Movement breaks are brief intervals that enable all students to move their bodies and help teachers and tutors to engage learners in physical ways. Chants, poems, greetings and activities can be used as movement breaks throughout the day. Intersperse quick movement breaks into the day to bring oxygen up to students' brains and refuel them for learning. Often times, squirming, calling out, staring out the window, whispering to a neighbor, and other such minor misbehavior are clear signals that students need to get up and move to refocus!
How do movement breaks help students?
Quick, frequent breaks not only enable students to stay focused on learning—they can even increase learning. By using movement breaks at the right time, students maximize their attention and stay on task. That's why I often lead a rousing game of "Double This Double That" (see you tube video) during Writing or a quick round of "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" during assessments.
How do movement breaks help teachers and tutors?
In addition to refocusing attention, these breaks can help students and tutors connect on a different level, if only for a minute. Engaging in a fun activity helps the dynamic of the classroom changes subtly. It’s fun to share a smile, laughter and a silly moment together. Finally, movement breaks help to release stress and wipe the slate clean.
Movement breaks benefit both you and your students. Using them at the right time helps increase student focus, decrease stress, and create opportunities for community building and fun. Plan to use movement breaks more often this week—and consider trying one during a time in the session when you haven't before.
Movement Based Ideas to Try
- Cross Crawl- As you walk or march on the spot, touch your right knew with your left hand. Then touch your left knee with your right hand.
- Hook ups- Cross your legs. Extend your arms, cross them over at your wrists, link up fingers and bring your hands upwards to your chest. Close your eyes, hold and focus on your breathing. Helps us to relax, focus and concentrate.
- Figure Eights- Point your finger and draw huge figure eights sideways in the air. Make sure you cross over both sides of your body and take turns with both hands. Make sure the left side of our brain is connecting with the right side of our body and vice versa.
- The Rocker- Sit on a comfortable yet firm ground, lean back onto your arms and bring up bent knees. Cross your ankles. Gently rock making circular motions. This movement increases the ability to focus.
- Hot or Cold game
- Thumb wars
Links to Check Out
Musical and Rhythmic Videos
- Go Bananas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytnbGpRmOqE
- Dum Dum Dah Dah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RcR1WsxYpA
- Shark Attack:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmC6Qyjk8cw
- Double This, Double That: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4ea2GmBqFo
- Mosquito: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY-KjQ0ebAo
- Dance Videos- Sid Shuffle, Just Dance: http://teachtrainlove.com/20-brain-break-clips-fight-the-fidgeting/