Do you have a class that seems jittery, unfocused, inefficient, and with some behavior problems that are difficult to deal with? A simple solution to many of these issues for a large proportion of students is brain breaks.
Imagine working non-stop, learning new things all day, and trying to retain it all without much of a break in between. It’s probably fair enough to say that your focus will start to dwindle as the day goes on, the ability to absorb information will fade, and the quality of work will reduce. Hence, a not so calm and unfocused classroom will result too.
Whether an adult or child, brain breaks are crucial to improving efficiency in work and learning. The benefits of a proper brain break are huge!
Being a child in today’s society is even more challenging due to the many demands from social media, the internet, computer games, etc. Those extra demands should not be considered brain breaks but rather ‘brain drain.’ With a decrease in actual physical time playing outdoors, away from media devices and technology, children are not experiencing ‘quality down-time.’ Not only is this influencing physical health, but also, the child’s mental health and ability to learn. Children need time to step away from mentally stimulating activities and get their bodies moving.
What should a brain break involve?
A successful brain break must enable the student to get up and move away from their desk. This will improve the amount of oxygen getting into their blood, make them calmer, and renew their mental energy. The benefit of the physical exercise allows the pupils to stop, absorb the information that they have been taught, form questions, and process knowledge and skills.
How to implement brain breaks in the classroom?
During a typical school day, it would be ideal to have multiple short lessons split up with brain breaks of about two-five minutes in between. With a shorter lesson, you have a better chance for students to retain skills taught. Following it up with a brain break before starting the next lesson, will enhance students’ abilities to absorb content taught, plus get them ready to focus on the next lesson.
It is extremely important to explain to pupils why they need a break, helping them understand their efficiency will increase after the break. If there are strict time limits, and behavior expectations set before the break, the pupils will understand how to behave and reap the benefits of the break. Regular breaks set into the work will enable children to form a routine to help their learning.
Why should I use brain breaks in the classroom?
Not only do brain breaks help students absorb what they are taught, but there is the added benefit of improving mental concentration too. This will overall have a large impact on student achievement and motivation, which in turn will also help to build their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Because brain breaks allow the child an opportunity to step away from learning and do something different, children are able to relax mentally from the attack of information. The bonus benefit of this is reduced stress and anxiety – something that is increasingly on the rise!
Since the benefits are high, and the time taken to do them is not much, brain breaks are essential when learning. Not just for students’ psychological needs, but also to improve their emotional state, their physical needs, learning retention, their behavior, and concentration.
So, are you looking for some brain break ideas to use in the classroom? Check out next week’s post for some ideas. In the meantime, the below are some fun seasonal and holiday-themed posts with a collection of brain break movement videos your class might enjoy:
- Halloween Brain Breaks
- Christmas Brain Breaks
- Winter Brain Breaks
- Valentine's Day Brain Breaks
- St Patrick's Day Brain Breaks
- Easter Brain Breaks
A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.
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