Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pretzel Stretch with your Fists

You will be stretching and outlining a pretzel with your fists.
Preparation: Draw a pretzel on the board like the one shown.

1. Stand up.
2. Put your hands clasped together in front of you to make a fist.
3. Imagine that your fist is at one of the end points of the pretzel. Now keeping your hands together, draw the outline of a pretzel. You will be stopping and reversing directions at each end point of the pretzel. Try to do this as fast as you can.
4. Now outline a huge pretzel that touches the ground and stretches to over your head in the same way as before.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Palm Tapping Energizing Brain Break

You will be tapping your opposite hand palm while keeping a pattern.
1. Stand up.
2. Put your hands in front of you so that your fingers are pointing straight forward and your palms are facing up.
3. You will be repeating a tapping pattern: two taps, three taps, one tap over and over while you alternate hands.
4. Take your ring finger on your left hand and tap twice on your right palm. Now take your pinkie finger on your right hand and tap three times on your left palm. Again take your left ring finger and tap once on your right palm. Now we start the pattern again and take the right pinkie and tap two times on the left palm. And so on…
5. Sometimes it is helpful to say the words out loud.
6. Try to do this as fast as possible keeping the same pattern.
7. If you master this then pick different fingers for each hand.
Be creative with your patterns. Use a pattern like 2,3,1,3,2 taps

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hand Shake # 1 that is a BRAIN BREAK

Brain Breaks are great to re-engergize your students

You will be doing a lengthy handshake with your partner.

1. Stand up and find a partner. Decide who is A and who is B.

2. Shake right hands. Shake left hands.

3. Now do a right hand fist bump, and then a left hand fist bump. (A fist bump is making a fist, and lightly touching finger sections that are closest to the wrist)

4. Now do a right hand hammer tap. Person A will put their right fist out. Person B will lightly tap A with the bottom of their fist. Now Person A will lightly touch the bottom of their fist to person B’s fist. Now do a left hand hammer tap.

5. Now while crossing your arms do a high ten.

6. Now do a double fist bump. (Opposite hands will be touching)

7. Lastly do a regular high ten.

8. Repeat this handshake over and over as fast as you can.

Be creative and make up your own handshake.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Bet You Can't Do This!

Here are three activities that most people can’t do. All of these are done from a standing position. Students enjoy trying to do them. About 1 in 10 can do these.

Put your arm out in front of you with your index finger extended. Try to spin your wrist slowly in one direction and your index finger in the opposite direction.

Roll your neck in one direction while at the same time moving your tongue around the inside of your lips in the other direction.

While spinning your right toe in a clockwise direction take your right hand index finger and draw the outline of a 6 in the air.

Thanks to Rory Lynch for this idea!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Let it RAIN Brain Break

Let it Rain is a fun activity for the whole class. Everyone works together and the sound is amazing.

1. Stand up.

2. The conductor will model the class through the rain process.

3. Here is the progression that the conductor will take.
Stage 1: soft circular hand rubbing
Stage 2: vigorous back and forth hand rubbing
Stage 3: finger snapping
Stage 4: thigh tapping
Stage 5: foot stomping

4. The class will follow the lead of the conductor. The conductor will take about 5-7 seconds with each stage.

5. The rain will get louder and louder getting to the last stage in which the conductor will lead the 3 separate thunder jumps. Then reverse the stages and the rain will get softer and softer.

Here is a YouTube Video that performs the RAIN very well. ENJOY. Try to watch the first 1.5 minutes.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Arm Wrap Brain Break

If you can get your students up and active every 25 minutes it will help their focus and concentration. Brain Breaks are refreshing. This brain break is very spacial. Students will be amazed that they have trouble connecting their fingers together.

    1. Stand Up.
    2. Put your left arm straight down at your side.
    3. Tuck that arm behind your back so that it is resting on your lower back. It should be bent at a 90 degree angle.
    4. Follow these instructions while closing your eyes.
    A. Take your ring finger and try to touch your pinkie.
    B. Take your middle finger and touch your thumb.
    C. Take your pinkie finger and touch your index finger.
    5. Now put your right arm behind your back and follow A, B, C.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slap Count + Say 21 and Win Brain Break

One of "BRAIN BREAKS" readers sent in a great suggestion as a comment. Greg Farmer - Traverse City Central High suggested that we combine "Say 21 and win" and "Slap Count". What a great idea! I tried it yesterday and it was terrific. The students loved the competition feature and it got them to cross the midline as well.

Here are the rules.

1. Stand up and find a partner. Decide who is A and who is B.
2. The goal is to be the person to say the number 21 while slap counting. Slap counting is when you have your hands out and palms up and the one who says a number crosses over and slaps the other persons hand.
3. You will alternately say and slap count consecutive numbers starting at one until someone says 21. However, at your turn you have your choice of saying only one number or two numbers at a time.
4. For example, if person A just finished their turn and said “7”, then person B could either say just “8” or “8” then “9”.
5. Person A will start counting at “1”.

See the video.

Thanks Greg Farmer for a great suggestion. I love it.

Inch Worm Brain Break

We should try to get a brain break in every 25 minutes in our classes. Brain Breaks give students a chance to take a break from the regular routine. This is a brain break that I learned while doing physical therapy on my knee.

1. Stand up.
2. Bend down and touch the ground with your hands. Bend your knees if you need to.
3. Start inching your hands out in front of you. Your feet remain in place. You will be moving your hands farther and farther out in front of you. More and more weight will be on your hands.
4. Once you have extended yourself as far as you can go, keep your hands still and start inching your legs forward until they meet your hands again. Try to keep your knees straight.
5. Repeat.

See the inchworm video.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Twisted" Brain Break

This Brain Break will get you twisted up, but will re-engergize you.

1. Stand up.
2. Put your hand out in front of you and clap and miss.
3. Put your thumbs down and then put your hands together.
1. Pull your hands inward rolling them towards you until your hands are on top and your elbows are near your side.
4. Roll your shoulders to stretch your back and neck.
5. Put your right leg over your left.
6. Roll your neck clockwise. (be careful not to fall)
7. Now switch your legs and put your left leg over your right.
8. Roll your neck counter-clockwise.
9. Spell your first name backwards.
10. Say your last name backwards.

See video for the demonstration.

Thanks to Rob Porter for this idea.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"FIVE" Brain Break

Kinesthetic Brain Breaks are something you should try to do every 25 minutes in your classes. In this Brain Break you will work with a partner. In this activity, partners will display the correct number of fingers so that both add to FIVE.

1. Stand up and find a partner. Decide who is A and who is B.
2. Face your partner.
3. Person A will put their arm out in one of the 12 clock positions. For instance, they could put their arm up directly in the air like 12 o’clock. Once their arm is out, they display a number zero to five with their fingers and thumb.
4. Now person B will put their arm out in the opposite direction as person A’s. For instance, since A was up at 12 o’clock, then person B puts their arm out straight down in the 6 o’clock position. Once their arm is out, they display the number of fingers to add to FIVE.
5. Once Person A has led for a while, switch and have person B lead.

Try to have students put their arms out in all different directions like the hands of a clock. They should also use different numbers zero to five and use either arm. Students should do this activity as quickly as possible.

Extension: Have student A hold out both hands in various dirctions. Now student B will have to put both hands out at opposite directions with fingers finishing "FIVE" on both hands.

See Video for a demonstration.

Friday, August 28, 2009

T Stretch Brain Breaks

It is great if you can give your students a brain break every 25 minutes. This brain break is a strech. First of all, reach your arms straight out on the sides. It is like you make a "T". Now take your right hand and reach out to touch your left toe. Hold it for 10 seconds. Come back up and take your left arm and touch your right foot and hold it for another 10 seconds. Remember to keep your arms straight. Make sure that your students don't hit their partner when they stretch their arms out.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Arm Stretch Energizing Brain Break

Try to take a brain break every 25 minutes in your class. This brain break is simple. You just stand up, and put your arms stretched out in front of you and your wrists touching. Move both arms together all the way to the left. Your left arm will be completely straight and parallel with the ground. Now move your arms back over to in front of you and then swing them all the way to the right. In this case, your right arm is stretched completely straight. Hold and stretch each swing for 15 seconds. See Video.

Happy Brain Breaks,


Sunday, March 22, 2009


Have your students take a Brain Break every 25 minutes in class. It helps to refocus students on their work.
Have the students take out a sheet of paper and write their name on the front of the paper. Then they should write out a problem that they have been working on. (You could also have them write 3 things they have learned during this past class period) Then on the back of the paper, they should solve the problem. Then they should crumple the paper up like a snowball. Everyone should stand up and have a good old fashion snowball fight with the papers. Aiming at the head is not allowed. After they have thrown at least 3 times, they should pick up a snowball and start doing the problem on the paper. Once they have tried the problem, they can look to see if they have the same answer as the author. Everyone should connect with the author and tell them if they got the problem or not. See video.
I have found that when talking about a particular topic, I can say to my students, remember this was the paper snowball problem. I think it is another type of memory device.
Happy Brain Breaks,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Figure Eight Brain Break

Brain Breaks are excellent for students to get re-focused. We should get our students up and moving every 25 minutes. Here is a brain break that your student can do with a simple spiral notebook. Take the spiral notebook and move it in a figure eight motion weaving through the legs. Of course, you want to do it as fast as possible. Also, when you get fast, you can try the opposite direction.
See the 50 second video.

Thumb and Pinkie Brain Break

Brain Breaks are great to take every 25 minutes in class.
This one is great for getting students to "think" about their movement.
Take your left hand and have your fingers in, and your thumb up.
Then take your right hand and put your thumb in and all your fingers in except your pinkie.
So in other words, your thumb up and pinkie out.
Now switch the roles of your hands.

See the 50 second video for how this actually looks.

Happy Brain Breaks,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Infinity Sign (Choir Director) Brain Break

We should all try to get our brain and bodies moving every 25 minutes. Make an infinity symbol with your right hand out in front of you. Stop your finger on the far right side of the infinity sign. Lift your left hand to be at the far left side of the infinity sign. Now move your hands at the same time and the same pace in the same direction to continue your infinity sign. Your hands should cross the middle at the same time. This one seems easy at first. Then you try to do it when your hands are doing the infinity signs in different directions. WOW that is hard. This crosses the mid-line and really makes you think.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Brain Breaks goes National

CBS's Debbie Turner Bell came out to our school in December and she made a very nice 3 minute story called "Pumping up the Brain" It aired nationally in January. Debbie and her team made us feel very comfortable during the interview process. Thanks Debbie.
Hope you enjoy it,

CBS Early Show Link Video

CBS Early Show Written Story

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Different Arm Directions Brain Break

Here is a Brain Break for your class. Have your students spin their right arm in a forward circle with their arm parallel to the ground. Now have them take their left hand and make a backward circle overlapping their right hand. Their hands should overlap each other but never touch. When they have done this, tell them to start their left hand spinning and their right hand overlap the left. It is really difficult to do. Most will be able to do one or the other.