Winter break is in our sights! It is ALMOST here. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break are brutal. If your students are like ours, they are hyper, antsy, and dying to have a few weeks off. Little do the students know, teachers are more anxious and excited than they will ever be! Our couch, Netflix, and wine are calling our name!! The struggle during these next few weeks is holding students’ attention. We have found offering brain breaks during a lesson can be a huge help. Sometimes getting a little energy out or focusing on something else can make a big difference. These brain breaks can also offer differentiation for your lesson if you slip a bit of material in. Do NOT just have class material in these activities. They are brain BREAKS, so we like to make half or more about pop culture, school, or the community. Here are a few ideas for Pre-Break Brain Breaks for your classroom:
Would You Rather?
These can be made really fun. The more random the better. It is important that students give a reason why, not just the answer. This can really turn into a fun discussion. The funny ones can really get students to loosen up and build relationships. What character would your student rather be in this week’s Shakespeare play? Would your student rather suffer from trench foot or mustard gas? Would you rather put a locker room Band-Aid or “under the desk” gum in their mouth? You get the idea!
Backpack Scavenger Hunt
The hoarder and full backpack kid usually takes home a “W” with this game. Create a list of five items and the first student to have all five items on their desk wins. We like to use ideas such as an item with the school logo on it, homework assignment from last week, notebook, three pencils, etc… If you use this game often, it can definitely help students always have certain items on hand. (wink, wink)
This website is perfect for elementary and middle school. They have a mix of straight up brain breaks (no content), stretches, and songs about content that have dance moves and there is a video for each one. If YOUR brain needs a break, just use this site. It’s easy and simple.
This activity is a great way to sneak vocabulary terms from the unit on top of funny ideas. This can be an almost entirely student led review activity. Based on your class size, you might want to have several games going at once. Concerned kids won’t pay attention? You can make it a head to head competition.
You will be surprised that this brain break game works for all grade levels. I think this brain break activity works really well for ELA for characters, Social Studies for famous people, and P.E./Health for types of activities or sports. Then add famous people, movies, songs, and even childhood books.
This brain break is the perfect way to see if students can not only remember, but recreate illustrations they see in the textbook and during instruction. We really like this one for science when you are going over anatomy of people or plants. For outside material, we like to use company logos, sport teams, animals, famous buildings, and even the infamous fidget spinner.
The end of November and December before break is BRUTAL, so why not shake class up with these brain breaks? It is important for a true brain break that you use no more than half classroom material. Students lose interest if everything pertains to class. Throw them off with silly and funny ideas. We really like to include lots of pop culture!