5 things to know about brain breaks Back to list
Keeping students focussed and on task during lessons can be a challenge. Could incorporating brain breaks offer a solution?
Author: Margie Marc
1. What is a brain break?
A brain break is a short mental activity that provides an interval or respite from routine classroom activity. A brain break can last up to 5 minutes and works best if some form of physical activity is incorporated.
2. Why use break brains in lessons?
The main purpose of a brain break is to help learners become focussed and ready to learn. By introducing physical activity, oxygen levels in the brain will increase, helping students to concentrate.
3. When should they be used?
The best time to use a brain break is before, during and/or after an activity. Brain breaks can help refocus learning during activities which last for sustained periods of time, but otherwise, they are most effective immediately before or after a learning activity.
4. What does the research say about the benefits of brain breaks?
Research suggests that brain breaks can increase creative thinking, empathy and memory recall. Neuroscientists Immordino-Yang, Christodoulou, and Singh’s findings appear to show that our brains are still highly active even when we are resting and this activity could play a key role in keeping our brains healthy and sharp.
Research Cited: Immordino-Yang, M. H., Christodoulou, J. A., & Singh, V. (2012). Rest is not idleness implications of the brain’s default mode for human development and education. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(4), 352-364.
5. Where can I find out more brain breaks?
- Download, print and laminate these ideas to use in the primary classroom. Add more ideas to build a collection to have at hand.
- For information on research: http://www.coloradoedinitiative.org/resources/teacher-toolbox-activity-breaks/
- Brain Break Clips: Movin’ and Groovin’! Here you can find a selection of video clips for children to sing and dance along to. http://teachtrainlove.com/20-more-brain-break-clips-fight-the-fidgeting/
- For those who believe that brain breaks are not for secondary students, think again. Watch this clip and find some simple ideas that even secondary students will find tricky. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e0uAJs64X8
- To read more about brain breaks, Dr Lori Desautels has posted an article on edutopia.org http://www.edutopia.org/blog/brain-breaks-focused-attention-practices-lori-desautels