Every hour my watch goes off to remind me to get up and move. It frustrates me to know it when it happens because I can’t help but feel guilty. Have I really been sitting for an hour straight? Time passes by so quickly, especially when I finally feel like I’m being productive. Unfortunately, kids don’t have an external timer that lets them know their bodies need movement. They have internal one, and instead of a gentle ding, it goes off quite frequently by displaying unwanted behaviors. Its said that the best offense is a good defense so let me tell you about the power of movement brain breaks.
How often do you need to do them?
There are many different schools of thought but Ill share with you the rule that my experience has taught me. If you teach kinder or have a class with ADD/ ADHD students, I’d shoot for every 15 minutes. I know, that seems incredibly often, and you are wondering how you’ll get anything done. Most of these break are only for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, which is less time then you’ll spend dealing with the consequences of not doing them. For every year after that you can add 10 more minutes, so 1st graders go every 25 minutes, 2nd graders every 35 minutes, 3rd graders every 45 minutes, etc until you reach an hour. If you’re not supposed to sit for a whole hour then your students shouldn’t either.
How To Do Movement Brain Breaks
This is the hugely simple part. Really. As long as they are moving their bodies, it counts. There are many options available but I’ll share some of my favorite here. Full disclosure, these are geared toward younger kids and special education classes. If you are looking for higher level kids then stayed tuned because Ill be writing that post soon. I’m going to suggest that you make “Movement Master” a class job/reward. With any of the options I offer below, you’ll need someone to choose what you are going to do next. This is the Movement Masters job, otherwise you’re going to have a whole bunch of kids yelling and wanting to vote, etc taking up way more time then these are meant to.
Let me tell you all about the joy that is GoNoodle.com ! It is a game changer. They have breaks for everyone and for anywhere from 1 minute to a full indoor recess. You can choose to do dances, call back songs, and virtual moving games. A lot of it even incorporates content. Mic Drop! If you are hybrid, virtual then you just screen share and viola!
Another easy option is to get these dice that tell you how many times and what activity the kids will do. If you go this route then you don’t necessarily need a Movement Master class job. I usually just choose the student who has been having good behavior ( hello positive reinforcement) and allow them to roll the dice.
You can get them from Amazon at this link.
If you like the idea of the dice but want to make your own movements options then there is always these that let you change it as much and as often as you want with whichever breaks you like best.
You can get this Amazon at this link.
Trusting Ole Paper List
If you are looking for something a little more straightforward, I have a simple postcard that offers movement brain break options. Kids will get so use to these that you can just say the animal and they will automatically do the movement but be sure you have a call to attention ready. I suggest something loud like a bell or an alarm on your phone because they will make the noises to go with it. With this option, your online students will just do the same animal as the rest of the class until you call time.
Whatever you chose, be it one or all 3, I guarantee that it will bring more joy into your classroom. These give not only your students a chance to move around and focus better but also give you the opportunity to do the same. Few things bring you closer to your kids then acting like a monkey with them. The important part is that you (and your students) have fun because trust when I say that our job should be enjoyable.