Wednesday, July 31, 2013

FREEBIE Brainbreak!

We have all been there before as adults, where you have been sitting an hour, maybe more, listening to a speaker and feel yourself getting sleepy, your brain starting to wander. You begin to think about what color you want to paint your office... "Perhaps that lagoon blue, no the summer sky blue would be better. What would go with the lamp shade the best? Yes, definitely the summer sky blue. I could really go for some breakfast right now. Chocolate chip pancakes, with maple syrup, yum. Oh, and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice..." And then there are those things on your to do list that you would really like to get done. What did the presenter just say??

We should not be shocked then that the same is true of our students when they sit for a while. They begin to lose steam. I actually went to this workshop on incorporating movement into learning, and it was fascinating to learn about the physical changes that take place in our bodies such as chemical releases when we have been sitting for a period of time. Your body is literally telling you to start relaxing and move towards sleep. The opportunity to move and reenergize is necessary then for high-focused learning, but how do we incorporate brain breaks into a day that is also very much an environment of “time on task?” I believe that “time on task” happens most effectively when there IS an opportunity for physical activity.

Brain breaks thus are great when they allow your students to get out energy AND are educational. That is exactly why I created "Line 'Em Up!" This brain break takes 3-5 minutes, and it is great because it is engaging and educational while giving the students an opportunity to move around and refresh for our next focused activity. It also gives the students an opportunity to work together as a team and collaborate positively. This is a game I like to play during the first week of school to establish brain break procedures as well as help build a strong classroom community. By the middle of the year, students know the drill of the game and look forward to figuring out what the pattern will be! It helps them practice counting skills and recognizing numerical patterns.

Here's how it works:

Goal: The goal of the game is for the students to line themselves up from least to greatest in a straight line without talking! Then, they see if they can figure out the pattern. 

  1. Explain the goal of the game to your class and designate a particular spot in the classroom where students will line up to form their line from least to greatest. Make sure to establish where the lowest number should line up versus where the highest number should be. If this is the first time playing ”Line 'Em Up” model how to communicate with someone about movement without talking. Once the game has been played, review the rules as needed.
  2. Pass out 1 card to each student. The students can look at their card but are to keep the number side hidden until the “Line 'Em Up” process actually starts!
  3. Once all the cards are passed out, students place their card on their forehead with the number side showing. Then, students stand up and walk around the room looking at the other cards on their classmates’ foreheads.
  4. Students must form a line in order from least to greatest. Once the line is established, students have to figure out the pattern.
  5. Call on a student to identify the pattern.
That's it! To download your FREE copy of Line 'Em Up! with 15 different card sets, click on the link below.

Now time to go make something to eat, all that breakfast food talk got me thinking about pancakes! :)

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