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20 Three-Minute Brain Breaks

20 Three-Minute Brain Breaks
Wednesday's guest post about why kids need to move from pediatric occupational therapist Loren Shlaes was so popular that I decided to follow it up with a list of Brain Breaks you can use with your students. These are great to use anytime your students are feeling restless and are struggling to pay attention. Most of these will only take a few minutes, and then you can get back to the lesson with your students ready to focus on the lesson at hand.5-4-3-2-1. In this simple game, students stand up and the teacher (or leader) has them do five different movements in descending order. For example the teacher would say: "Do fivejumping jacks, spin around four times, hop on one foot threetimes, walk all the way around the classroom two times, give your neighbor one high-five (pausing in between each task for students to do it).Trading Places Have students stand behind their pushed-in chairs. Please note that I did not come up with all of these out of my own head. Related:  Classroom Hacks

Energizing Brain Breaks: Toe Tapping Energizing Brain Break Toe Tapping 1. Stand Up.2. Face your partner.3. Both you and your partner put out your right leg and tap your right feet together 1 time and say "1" out loud.4. Tap your left feet together 3 times and say "3" out loud.5. Tap your right feet together 2 times and say "2" out loud.6. WHAT ARE ENERGIZING BRAIN BREAKS?

5 Tips for keeping kids active throughout the day | Teacher's Notebook Blog It doesn’t take many weeks into the school year before you start noticing a change in your students. Gone is the excitement generated at the beginning of the school year when learning is fresh. Now, students are struggling to stay on task. To boost engagement, give your learners ways to stay active throughout the day. According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, being more physically active offers many benefits to classroom children. Take brain breaks Every 30 minutes or so, aim for movement in your classroom. Ditch the chair The traditional classroom chair may be doing more harm than good for your students. Incorporate music and storytelling Add music to your classroom, and give kids permission to take “dance breaks” when certain songs play. Storytelling is another way to get kids moving. Active review games Are you reviewing concepts or math facts with your kids regularly? Consider “Pop Goes the Answer.” Send them outside About the author:

Why Kids Need to Move, Touch and Experience to Learn When students use their bodies in the learning process, it can have a big effect, even if it seems silly or unconnected to the learning goal at hand. Researchers have found that when students use their bodies while doing mathematical storytelling (like with word problems, for example), it changes the way they think about math. “We understand language in a richer, fuller way if we can connect it to the actions we perform,” said Sian Beilock, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. Consider this word problem: Two hippos and two alligators are at the zoo. In an experiment on third graders, students were divided into two groups. The answer: “Kids who acted out the story did better on this problem,” Beilock said. “What was important was matching the words with specific action; that led to enhanced learning,” Beilock said. This area of study, called “embodied learning,” is not new to many educators. Increasingly scientists are proving Montessori right.

Waking the Brain with Morning Stretches You might remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about my take away from the Kagan training that I attended and how I was planning to Refocus Our Classroom. One of the big ideas that I touched on was waking up the brain through big muscle movement. So this month for the Bright Ideas link up I am sharing how it is going. Each morning, after our class meeting, we do a series of stretches. To perform this stretch you simply start by reaching your right hand across the midline of your body as far left as you can while simultaneously stepping your right foot back. Then you repeat with the left side and say, "Cookies!" The first time we did this I chose milk and cookies, but now each time we name two items to say. I have found that by doing this each morning it helps all of us to wake up and be in a better mood to start our learning! For more amazing ideas, from fantastic bloggers check out the linky below.

Icebreakers that Rock We’re coming up fast on the beginning of another school year. That means a new batch of students to get to know, students who need to be made comfortable in your classroom, and who need to get to know each other. It’s essential to start building relationships with your students right from the start. And how to accomplish this? Icebreakers. I planned to create a nice big post with dozens of icebreaker ideas you could choose from. They require students to take massive social risks with people they barely know. So I have scrapped my plan to curate good icebreakers from the Internet. In my own classrooms, with middle school, high school, and college students, I have played all three of these games with great success. Each of these will likely sound familiar to you, although the names may not be exactly what you’ve known them as. Blobs and Lines Here are some sample prompts you can use for this game: Concentric Circles Do you play any sports? This or That Sample questions for This or That:

Open Space Technology: Decision by Inclusion The first time I heard of Open Space Technology was in 2013 at the initial meeting of the Teacher Resistance and Action Network, a group of teachers and education practitioners who had gathered under the guidance of Dr. Thomas Poetter of Miami University to discuss how to teach responsibly in the age of high-stakes testing. My friend and mentor, Kevin Lydy, had invited me to attend what was billed as a non-conference. It was a life-changing experience, not only because of the great conversations that I had with fellow educators, but also because I learned about a technique that I'd never heard of before: Open Space Technology. Some Edutopia readers may be familiar with Edcamps, which are, in fact, based on (and utilize) OST. Edcamps, however, are geared toward collaborating across schools and districts, while this post will focus on using OST within a school (or even your own classroom) to realize similar benefits. How OST Works One of the keys in utilizing OST is the opening session.

What are your favorite teacher-hacks? : Teachers My Top 5 Organizational Hacks for Teaching High School I'm not a naturally organized person. In July before my first year of teaching, I remember being at the office supply store in the file/tray/organizer aisle, picking up a single black tray and thinking, "Hmm ... this should do it." Needless to say my first year was a mess both literally and figuratively. Like a lot of things in teaching, I learned how to be organized by trial and error. Lots and lots and lots of error. To save you some error, here are my top five organizational tricks! 1) The BGT The BGT in my class stands for Big Gray Thing because I don’t know what else to call this beautiful specimen. I teach three double-blocked class periods, so I have one “column” in the BGT for each class, with different tray labels for vocabulary, grammar, school forms/slips, absent/late work, tests, and then Assignments A through C for work that doesn’t fall under the other categories. I honestly don’t know how I survived without the BGT. Just keeping it real, y’all. 2) Black Binder I’m telling you.