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

(Chorus)
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: Brain Yoga

On a recent visit to Sims Elementary in AustinISD, I saw a teacher doing “Brain Yoga” with her students.

Brain Yoga

I hadn’t heard of brain yoga before so I did a little investigating.  The concept comes from a book called SuperBrain Yoga by Choa Kok Sui. The idea is to harness yoga techniques to increase students’ ability to focus and learn.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Hold your right earlobe with the index finger and thumb of your left hand. Make sure that the thumb is facing away from you. (Or touch your left hand to your right shoulder.)
  2. Hold your left earlobe with the index finger and thumb of your right hand. Once again, make sure that your thumb is facing away from you. (Or touch your right hand to your left shoulder.)
  3. Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
  4. Inhale through your nose, and slowly lower yourself into a squatting position.
  5. Exhale as you slowly stand back up.

Would this work in your classroom? Share your thoughts below!

Brain Break Wednesday: Greeting Frenzy!

Our brain break today is a great one to build community at the beginning of the year!

It’s called Greeting Frenzy and here’s how you do it:

1. Tell your class they are going to try to warmly greet as many people as possible in 2 minutes.

2. Model with a student what a “warm greeting” looks and sounds like (firm handshake, looking in the eye, smile, and say “hello” or “good morning/ afternoon”).

3. Set the timer for 2 minutes and watch as the room fills with positive energy as students start to build relationships.

Debrief- asks your students:

1. How did it feel to be greeted warmly?

2. How did it feel to greet others?

3. How can you apply what you just felt to this classroom and your school in the future?

Photo Credit: Yonatan Aljadeff

Photo Credit: Yonatan Aljadeff

Share in the comments about how this worked in your classroom!

Brain Breaks Are Back! Rock, Paper, Scissor- SEL Style

Welcome to the 2013-2014 SEL Department Wednesday Brain Break Series!  This is a place to share and learn about quick energizers and brain breaks that you can use in your classrooms TODAY!

We are starting off with one that was very popular during trainings this summer.  It is Whole Group Rock, Paper, Scissors. This was adapted from Playworks version found here.

This brain break is fast, fun, and a great team builder!

Source: Playworks Louisana

Source: Playworks Louisana

Here are the rules:

1. Review how to play rock, paper, scissor with your class

2. Have students pair up and play one round of rock paper scissors.

3. Whoever wins raises their hands in the air to find another winner. Whoever doesn’t win becomes the winner’s cheerleader and supports them in the next round.  Every time there is a new winner, the cheerleaders from the loser’s side join the cheerleaders on the winner’s side to support the new winner.

4. Continue to play until there are only two people left and everyone else is cheering for one of the two.

5. Give a round of applause for the winner and sit down.

Debrief- asks your students:

1. How did it feel to lose? How did it feel to lose and then become the winner’s cheerleader?

2. If you won, how did it feel to have a cheerleader supporting you?

3. How can you apply the rules of this game to this classroom and your friendships in general?

Here is a video of this brain break in action!

Share in the comments about how this worked in your classroom!