Brain Breaks

by Annie Adamsky, Lower School Teacher

Brain Breaks

by Annie Adamsky, Lower School Teacher

Transitioning between activities or classes can be tricky business for elementary students. At Sparhawk's Lower School, we have found many ways to help ease the stress for both the children and teachers. Through experience, we have developed two main brain break methods that have been successful, energizing breaks and  calming breaks.  A quick scan of the room and I can quickly gauge which type of break will be most beneficial.  In my class, we often use gonoodle.com or mindfulness cards to guide us through breaks.

When we want to energize we may choose to watch “Don’t Read Like a Robot” -- which also reinforces the  important concept of reading with expression. Of course, we also like to do other silly dances like “Run the Red Carpet” to get the wiggles out!

For a complete relaxation, my first and second graders love pretending they are frozen statues and then slowly melting each part of their body. We all end up in puddles on the floor as we let our tension release. Breathing exercises are also in our toolbox of exercises to help relax and release tension -- bunny breath is a favorite of ours.

We use these breaks to help hone social skills. When we have many sharing circles where we give the speaker our complete focus -- our hearts and our eyes towards them. We also practice responding with questions rather than sharing our own stories. This is a challenge for so many children and adults. It is wonderful to hear the children asking each other questions, listening to the answer, and responding with kindness.

Using these techniques at home can be beneficial during times of stress or built up energy. Take a deep breath and join your child. Maybe they can even teach you a few new ways to give your brain a break!

Resources:

Research-Tested Benefits of Breaks