Saturday, 27 September 2014

Brain breaks in the classroom

GoNoodle Inspiration Blog

I'm a blogger who brain breaks-do you?
I have to say I have mixed opinions about the level of technology in student's lives these days. However, GoNoodle is hands down a fantastic use of technology in the classroom. I cannot speak highly enough of this website. Having said this, "old-fashioned" brain breaks are just as important and useful in maintaining engaged (not to mention healthy) students.

A recent study in Australia indicated that: "Australian kids (are rated) D- for Overall Physical Activity Levels" (2014 Active Healthy Kids Australia Report Card). Time to do something about that!
I'm linking up with GoNoodle to spread the word about brain breaks.

They posed some questions:
1. Often times adults see exercise as a chore, but for kids exercise should be all about fun and play. P.E. and recess offer great opportunities for kids to get their play on, but how can we bring this idea into the classroom as well?

 It is sad that so many adults see exercise as a chore, especially when it is so vital to a healthy life. But, it's understandable, we live in such a busy, fast paced world that it is hard to find time to look after our bodies. That's why I love ideas like GoNoodle. They offer a range of movement breaks to get students up and moving in a fun way (and let's face it - the teacher too!).

2. Something awesome happens in kids brains when they are active. Have you observed students to be more focused and engaged in learning when you regularly incorporate movement into your classroom?

Absolutely! If I see them getting fidgety halfway through teaching time, I stop and get them to do jumping jacks and then they are able to re-focus. If we are transitioning between lessons and they are about to do some sitting, I put on GoNoodle or play a game that gets them up and moving. Likewise, if they come in from lunch (recess) all hot and tired, I put on a calming brain break from GoNoodle, such as AirTime and watch as they all relax, ready to learn again.

3. Kids are watching and following your lead! How can teachers model healthy, active lifestyles to their students, inside and outside the classroom?

I think it is so important that we are healthy role models for the students. We may even be their only positive role model. I love getting up and dancing with the kids during the brain breaks (even if they dance better than me!). If they see you having fun, giving things a go and getting active, they are more likely to follow suit too. Even though I teach preppies (kindergarten), I still tell them how important exercise is to their bodies. We are told to be transparent and tell students learning goals and how to achieve it for academic lessons, why not for brain breaks. When they know why we do it, they will hopefully maintain a desire to do it even after they move on from our class.

Since I started "class champs" (as I call them) in my room I have seen many positive changes. Suddenly, kids will become engaged for that all important point :) A handy thing when I have a particularly energetic bunch! Our class favourites from GoNoodle, are: Air Time (both versions), all things Zumba,  Dancing Robots and of course, Frozen. :)

How do you incorporate movement into your classroom? Do you use brain breaks?
Do you GoNoodle?

Till next time,
Rainbow Lily

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