Tips to Tame 'Em: Week 7: Brain Breaks and Movement Opportunities

My bad. I let the craziness of my past week take over my life. But I guess it's a good thing. Although I love blogging, this past week was spent doing some PD for school, moving apartments, seeing my friend marry the love of her life, and buying a new car- all of these things are exciting and what summer is all about. So although I'm about 5 days late, here is week 7 of my Back to School Series:

This week (er... last week's I guess??) was all about

This past year, my school did a book study about culturally responsive teaching. It was really exciting to see my classroom climate change with these new(er) ideas. Why did I like it so much??
1) My students were having more fun and were more engaged in our content, which made my job easier.
2) I still had control over my class, but found ways to incorporate more movement and fun throughout our day.

It was a win-win for everyone and I'm excited to continue to explore other ways to make my room more culturally responsive to my students.

One way to do that is through movement. Kids are meant to move. Duh. And ya know, school often times doesn't allow this. So I started to think of ways that I could incorporate movement throughout our learning to allow them to move, but for our learning to continue. I'm sharing 3 different ways (these are just some of my 'go-tos' but I have other tricks in my bag as well) I like to add movement into our day.

In one of my previous Tips to Tame 'Em posts, I showed how I promoted engagement in whole group lessons with whiteboards. Once students did the work on the whiteboard, comes our walk and talk time. I say, "Walk and Talk," and that's the cue to get up with their whiteboard and start roving around the room. To make it even more fun, I make music with my mouth- sometimes a banjo, sometimes a harp, sometimes a trumpet- depends on my mood. The kids bop around the room with their board until they hear me say, "Stop and Chat." At that time, they stop immediately and find someone near to them to "teach." We practice A LOT on what to do if we don't have a partner, how to find someone near you quickly, etc. They then take turns sharing how they solved the problem. They know to be done when I say, "Thank your partner." They respond, "Thank you," and we either repeat so that they can share with another person or we come up to the carpet. I love this one for many reasons:
1) It's pretty low risk for students.
2) They are up and moving.
3) They are talking about their thinking and processes with others.
4) I can listen in on certain groups to gain some insight into their thinking.

I'm sure by now you've heard about Go Noodle. I love it! Our school uses a curriculum called Health Teacher for health so we get Go Noodle as a part of that curriculum. We get the more advanced version and I have found some awesome brain breaks.

My kids last year loved the track and field events. They weren't academic based, but they provide the short bursts of movements we needed. We did them before our track and field day so that they learned "proper" technique and got to "practice." They loved it!

Another favorite of my students last year (and mine) was Word Jams. Go Noodle has a sample version on their You Tube Channel. You can check it out here!

When you set up your account, you can choose your grade level. I found the words to be just enough of a challenge for my 3rd graders (the sample video seems to be for more primary grades). The actions tied to the vocab really made the words stick. We used this as a transition from our content time (science, art, social studies, health) into our word work time. Students started using these words in their writing and to describe characters. It was awesome to see the transfer!

There are many other brain breaks on Go Noodle and if you haven't checked out what all the fuss is about, I think you should!

This little diddy was my go-to during test prep. To make it more interesting, we did "Yup, that's me." When they had to choose an answer to a multiple choice question, I would call out the letter (A, B, C, D). If they thought A was the answer, they would pop up like a frog and say, "Yup that's me!" And so on. This was a great formative for me to see who was thinking what in a short time frame.

This is a high risk level for students though. One way to ease the risk is I have students collaborate on their thinking and decide in partnerships or small groups so at least they will be with a group of students who share the same answer.

This is great too though when you need a quick morning share for morning meeting. I just list a few "favorites" and if they can agree with that statement, they pop up and say, "Yup, that's me." For example: My favorite dessert is cake. If that is true for you, you'd pop up like a frog and say, "Yup, that's me!" It's just enough of a burst of energy to get them moving.

Well, those are 3 ways I integrate movement into my day! Now it's your turn!

You have 2 options

1) Respond to the question in the comments section
2) Grab the buttons and link up with a longer post!

No need to link up on Tuesday! You can do it any day of the week until the next Tips to Tame 'Em comes out! (I think I set a very good example of that rule with this late post).

Here's this week's question:

We have 2 weeks left of my little series. Week 8 is up next!


1 comment

  1. I'm very guilty of not having my kids move around very much, and they soooo need it. I get stuck in my rut of wanting calm and quiet. I'm making an effort this year for more collaborative group work and moving around. (like I have a choice anyways with CCSS--ha!)
    What's next week's tip gonna be about? I'd like to actually link up with you at some point. : )

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