Last week I discovered a new brain break by accident and it has quickly become my favorite brain break. I like it because it gets EVERYONE moving, multiple times, and the students have an opportunity to take ownership in the brain break by adding their own personal touch to it.
This brain break is so simple and quick that you'll wonder why you didn't think of it before. (*)
(My name for it.)
1. All students and teacher stand up.
2. Teacher decides on which order the students will participate and informs students of the order. The purpose for choosing an order is so the activity moves smoothly, which makes it more fun.
(In my class, there are two semi-circles so I started with the student in the back semi-circle on the left hand side of my class and the students went in order until the end of that semi-circle and then the student in the front semi-circle on the right hand side of the class continued, so it made a complete "circle".)
3. The first person does an action and then the entire class repeats it in unison. The next person does an action and the rest of the class repeats it in unison. The third person does an action and the rest of the class repeats it in unison.
That's it - easy, peasy. It will take no more than 2 minutes; probably less than 1 minute, but it will energize the kids and give their brains a break.
- clap your hands 2x
- snap fingers 1x, clap hands 1x, snap fingers 1x
- jump 2x
- spin in a circle
- make a popping noise with mouth
- pat legs with hand 2x; snap 2x
- the genie nod
- clap hands 1x over your head
- cross arms and tap shoulders 2x
basically any motion that the students think of
If I remember, I'll ask one of my classes if I can videotape it and then add the clip here.
*As far as I know, this idea is not one that I heard from someone or read on a blog; it simply came to me right at the moment that I told students to stand up for a different brain break that I had planned (read about the original brain break plan at the end of the post). When the idea came to me, I dropped my original plan and went with it. Before I wrote this post, I searched to see if maybe I had read it online and that's why the idea came to me but I did not find it anywhere.
What I DID find, are many posts from World Language teachers about brain breaks from the last four years. Obviously, many teachers have discovered the benefits of brain breaks, for the students AND for the teacher, and want to share their experiences with others.
For loads of FREE brain breaks activities, click on the links below. (I noticed that there are some vendors on TPT that are selling brain break materials, but seriously, the bloggers listed below are freely sharing lists of brain break activities which means you can spend your money on other materials needed for the classroom.)
- An OWL Adventure - Nonverbal Activities (August 2014)
- Martina Bex - 20 Brain Breaks (August 2014)
- Maris Hawkins - 12 Brain Breaks (August 2015)
- Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell - Musicuetos - 7 Brain Breaks (October 2015)
- Secondary Spanish Space - 10, 5-Minute Brain Breaks (January 2017)
- La Maestra Loca - MANY posts on Brain Breaks (August 2016 thru Sept 2017)
And..check Mis Clases Locas blog for links to some additional Brain Break posts that may not be included in the above list.
My original planned brain break:
My planned brain break that was replaced by the CopyCAT, is also fun for the students, but it requires a little more coordination. For this brain break, I do not know if this one has a name either, I started with a simple beat - clap 3 times and pause for 1 beat.
clap - clap - clap - rest
Then I called a students' name and that student had to add a new sound/action to the existing rhythm.
clap - clap - clap - chi (sound that fell on the 4th beat)
Continue to call on other students to add sounds/actions to the current rhythm.
Before calling on new students, give everyone a chance to fall into the rhythm with the new addition.
It can get tricky and challenging. My classes made it to 4 or 5 new additions before we started losing students, or me, because it required more concentration. Why not give it a try?