Monday, March 17, 2014

brain breaks at school

Being new at my school this year I'm part of a newbies group.  It's full of the young pups and a few of us old gals.   One of our assignments is to participate in professional discussions via group emails.  We've been sharing articles and research journals and websites and all kinds of good stuff.  This week was my week and I talked about 'brain breaks.'  I figured as long as I had it typed up I might as well share here too.  Here's what I shared...
 
I am sharing a few articles, but also a neat website I found.  I have been incorporating a few brain breaks into my week, the past few weeks.  I have a few long stretches on particular days and have found that by taking out 2-3 minutes for a break, I can increase productivity and attention for the next task.  I’ve been seeing ‘brain breaks’ on pinterest all year, but thought they were a little silly and a waste of instructional time, but I’ve changed my mind!
 
First, here’s some research concerning ‘brain breaks,' which is where the following quotes come from. 
 
“Brain Breaks are a quick and effective way of changing or focusing the physical and mental state of the learners in your group. They are also a useful tool for students to use to help activate, energize and stimulate their brains.   Research indicates that brain breaks also improve students’ concentration and relieve stress.”
 
“Students should have a kinesthetic brain break every 25-30 minutes. Brain break activities do take about 1-3 minutes of class time to complete; however, the efficiency of our students goes up when brain breaks are incorporated.”

Here is a lengthy (84 page) research study on the effectiveness of brain breaks.  It does have an easy to read summary in the first few pages.

I have some of Eric Jensen's books on my summer reading list.  They address learning and the brain.  I love a good nonfiction!
 
Here’s the website I mentioned.  It's called GoNoodle.
 
You do have to sign up, but it’s a free service.  There are many, many breaks, videos, dancing, songs, wii style track games, yoga etc.  It has calming features as well as fun energy exuding activities.  My students look forward to these and seem to appreciate the release of these brain breaks.  There is a feature where you have a character and they character earns minutes, but I have not needed that to motivate them. It has items that would interest all ages.
 
-Speaking of brain breaks... Spring break is next week!!!!

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