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!

“The time to be awesome is now.”

As teacher’s come back to campuses in Austin, we want everyone to get pumped up and inspired for an amazing year!  Share these videos with friends, teachers, students, and anyone else who needs a little encouragement.

A pep talk from the Kid President:

Ten year old, Dalton Sherman, asks: “Do you believe in me?” to all of Dallas ISD.

Do you believe in you? We here at the department sure do!

Brain Break Wednesday: Human Rain Storm

On this rainy Wednesday, let’s all model ourselves after the sky and make it rain! This brain break encourages everyone to work together and the effect is often very calming.

RainstormSource: http://www.allwalls.net/landscapes-nature-rain-storm/

The leader puts the students in a circle. Say: “We’re going to create a rain storm. I’m going to walk around the circle and I want you to do what I do to make the sounds. You keep doing it until I get back to you with the next sound.”

Start with one student – your “Point Man or Point Woman” who will start each new sound with you. Tell everyone “Do what I do when I come to you, and keep doing it until I come back around to you. Don’t start the new sound until I come back to you.”

The leader starts and they follow these activities as storm gathers, then subtract activities as storm leaves:

The Storm Gathers!
1. Rub your hands together – wind rustling
2. Snap your fingers – raindrops
3. Hit your thighs with your hands – thunder and rain
4. Stomp your feet while you’re hitting your thighs – heavy thunder and heavier rain.

Then the storm quiets
1. Just hit thighs
2. Just snap your fingers
3. Just rub your hands together.
4. Then all stop one at a time because the storm is over

*Adapted from: http://cefkids.com/Game-Noah-CreatingARainStorm.pdf

What are your favorite brain breaks? Feel free to share in the comment section.

Brain Break Wednesday: Stress Management Technique

Our brain break this week comes from a stress management training by Keeth Matheny. Enjoy!

1. Smile   smile

2. Relax jaw, neck, and shoulders

3. Take a deep breath in, then exhale and feel a wave of warmth and heaviness float down your body

4. Check in with your self-talk (what you are saying to yourself)

5. Think to yourself: “I am calm and positive.”

What are your favorite brain breaks? Feel free to share in the comment section.