Every teacher recognizes the signs… students start losing their focus and soon no one can concentrate, including you. First, a boy in the back starts tapping out a song on his desk with his pencil. Then two girls start making faces at each other and giggling. And now, a perpetually fidgety student starts a slow, yet relentless slide out of his chair.
It’s a perfect storm… more academic rigor… less recess time. Or perhaps it is time for a test or complex task… We know that students really need to focus, but what you have is a classroom full of potential distractors that can’t seem to settle and concentrate. Students, especially students with a lot of energy, can struggle in these situations.
This is a perfect time to take a brain break! Brain breaks can serve a variety of purposes: to energize, focus or calm students, while also rewarding them and having a little fun. That said, brain breaks aren’t magic. They take preparation, supervision and structure, just like any classroom activity.
Without a proper set up, these activities can lead to additional chaos… Two boys may get too close to each other while dancing and run into each other, a group of girls might start laughing uncontrollably or students may simply have a hard time returning to their classwork after being distracted by a little fun. The good news is if you can predict it, you can plan for it. Just like any class routine or procedure, brain breaks should be:
Taking time out of your busy day to give kids (and yourself) a much needed break is an excellent way to keep students focused and prepare them for the next activity. Even better is utilizing this time to practice social skills. You’ll not only prevent off-task time with the break, but your students can also practice specific skills to help prevent more problem behaviors. Try a few of the attached activities for your next break!