9 Ways to Bring out the Energy in Students: Brain Breaks
We can use breaks for the brain and focus on positively impacting our emotional states and learning. They refocus our neural circuitry with either stimulating or quieting practices that generate increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, where problem solving and emotional regulation occur.
What are Brain Breaks?
A brain break is a short period of time when we change up the dull routine of incoming information that arrives via predictable sources. Our brains are wired for novelty. We know this because we pay attention to every stimulus in our environment that feels threatening or out of the ordinary. This has always been an advantage. In fact, our survival as a species depended on this aspect of brain development.
Consider trying these activities with students in class :
1. Bag of Junks
Fill a bag with simple household object one would usually find in a junk drawer. A can opener, pair of shoelaces, thread roll, few coins, etc. Now pick out any object, or let a volunteer do it, and ask students to come up with two ways to use this object differently. They can write or draw their responses. Once they are done, give them a chance to show and compare their answers with the class.
2. Squiggly Line story
On a blank sheet of paper, or on the whiteboard, draw one squiggly line. Give students one minute to turn this line into a design or a drawing. Everyone can do it in their papers and a volunteer can do it on the board.
3. The Other Side
Movement is crucial in learning, especially in a break. Have students stand and blink with their right eye while snapping the fingers of the left hand. Repeat with left eye and right hand. Students can also face their partner and tap the right foot once, left foot twice, and right foot three times.
Sing the alphabet with names of objects starting with the letter rather than the letter itself.
5. Other Languages
Teach sign language or make up a spoken language. In pairs, student can take turns in speaking or interpreting this new language for 30 seconds each. This can be a fun way for a break and to refresh our minds.
6. Mental Math
Give a set of three instructions, counting the sequence to a partner for 30 seconds. Example: Count by two until 20, then count by three until 50, finishing with seven until 80. Switch and give the other partner another set of numbers to count.
7. Picture in the Air
Give a student a category such as foods, places, or any other and have them draw a picture in the air of an object in that category. The other students can try to guess the object. It can also become a 5 minute competition between groups of students in a class.
8. Let us make a Story
A student or a teacher can begin to tell a story with a few lines. Then the next student has to continue that story by saying a few more lines, and so on. This activity would definitely cheer them up.
9. Rock Paper Scissor ... Math!
With the traditional game, add the last call-out as "math." With that call, students lay out one, two, three, or four fingers in the palm of their hand. The best of three wins.
When we take a brain break, it refreshes our thinking and helps us discover another solution to a problem or see a situation through a different lens. During these few minutes, the brain moves away from learning, memorizing, and problem solving. After that, the brain is ready to refocus and continue with the task at hand in a better way. The brain break actually helps to nurture and process new information.
This article has excerpts from Edutopia site. Read the original article here.