Brain Breaks

Student Contributor: M. Smith
Brain Breaks are short mental pauses lasting no longer than 2 minutes that are designed to facilitate focus and attentiveness. For a variety of reasons including long lessons, impending holidays, or upcoming tests, students can collectively begin to lose that focus. Brain Breaks are intended to be fun and stimulating by offering a sporadic change from the norm (and sometimes mundane).

It is important as a teacher to be aware of a number of factors within the classroom that can have a bearing on the attentiveness of the students. For example, if students are just coming back from an extended weekend or holiday, they may be experiencing some tiredness and lack motivation and focus. Adversely, if they are gearing up to enter an extended weekend or holiday, they will have elevated energy levels and will be in need of an outlet to release some of this gathered fervor. However, aside from this, the classroom as a whole may feel a general lag when a lesson may be a little long and/ or challenging- even if it is imperative to covering specific standards. Even if the teacher themselves are feeling low in energy and having an off day, Brain Breaks can be a valuable tool to re-energize the community of the classroom. This exercise is a spontaneous and unplanned way to reinvigorate the students and to ensure that they are all on an even playing field. So, be sure to have a few of these in your bag of tricks.

This is clearly a Supportive Phase of management. When it has been decided that the classroom is beginning to lose focus, it is up to the teacher in this situation to get the students out of their seats and to put academic learning aside for a very brief time to regroup the collective. By doing so, take note that it is also a roundabout way of offering a corrective approach to the learning environment of the students. It should also be noted that as a community, or even a family, the students and teacher’s emotions are impressionable on each other. Students may find that when Brain Breaks are an option to getting out of these weary ruts, they may even offer to the teacher that it might be a good time in the lesson to take one of these valuable sidesteps to get the blood and oxygen flowing to the brain and to share some laughs and joy together. But, although this is available to classrooms of both student-directed and collaborative, having an understanding leader in a teacher-directed classroom is wonderful and can buy in to these activities as it leads to better-focused and attentive students for academic learning.

More Information –
Tool Source: Bobe, Gerd, Perera, T., Frei, S., & Frei, B. (2014). Brain Breaks: Physical Activity in the Classroom for Elementary School Children. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 46(4), S141.

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