Pick them up from my TpT Store today by clicking HERE.

If you have already purchased this set: simply re-download it from TpT's "My Purchases" page and you will find the new Breaks beginning after the 4 blank templates- the last 4 pages of circles.

I am also hosting my first Rafflecopter Giveaway for you to win $10 to my TpT Store to get these Brain Breaks or any other products of your choosing! If you want, you can also hold onto it and spend it later as I release new items- up to you! Enter below today- the contest ends on Wednesday:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope this post was helpful in explaining these Brain Breaks and gave you some new ideas about how you can use them in your class!

104 comments:

  1. I would definitely buy the Brain Breaks - they sound fantastic, thanks for adding more!!!

    ✰Amber
    Sparkles , Smiles, and Student Teaching

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  2. i would love this! i'd get your morning meeting packet, your chevron binder covers, or something else! I love your store!
    Allie
    the-gypsy-teacher.blogspot.com

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  3. I love your products! I think I would pick your brain breaks packet and morning meeting packet.
    Kelly
    kellydeannab@hotmail.com

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  4. I would buy the brain breaks or some of your whole brain teaching ideas. Also, I clicked on your TPT store and when I came back the rafflecopter had wiped out all my entries, so I am going to submit again.

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  5. I love brain breaks and am always interested in getting new ones. I liked the word work (How much is the word worth) for Daily 5.

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  6. So excited about your giveaway. I've been eyeing your brain breaks for awhile.
    Katie
    iwanttobeasuperteacher.blogspot.com

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  7. I love your store so much it would be hard to choose. Your Brain Breaks sound fantastic so that is what I am leaning towards right now!

    Brittany
    Stickers and Stamps

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  8. I would love to win your brain breaks, or any other WBT item! :)

    Stephanie
    Maestra Bilingue

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  9. I would love to win these!

    AppleGirlAmber
    amberappleamber@gmail.com

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  10. I use brain breaks in my everyday life, and I use Brain Gym when I know I need that extra boost. SO COOL! Thanks for all the work you do!

    Jennie
    povenjm@gmail.com

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  11. This is awesome! I would love your desk fairy, bin, and cubby fairy awards, word work trio, and monster partner cards if I win! Great giveaway! :)
    Lisa
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

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  12. I would DEFINITELY buy the brain breaks! You are awesome!

    Ms.G In Grade 3

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  13. Oh boy. If I would win I would get your Morning Meeting Pack and Brain Breaks.

    Heidi
    My (Not So) Elementary Life
    mynotsoelementarylife@yahoo.com

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  14. Thanks for having a giveaway! I have a lot of your items on my wishlist... brain breaks, supply labels, math+spelling, and spelling with letter tiles! My students love doing brain breaks and yours are a lot cuter than my popsicle sticks that I wrote on with a sharpie! :)

    Kate
    EduKate and Inspire

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  15. I would purchase your Brain Breaks and your How much is it Worth is already in my wishlist of items so I'd get that too. I love all your products.

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  16. I would purchase Brain Breaks and anything else with meaningful movement! Thanks for a great giveaway.

    Barbara
    The Corner On Character

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  17. I'd purchase Brain Breaks to use in my classroom and maybe a few of the Word Work items for the Daily 5!

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  18. I would get the Brain Breaks pack, and I LOVE the chevron binder covers and direction signs. I'm thinking about using chevron next year, and those would work perfectly!

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  19. Brain Break pack, Monster Task card, any of your spelling activities!

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  20. I would def. get brain breaks. I love them! Also I love the chevron binder covers. Very cute!

    Thanks.
    mondragondrea@gmail.com

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  21. I would go after the brain breaks! Anything to make WBT more successful in my classroom is a winner for me! Thanks!

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  22. I would buy Brain Breaks! It's on my wishlist!!

    Aimee
    Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks

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  23. I would totally get the brain breaks! Love this idea!

    Katie

    Teach Love Laugh

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  24. I would buy your brain breaks with my winnings!

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  25. Oh I have been wanting your brain breaks for awhile, so hooray for added ones!!! This means I HAVE to have them now!! I also would like the morning meeting packet.. I want to start doing that next year. Great additions and facts about brain breaks too!


    Amanda
    Reaching for the TOP!
    redseventeen@gmail.com

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  26. Wow! As a first year teacher these will be great for both my students and I!
    lindsey.n.baumgartner@gmail.com

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  27. I would definitely get those brain breaks!

    cgeiser@gmail.com

    Adventures in Room 5

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  28. I would buy your brain breaks- definitely better looking than the ones I've been using!! Your store has so many good things in it!

    Mary
    Teaching Special Kids

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  29. I would buy your brain breaks and WBT materials.
    wnekola@Viking.portage.k12.oh.us

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  30. I am new to your blog, but LOVE IT so far! I promised myself I would incorporate "brain breaks" last year, and never really did. Fortunately, I kept my kids very active through math center rotations. This year, though, I WILL be using "brain breaks"!

    http://www.fantasticallyfresh4th.blogspot.com/

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  31. I love your blog and look forward to reading your posts. If I were to win this giveaway I would definitely buy the Brain Breaks package that you've created...<3.

    Teach~Play~Smile

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  32. I so love everything in your store... I definitely want to purchase the brain breaks, and probably your school supply labels!

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  33. I'm new to your blog but will continue to read. Well done!
    Love the tips and ideas you have!!
    I'ld buy brain breaks for the winnings. They seem great :-)

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  34. I would definitely choose the brain breaks :-)

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  35. brain breaks for sure. I use energizers-its also a free download. I youtube lots of brain breaks, too. But I need them all in one area!
    Rachel
    rachel.lamb81@gmail.com

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  36. I would purchase the brain breaks that have been on my wish list for quite some time!
    brynne.zachow@gmail.com

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  37. I would definitely buy Brain Breaks! I would also love to purchase your Place Value Spelling and your cute cardinal direction signs.

    - Elizabeth
    elizabeth.benscoter@gmail.com
    http://firstyearinthe3rdgrade.blogspot.com/

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  38. I hope I win! I would buy your brain breaks for sure!
    ~Lorraine
    Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies

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  39. I would love to use your brain breaks, thanks!

    :) Nicole
    Tadpole Tidbits
    www.mrscorbitt.blogspot.com

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  40. It's been in my wishlist cart for quite a while!

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  41. Brain Breaks has been sitting in my wishlist for-ev-ah! I also want the monster grouping cards and everything else. =)

    Emily @ Second Grade Silliness 
    ebuckler@hotmail.com

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  42. I have several items from your TPT store on my wishlist... thanks for a great giveaway! :)

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  43. I would love some of your word work activities!

    Mindy

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  44. I would love to have the brain breaks and the would you rather questions for kids. I know my kids would love both :-) Keeping my fingers crossed!!!!

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  45. Thanks for the give-away! You post great ideas!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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  46. I would totally buy the brain breaks!

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  47. Thank you for a terrific giveaway. I have the Brain Breaks, the Word Work Trio, and Would You Rather Questions on ny wishlist. I love your materials. They are so colorful and so needed. Thanks for all your sharing.

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  48. I would buy the brain breaks and the did you know fun facts! Those are both very creative! I'm a new follower of yours - thanks for doing this giveaway!

    Sara
    Miss V's Busy Bees

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  49. I would get the Brain Breaks and Morning Meeting.
    lraines78@gmail.com

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  50. I would definitely get the brain breaks and Monster Partner cards.
    Thanks,
    Melanie
    mhawk888@gmail.com

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  51. I would totally get the brain breaks!
    Thanks, Tracey

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  52. Hi Stephanie...

    I really liked the brain breaks and look forward to trying them out in my classroom this year. You have so many awesome ideas and I have learned so much from you about whole brain learning.

    jessicamariewood30@gmail.com

    Jess
    Mrs. Wood's Class

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  53. I would definitely be adding your Brain Breaks to my cart. I love this idea and know my class benefits from the break. Plus, yours are so much nicer looking than the hand-written set I made this year!
    - Amanda {avphilli@gmail.com}
    Inspired in Second

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  54. These are definitely on my wish list, as is half your store. :) Nice job on everything!

    Heather
    abqgreene@gmail.com

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  55. Love your blog and brain breakers,Stephanie! It was one of my very first pins on pinterest! :)

    Boudls89@Yahoo.com

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  56. Thanks for the explanation. I've been seeing a lot about brain breaks but was only guessing as to how to use them. I was pretty close!

    I just checked out your store and I would LOVE to have any of your spelling/word work activities. They are great.

    Thanks again!
    Jessica
    Teach on a Limb

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  57. I'd buy the brain breaks and morning meetings sets...woo hoo...$10 even!

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  58. I'm loving the brain breaks! It will be a great addition to my routine.

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  59. I love your Brain Breaks and your Chevron Binder Covers!!
    bl3982@yahoo.com

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  60. I would love the brain breaks. I started following because I'm researching classroom management, and find the Whole Brain idea very intriguing. I'd like to try it out in my classroom next year.
    ~Heather
    http://themeekmoose.blogspot.com

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  61. I love all the word work files that combine math and spelling/word work! I'm super excited to really get into Daily 5 this year and bring in some rich, quality activities for my students! Word Work Trio, How Much is Your Word Worth... FTW! =)

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  62. Hmm...tough choice...it would definitely be a toss up between the brain breaks and the morning meeting pack! =)
    http://cantmakethisstuffup-hmichaud.blogspot.com/

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  63. Love so much of your stuff....brain breaks, word work activities, supply labels, monster partner cards, etc. Thanks for all the ideas!!

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  64. Love this because brain breaks have been on my wishlist! Of course I would select that plus the word work trio, the binder covers, and the spelling with letter tiles. Thanks so much for hosting this giveaway and also for sharing such great tips on your blog :)))

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  65. I would pick the Brain Breaks, Word Work Trio and another that is on my wish list. Thank You so much for such wonderful ideas!!! I have been using whole brain teaching for about three years and next year I am starting the Daily 5 and Cafe in my third grade class!! Your blog has given me WONDERFUL ideas!

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  66. I love giveaways!!!! I would use the 10 for brain breaks. :) Thanks!

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  67. I would buy the Brain Breaks, of course!

    Pitner's Potpourri

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  68. My purchase would be the brain breaks ! Great product : )

    Lindsey

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  69. These sound like a great idea for my 7th graders!! :)

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  70. I would definitely get Brain breaks!

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  71. I most defiantly would get the Brain Breaks!! :)

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  72. Thank you so much for the updated brain breaks. I was just on my way tomorrow to get the originals printed in color (of course, can't do that at school, have to pay for it myself). So thankful for the timing, and your work!

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  73. I would get the Morning Meeting Packet!!!
    Thanks for all your ideas!!!!

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  74. I would love to buy the brain breaks! But I would also want the desk fairy rewards! haha I thought I was being original with the desk fairy... not so much apparently. ;)

    Cherie
    The {mis}adventures of first grade

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  75. My wife is a Special Education Teacher (K-3) and I would give her the money for use

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  76. I would definitely buy your Brain Breaks! I pinned them some time ago because I thought they looked great!

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  77. I would love to have your brain break set. I use WBT methods and I'd like to add the breaks to my classroom.

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  78. I will definitely be purchasing the brain breaks! I love the fact that they can be used all year with some simple modifications! Thanks for the contest!

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  79. I saw your brain breaks on pinterest and pinned them, now I found your blog through the classroom theme linky!

    Love it!
    Damien of the Reading Buddies

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  80. I have to learn more about the Brain breaks.I’m your newest follower. Please check out my blog if you get a chance. Calling Plays in 2nd Grade.
    Thanks, Shanell

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  81. I love the Brain Breaks, but I also love all of your WBT creations! :)

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  82. These have been on my wishlist for a while! Would love to win this!

    Brandi
    Success in Second Grade

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  83. I love your brain breaks and I can't wait to try WBT this school year!
    Ruthanne rarace81@gmail.com

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  84. I love giveaways! I already own your morning meeting and your monster partner cards (Oops, guess I should learn to wait)! I would also purchase: Brain breaks (no surprise there) and possibly another set of the monster partner cards for my grade mate (as a welcome back to school gift). I also like your word work trio!
    Thank you for offering this giveaway!
    Amy
    Where Seconds Count 2nd grade blog

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  85. I would purchase your WBT signs and probably your monster grouping cards!

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  86. I love the brain breaks! I would also purchase either the "Did you know facts", "Desk/cubby fairy" or the "morning meeting packet".... or better yet all of them!

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  87. I forgot the comment!! I am here now! I would LOVE the Brain Breaks--they would be an amazing resource :)

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  88. Love the Brain Break package! Thanks for creating such quality products! :)

    ~Mary Hall Lester
    maryh.lester@hotmail.com

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  89. My old administrator found your blog and sent me the link! Such a great site! I don't use brain breaks in my class and would buy those from your tpt store if I got the gift card :)

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  90. Your word work trio has been on my wish list for a while! Thanks for hosting a giveaway!
    briawnacallahan@gmail.com

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  91. I would love to get the Brain Break pack and the Morning Meeting pack! Great Giveaway!
    rachaelrsterling@yahoo.com

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  92. I'll be starting my first year of teaching! The Brain Break packet would be so wonderful!! Thank you!!

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  93. I just started using Kagan structures and incorporating brain breaks into my classroom last year. I felt thought hat I got stuck in a rut using the same ones over and over, so I feel the Brain Breaks pack would be a great way to remind me to do them more often and to help me mix it up more.

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  94. I LOVE your Brain Break pack! I'll be starting my 2nd year of teaching in the fall and can't wait to try new ideas! :0)

    cbowns11@gmail.com

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  95. I would love this.. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  96. I'm excited to have stumbled across your blog. Thanks in advance for sharing all of your great ideas!

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  97. I love this blog! I would buy the Brain Breaks and lots of cute Chevron things:)

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  98. I somehow rambled my way onto your blog and I must say, I am quite impressed. This is such a great idea! I'm heading over to TpT to pick mine up! Love it!

    I also teach 3rd grade. I'd love for you to stop by my blog and check it out!
    Tab
    http://tabpurvis.blogspot.com
    Happy New Year!

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  99. Thanks for sharing! I am excited to try this out for indoor reccess. :D

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Thank you so much for your comments! :)
~Stephanie