Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning and using brain breaks. MOVE: Students should be encouraged to stand up and move about the classroom during brain breaks. The physical aspect is extremely important.
We have all seen it happen. After being on-task for a lengthy period of time, students’ attention starts to fade. A student, who was paying attention mere moments ago, has drifted off to somewhere far, far away from your lesson. Taking a nap is likely not part of your schedule, so how can we help student recharge? Erin Jensen (2002) suggests that teachers should incorporate brain breaks. Brain breaks are physical activities, typically lasting 30 seconds to 2 minutes, that help students refocus. It is suggested that teachers lead the class in a brain break every 25-30 minutes of instruction (Sladkey, 2009). Jensen’s brain research suggests that movement causes positive learning states, particularly for students with learning differences (1998).
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning and using brain breaks.
1) MOVE: Students should be encouraged to stand up and move about the classroom during brain breaks. The physical aspect is extremely important.
2) THIS IS NOT RECESS: Though movement is important during brain breaks, teachers should not allow running, playing tag, or other high-energy activities.
3) TIMING: Keep the activities under 3 minutes in length. Promptly return to your lesson.
4) OFF-TOPIC: The brain break activity does not have to correspond to the lesson from which you are taking a break.
5) ACCOMODATIONS: Feel free to provide physical assistance, as necessary, to your students. The value is in movement, not necessarily independent movement.
Check out the following links for some great brain break activities. (broken link) http://www.emc.cmich.edu/brainbreaks/TOC.htm(broken link) ttp://www.emc.cmich.edu/BrainBreaks/2005/TOC.htm
Once you have taken a break and are ready to get back to teaching, don’t forget to check out all of our great ASOL-based video segments at LivingwiththeASOLs!
Jensen, E. (1998). Teaching with the brain in mind. Alexandria: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
Jensen, E. (2000). Moving with the brain in mind. Educational Leadership, 58(3), 34-37. Sladkey, D. (2009). Energizing brain breaks. Naperville: Energizing Brain Breaks.