We all know that our students have a limited capacity for sitting still and taking in information; typically, 10 minutes is all you get. And it is nearly impossible to have all of their undivided and thoroughly engaged attention at any one time. When one student starts losing focus, it can quickly snowball to the students around them, and before you know it, you’re losing control. So how can we bring them back to focus when we feel like all is lost? The answer is: Brain Breaks!
What is a Brain Break?
Brain Breaks are the perfect classroom management tool to redirect your students’ attention, release any boredom or frustration, and get your class back on track. They are fun, engaging, can be educational or just plain silly!
Sounds simple, right? Believe it or not, it is! You see them losing focus, give their brains a quick break, and bring them back to the lesson refreshed and ready to learn. The trick is to have a few ideas in your back pocket that you can pull out quickly when you need them, that require little to no set-up, and that can just as quickly be wrapped up so you can get back to the task at hand. Not only will you refocus their attention, but you will also have maintained a fun, positive connection without repeated reminders.
How do you know when to use a Brain Break?
When students are fidgety. Remember the egg-roller? That kid needs a Brain Break.
When a student is frustrated with an activity. Use Brain Breaks to take a student’s mind off of a challenging lesson or assessment long enough to relax and come back with a fresh set of eyes.
When students have been sitting for longer than 15 minutes. Release some of that pent-up energy!
Between subjects or as a transition. Motivate students to transition quickly or prepare for a new lesson.
As a class reward. Have some fun! They’ve earned it!
When you, the teacher, feel frustrated or disconnected from your students or the lesson. Sometimes even us adults need a quick distraction to get back into our groove. It’s never fun to force a lesson that just isn’t working.
Help! I need ideas!!
Almost anything can be a Brain Break if your students find it fun and engaging. Remember, the goal is to keep it quick, simple, and little to no set-up. This can look like:
Short bursts of exercise (think jumping jacks, mountain climbers, a sprint out to the tree on the playground and back)
Guess My Word (aka- Hangman, although let’s not call it that anymore, shall we?)
Review games like The Answer Is… (Jeopardy) and Two Truths and a Lie.
Check out my TeachersPayTeachers page for downloadable versions of all of these games PLUS a lot more! Or, get ALL of my Brain Break and Review Games in one Growing Bundle! That means that anytime I add new games or activities, you will automatically be able to download them at no additional cost.
Also, check out my previous post with 12 Brain Break Games for the Classroom and on Zoom!
How do you plan on using Brain Breaks in your classroom? Have any ideas to add to the list? Leave them in a comment!