Our students are sitting a LOT these days! Between shortened recess, a reduced number of PE classes, and an increase in time spent taking standardized tests, our students are becoming more sedentary. As teachers, we see the negative toll this takes on our students, such as fidgeting and a lack of focus. Research has even shown that a lack of physical activity can make it harder for our students to pay attention and retain information.
So what do we do as teachers?
Insert -> Brain Break!
Brain Breaks are short, energizing burst of activity to boost blood flow, send oxygen to the brain, and help our students concentrate, resulting in better retention of information. A Brain Break can be as simple as a five minute stretch break or a run next to their desk. HOWEVER, this can get a bit repetitive, so our class has discovered GoNoodle!
GoNoodle is a wonderful site that houses TONS of physical activities students can do depending on your students interests and that amount of time you have to spend during each Brain Break. There are videos from singing, to dancing, to running. Zumba and yoga are also included. It is a FREE site to join, yes I said FREE! I know every teacher loves something free! There are also different "Champs" your class can pick to help them track their progress. The Champs grow and change the more Brain Breaks your class does. My students LOVE seeing the Champs grow and the Champs transformation often leads to some fun chants and excitement in the classroom.
Here is a sneak peak of some of the great Brain Break videos you can find on GoNoodle:
Brain Breaks are refreshing, but some teachers worry that they might cause their class to become too rowdy. To avoid Brain Breaks becoming more of a distraction rather than a useful tool there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Explain the purpose of a Brain Break
- to increase oxygen to our brains helping us concentrate and learn while extending physical activity time
- everyone must participate and put forth their best effort
- quiet count down from ten or a short musical cue or chime
- demonstrate behavior expectations as well as the brain break activity