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.
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
- 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!!
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.
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.
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!