Brain Break Wednesday- Change of State

Another term for a ‘Brain Break’ is a ‘Change of State.’ When you and/or your students are in a state where it is hard to learn such as bored, tired or disengaged; you can help them change their state to one of excitement, curiosity or intrigue!  You can change someone’s state with a new activity, a new environment, music, media, movement, etc..

A brain break is often a quick and easy way to get your students in a ‘ready to learn’ state! This brain break is integrated with the science concept of ‘changing states.’

  • Change of State! Ask your students stand up and move around the room as  water vapor or steam (gaseous state).
  • Change of State! Now tell you students to move around the room as water (liquid state).
  • Change of State! Tell you students to move around the room as if they are ice (solid state).

How could you adapt this for different ages? What other variations can you think of for this brain break? How can you tell when your students need a change of state?

Brain Break Wednesday: Sing a song!

Music is a great way to mix up the day and help students refocus.  Songs with movements are a double win!

Check out these camp songs that are great for the classroom.

One of my favorite songs is A Roosta Sha. It is simple and involves lots of silly movements.

A Roosta Sha

A roosta sha, a roosta sha, a roosta sha sha-hey
A roosta sha, a roosta sha, a roosta sha sha-hey

The Chorus is repeated, adding a new action each time until you are doing all the actions at once.

  • Thumbs up
  • Knees Together
  • Elbows Back
  • Chin Up
  • Bottom out
  • Head to the side

*You can always add or subtract motions if you want.

Brain Break Wednesday: Ball Toss

Today’s Brain Break is adapted from a Responsive Classroom greeting idea. We used it as a brain break during our last SEL team meeting!

Ball Toss:

1. Have participants stand or sit in a circle.

2. Take a ball (or if you don’t have one, wad up a scratch piece of paper) and tell students you will say someone’s name and toss him/her the ball.

3.  Ask participants to remember who threw them the ball and who they threw the ball to. Toss the ball around the room until everyone has had a turn.

4. Repeat the toss in the exact same order as the first round and don’t say the person’s name before you throw the ball.

Added challenges and variations!

A. When you toss the ball, say something positive about the person you are throwing it to.

B. Repeat the toss in the same order and add a second ball going in the same order.

C. Repeat the toss going in reverse order (throw it to the last person first).

D. Repeat the toss, but say the person’s name backwards (Say “Xela” instead of “Alex”).

E. Start one ball in the original order and a second ball going around the circumference.

F. Start one ball in the original order and a second ball going in reverse order.

What other variations have you tried?

Brain Break Wednesday: Palming

Palming is a calming exercise that helps you refocus your mind. It is a wonderful technique to teach children as it is something they can easily do at their desks.

Start by rubbing your palms together as fast as you can for at least 15 seconds to build up friction and warmth. Now place your palms on your closed eyes and take a deep breath. Keep your palms on your eyes for as long as you like.  You can use this time to envision a calming place or a goal being achieved.

What do you do to help you stay calm and focus your mind?  When would palming be useful in your day?

Brain Break Wednesday – Trading Places

This brain break not only gets students up and moving, it also builds community and helps students identify what they have in common with their classmates as well as what makes them unique.

Trading Places:

1. Have students stand behind their pushed-in chairs.

2. Call out a trait and everyone who has that trait must change places with someone else (students who do not have the trait stay where they are). Examples: “Everyone with a brother.” “Everyone who ate cereal for breakfast.” Everyone who is wearing stripes.” 

3. Have students take turns being the leader!

You can also add a literature component to this brain break by reading the book “Same, Same but Different” by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw.

Brain Break Wednesday – Activity Sticks!

Happy Wednesday!

This brain break idea was originally posted on the Austin ISD’s new Brain Break Pinterest Board.

The idea comes from the Keep Calm and Teach On blog. This teacher put quick activities, like jumping jacks and push ups, on popsicle sticks that she can pull from when her students need a movement brain break.

What a simple and effective resource to create! Read more about this idea in her original post.

You can also get a free download of this resource on her Teachers Pay Teachers site.

Have you used this idea before? What did you think?