Brain Breaks Part 5: Brain Bursts!

Fluency Matters recently gave me the opportunity to do a webinar about Brain Breaks. I had so much fun! I always tell people who feel overwhelmed with the thought of Brain Breaks that they shouldn’t be daunting and they can be as quick and short as you want them to be. (Teachers of EVERY content area should be using Brain Breaks and Brain bursts DAILY!, they are INVALUABLE!) One of the ideas I introduced during my webinar was the idea of Brain Bursts! (I don’t really have any pictures of Brain Bursts because they happen too quickly but here is an entertaining picture of one of my rock star students wearing a tutu and bronco hat and flying in the air…. How cool is he?)img_8217

Brain Bursts are rapid fire Brain Breaks that barely interrupt instruction at all but are just enough to wake every one up and keep student’s brains listening to 100% of that great input we are feeding them.

When I say rapid fire I mean just that. Brain bursts should be 1-5 seconds long. I do them so frequently that my students are practically on the edge of their seat listening and waiting for them. It makes them even more engaged in the input that matters. I find they are a fantastic classroom management tool!

I am inventing new Brain Bursts everyday! Since they are so short and sweet, improvising with them may work best, but if not, here are some (23 to be exact) ideas to get you going! I am going to write in ENGLISH but I conduct ALL of these Brain Bursts in the TL and so do the students. Even if they are spin offs/shortened versions of previously taught LONGER Brain Breaks, they understand the TL because they have done it before in a longer form.

  • Stand up, high five your neighbor, sit down
  • Stand up, high five BOTH your neighbors, sit down
  • Stand up, touch your head, sit down
  • Stand up, turn around, sit down
  • Stand up, jump 3x’s (or however many), sit down
  • Stand up, touch your toes, sit down
  • Stand up, play rock paper scissors with your neighbor, sit down
  • Stand up, play rock paper scissors with BOTH neighbors, sit down
  • Stand up, play choco choco with your neighbor, sit down
  • Stand up, play choco choco with BOTH neighbors, sit down
  • Stand up, switch seats with someone wearing the same color shirt as you(works best in deskless classrooms)
  • Stand up, sit down in the seat to your right (best in deskless classroom)
  • Stand up, sit down in the seat to your left (best in deskless classroom)
  • Stand up, touch your elbows together, sit down
  • Stand up, touch your elbow with your tongue, sit down
  • Stand up, find something blue  (any color) in the class, touch it, sit down
  • Stand up, sit on the floor, stand up, sit down
  • Stand up, tell your friend what you want, sit down (YES, in the target language, I do this with ANY structure they know REALLY well. It is similar to my sentence stem brain breaks or my pom pom throwing brain breaks, but much quicker.)
  • Stand up, stand behind your chair (give input like this for a minute then sit them down again)
  • Stand up, count the ceiling tiles out loud as fast as you can (make this one 10 seconds long)
  • Stand up, play choco choco with 3 people in the room in only 10 seconds, then sit
  • Stand up, high five at least 5 people in the room in only 10 seconds, then sit
  • Stand up, turn to your neighbor, make a funny face and the first person to break and laugh loses, then sit down (still keep it short… 3-10 seconds)

The possibilities are truly endless. I invent more every day…. Have fun with Brain Bursts, keep your kids on their toes, and keep the class engaging, energetic, and fun!

YAY!

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Until next time,

HAPPY TEACHING!

Love,

La Maestra Loca

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13 comments

  1. Hi there! These seem awesome and so necessary, especially in the middle school classroom! I’m wondering what you say to the kids to introduce this to encourage them to quickly do a burst and get right back on task? I can see these working, but I know I would have to present it in the right way to cut down on distractions.

    • Great question! 90% of the time I can get all but 1 or two students out of their seats on my first try (that is with high school, I have NEVER had trouble in Lower or Middle) in high school if I feel that I can mess with the kids I walk over to the party poopers and act heart broken and pretend sob that they won’t stand and make it an opportunity for more interesting, compelling, comprehensible input. If they seem like they are not standing more because they are nervous and not because they are just being a stubborn butthead then I will wait a minute and do the Brain Break and HONESTLY, 9/10 times the kid stands and joins because they are embarrassed to be the only one NOT participating. With the first scenario, interacting with the kid(s) that are sitting in a dramatic way is the LAST thing they ever expect. It usually surprises them into participating and many times they are the “leaders” of the class (or they think they are) and you MAY have gained a friend! Once you get buy in from the stubborn buttheads you win for all of eternity! 😀

  2. Hi! Thank you so much for this wonderful idea! I think this is just what I was missing in my classroom! I do totally CI and I have a bunch of “brain breaks” but it’s such a process to explain instructions since I literally have more than 50 different ones! Anyway, I just started doing the “brain BURSTS” and I love them! I’m just wondering if you would do it even doing a Story Listening session. I’m sure the answer is “yes” but I’m just making sure. I teach high school, by the way, and did quite a long SL yesterday (30 minutes) and that was the only part of class when I didn’t do a brain burst. I feel that I should have. Also, would you maybe do a quick “dominoes” activity to change their seat during SL as well if you felt the need? What are your thoughts? Thank you!!

    • Definitely! I would do them during story listening for sure, or even half way through the 30 minutes do a 60 second brain break. and I always change up the seating if I feel it is necessary. I love movement. My kids know that they will be moving ALL the time in my class. It is ingrained in them. I think we need to be moving them BEFORE they need to move. ❤

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