Movement Breaks in the Classroom

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Movement breaks are brief intervals that enable all students to move their bodies and help teachers to engage learners in physical ways. Chants, poems, even Morning Meeting greetings, and activities can be used as movement breaks throughout the day.

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Activities

  1. 5-4-3-2-1 In this simple game, students stand up and the teacher (or leader) has them do five different movements in descending order. For example the teacher would say: “Do five jumping jacks, spin around four times, hop on one foot three times, walk all the way around the classroom two times, give your neighbor one high-five (pausing in between each task for students to do it).
  2. Trading Places Have students stand behind their pushed-in chairs. Call out a trait, and everyone who has that trait must change places with someone else (students who do not have the trait stay where they are). Examples: “Everyone with curly hair.” “Everyone who ate cereal for breakfast.” “Everyone who is wearing stripes.”
  3. Six Spots Number six spots around your room from 1-6. Have students each go to a spot of their choice. Choose a student to roll a die (if you can make a big one out of foam, it adds to the fun). All the students at the number rolled must go back to their seats. Students that are left go to a new spot, and the die is rolled again. Continue until only a few students are left.
  4. Mingle, Mingle, Group! In this game students mill about the classroom saying, “mingle, mingle, mingle” in soft voices until the teacher says, “Groups of 5,” at which point the students must quickly group themselves into groups with the correct number of people. Students who are left over must do three jumping jacks before the next round starts. The teacher can call out any number for the group size. You can also add rules such as: as soon as a group is complete, all members must sit down in a line.
  5. Dance Party! Put on some rockin’ music and dance! If you can make the room semi-dark and have a black light or other special effect, your kids will love it!
  6. Freeze Dance! Similar to Dance Party, except that every so often the music stops, and students must freeze and hold the position they are in until the music begins again.
  7. Name Moves Students stand behind their chairs. In turn, each student says his or her name accompanied by a special movement. For example a student might say, “Kayla!” while dramatically dropping to one knee and doing Jazz Hands. After the student does his or her move, the rest of the class says the student’s name in unison and imitates the move. Then it is the next student’s turn.
  8. Keep It Up Students must keep a beach ball from hitting the ground. Add two or three balls to make it even more fun.
  9. Simon Says An oldie but a goody!
  10. Movement Songs Sing a song with whole-body movements, such as, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” “Father Abraham,” “Toe-Knee Chest-Nut,” “Shake Your Sillies Out (Raffie),” “Grand Old Duke of York,” “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean,” etc.
  11. Recorded Movement Songs Older students might enjoy a simple Zumba routine, YMCA, or the Macarena. Littler ones will love Sesame Street’s A Very Simple Dance to Do.
  12. Animal Pretend Younger children will enjoy pretending to be various animals (or even objects such as lawn mowers or airplanes). Call out a few in sequence.
  13. Would You Rather Ask a “would you rather” question and have students show their choice by moving to one end of the room or the other. Have a few kids share why. Here are 20 free “Would You Rather” Questions to get you started.
  14. Find It Fast Call out a color or other trait (e.g. something round, something made of wood), and students must find an object in the room that fits the trait and get to it quickly.
  15. Physical Challenges Challenge students to do something physically difficult, such as standing on one foot with arms extended, or this one: Grab your nose with left hand, and grab your left earlobe with your right hand, and then quickly switch so that your right hand is on your nose and your left hand is grabbing your right earlobe. Yoga poses could also be a good variation.
  16. Plates Give each student a paper plate. Students must walk around the room balancing the plates on their heads. If a student drops his or her plate, the student must freeze until another student picks it up and places it back on the student’s head (while keeping his or her own plate in place, of course).
  17. Line Up! Have students line up using a specific criteria, such as age (use day and month, not just year), height, alphabetically by middle name, hair length, etc.
  18. Limbo All you need is a long stick and a pair of kids to hold it. Music is nice, too.
  19. Human Knot Divide students into groups of about eight students. Have students each grab right hands with someone who is not directly next to them. Then do the same with left hands. The challenge is to untangle and become a circle without releasing hands.
  20. Jump Skip Counting Have students count by twos, fives, tens etc. while jumping with each count. You could also practice spelling words this way.

Source

Videos from GoNoodle are great!

GoNoodle videos get kids moving to be their strongest, bravest, silliest, smartest, bestest selves. Over 14 million kids each month are dancing, stretching, running, jumping, deep breathing, and wiggling with GoNoodle.

For Teachers: 3 out of 4 elementary schools in the US use GoNoodle to: – Give students the brain breaks they need – Host indoor recess – Make subject transitions seamless – Energize or calm their class

Create a free account on GoNoodle.com now and find hundreds of ways to move! — https://goo.gl/fA6qK3

Videos from Stand Up Kids

BURPEE

HOLLOW ROCK

PUSH UP

LEARN TO SQUAT

FULL SQUAT

SQUAT DRILL

MAKE IT RAIN

CROCODILES & CRABS

SHAKE THE WIGGLES OUT

FAST FEET & HIGH JUMPS

BLOCKED SQUAT & GRASSHOPPERS

ONE LEGGED HOPS & PLANKS

AIR SQUAT & RUN IN PLACE

Pogo Jumps & Lunges

Pushups & Spins

Blocked Squats & Backpack Chair Deadlifts

Floppies & Planks

Push Press & Tuck Jumps

Articles

Teaching with the Brain in Mind, 2nd Edition by Eric Jensen  Chapter 4. Movement and Learning

Research-Tested Benefits of Breaks Students are easily distracted, but regular, short breaks can help them focus, increase their productivity, and reduce their stress

The Cognitive Benefits of Physical Activity in the Classroom

Movement Breaks to the Rescue!

Classroom-Based Movement Breaks

Sensory and Movement Break Ideas | Getting Classrooms Moving!

Teacher Toolbox Physical Activity Breaks in the Secondary Classroom

Middle School Activity Breaks

Movement Breaks OT Tips

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Tips

  • Keep physical activity breaks short and manageable. Shoot for 1 – 5 minute breaks at least 2-3 times per day.
  • Participate with your students in the activity. Students will be more likely to join in and have fun if they see their school community moving with them.
  • Ask teachers and school administrators to share and demonstrate their favorite activities, games, and movement ideas during staff meetings throughout the school year.
  • Create a classroom atmosphere that embraces movement! Consider playing age and culturally appropriate music. Be patient – it may take some time for kids to embrace and be comfortable with the physical activity.
  • Integrate physical activity into academic concepts when possible. For example, a social studies unit on the Olympics can include student participation in classroom energizers fitting into an Olympic theme.
  • Encourage your physical education teacher to be a movement leader and advocate. Ask if he or she can share some simple motor skills and games for classroom teachers and guidance for creating safe movement spaces.
  • Empower students by asking them to share their own physical activity break ideas. Provide opportunities for students to lead and demonstrate activities.
  • Add physical activity breaks right into your daily schedule. Try creating a classroom physical activity calendar of events that includes a variety of ideas throughout the month. Use a classroom physical activity tracker to help your students reach 10 minutes daily! Check out these brain break for testing ideas.
  • Add in fun equipment items such as beanbags, spot markers, yoga mats, and balance boards. Consider applying for a Game On grant!
  • Integrate health and fitness concepts while moving with students to emphasize the importance of daily physical activity and good nutrition.

Source

Books

 Energizers! 88 Quick Movement Activities That Refresh and Refocus– Susan Roser

Action-Packed Classrooms, K-5: Using Movement to Educate and Invigorate Learners (2009)

  • by Cathie Summerford (Link)
  • “Focusing on using movement and music to energize young students and boost their learning, this research-based book offers strategies for basic energizers, clear objectives for standards-aligned instruction, and a student/teacher/principal agreement to commit to active learning.” – Amazon

Brain Breaks for the Classroom: Quick and Easy Breathing and Movement Activities That Help Students Reenergize, Refocus, and Boost Brain Power-Anytime of the Day! (2009)

  • by Michelle Gay (Link)
  • “40 fun exercises help students take a quick break and return to their work refreshed and ready to learn. Each exercise is designed to get more oxygen and energy to students’ brains, improve their focus, and calm their nervous systems. The result: increased motivation, cooperation, and learning in the classroom. Includes a full-color poster with five easy moves all kids can do when they need a ‘brain break’! For use with Grades K–5.” – Amazon

Brain Gym: Teacher’s Edition (2010)

  • by Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison (Link)
  • “This is a stand-alone book for parents, teachers and learners who want in-depth descriptions and variations for the 26 Brain Gym activities.” – Amazon

Energizing Brain Breaks (2009)

  • by David U. Sladkey (Link)

Energizing Brain Breaks 2 (2011)

The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning Through Movement (2010)

  • by Traci Lengel and Mike Kuczala (Link)
  • “Research shows that regular physical activity helps children perform better in school. This inspiring book illustrates how to integrate movement within classroom instruction, ranging from short activity breaks to curriculum-enhancing games.” – Amazon

Learning on Your Feet: Incorporating Physical Activity into the K-8 Classroom (2016)

  • by Brad Johnson and Melody Jones (Link)
  • “In this much-needed book, you’ll learn how incorporating physical activity into the classroom can improve students’ engagement, achievement, and overall wellness. Students typically spend most of the day sitting at their desks, and many don’t have recess or PE, yet research shows that regular exercise helps stimulate brain function and improve skills such as reading, critical thinking, organization, and focus.” – Amazon

Moving INTO the Classroom (2018)

  • Stacia Miller and Suzanne Lindt, Eds (Link)
  • This textbook focuses on research in movement integration and the benefits of physical activity to the child’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. It includes research on and suggestions for integrating movement into English-language arts, mathematics, science and social studies for lower and upper elementary students. Though the textbook is specifically aimed at elementary-level teachers, secondary teachers and pre-service teachers can modify the activities to fit their lessons as well. – Springer
Perceptual-Motor Activities for Children with Web Resource: An Evidence-Based Guide to Building Physical and Cognitive Skills (2011)
  • by Jill Johnstone and Molly Ramon (Link)
  • “…blueprint for improving perceptual-motor skills—the skills that require young learners to use their brains and their bodies together to accomplish tasks. When kids improve these skills, they not only improve their coordination and increase their body awareness but they also enhance their intellectual skills and gain a more positive self-image.” – Human Kinetics

Physical Activity and Educational Achievement: Insights from Exercise Neuroscience (2018)

  • edited by Romain Meeusen, Sabine Schaefer, Phillip Tomporowski, and Richard Bailey (Link)
  • “A growing body of research evidence suggests that physical activity can have a positive effect on educational achievement. This book examines a range of processes associated with physical activity that are of relevance to those working in education – including cognition, learning, memory, attention, mood, stress and mental health symptoms – and draws on the latest insights from exercise neuroscience to help explain the evidence.” – Amazon

Physical Activity and Health Promotion in the Early Years (2018)

  • edited by Hannah Brewer and Mary Renck Jalongo (Link)
  • “This book…provides a theoretical base explaining why physical activity is important, and offers practical strategies for increasing health and well-being in early childhood settings. It takes ancient wisdom on the mind and body connection, applies it to the youngest children, and supports it with current empirical and international evidence—all with an eye toward improving wellness across the lifespan. The many topics discussed in the book include children’s motor skills, movement, interaction, physical literacy, the use of video games, dog ownership, developmental delays, as well as strategies to improve physical activities in the classroom and broader contexts.”

Spark: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (2008)

  • by John J. Ratey (Link)
  • “Did you know you can beat stress, lift your mood, fight memory loss, sharpen your intellect, and function better than ever simply by elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat? The evidence is incontrovertible: aerobic exercise physically remodels our brains for peak performance.” – Amazon

Teaching with the Brain in Mind (2005)  – chap. 9: Movement and Learning

  • by Eric Jensen (Link)
  • “…[this] best-seller is loaded with ideas for how to improve student achievement and create a more effective classroom by applying brain research to your teaching. [It] translates the latest scientific findings into effective instructional strategies…” – Amazon

The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Design to Transform Teaching and Learning (2010)

  • by OWP/P Architects, VS Furniture, & Bruce Mau Design (Link)
  • “Created by an international team of architects and designers concerned about our failing education system, [this book] explores the critical link between the school environment and how children learn…” – Amazon

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Kids Growing Up Fast! Hang on!

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My kids are 4 and almost 7 and keeping up can be a struggle with 2 active kids. I like taking photos and periodically I will look back on them to draw strength to refuel my parenting energy. I wanted to poll parents about this topic on what you do to get out of a slump when you are feeling depleted of energy from the grind of parenting.

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Poll

Click below and take the parenting Pop Quiz. A summary of results will be posted in a later blog post.

Parenting Essay Question

Test

Compassion Fatigue/Satisfaction Self-Test (CFS)

Tips

Tips to Help You Let Go of Your Child

There is no exact way to tackle and move through stages of your child’s development. Every child requires different parenting as every parent will do his best based on knowledge, experiences, and available parenting tools.

The following are basic tips to assist parents as they move through the difficult transition of letting go, when that time comes. Starting early will help create a good foundation upon which you can build successes at each critical stage of your child’s development.

  • Set boundaries for yourself; practice giving your child space to grow
  • Give your child a chance to master tasks alone and learn from mistakes
  • Trust that the values you’ve instilled will inform their decisions
  • Acknowledge that you’ve done your best as a parent and that the hands-on phase of parenting does come to an end
  • Treat the letting go process as a transitional loss and grieve accordingly; see a family therapist if necessary
  • As your child matures, rebuild a new relationship that is less about dependency and more about mutual respect, admiration, and a celebration of a budding, capable young adult

Source

Articles

Whenever Your Child Is Growing Up Too Fast, Remember This

Avoid Parenting Burnout by Limiting Your Options

Maxed Out Parents: 5 Strategies to Ease Burnout Tips to help manage parenting stress

Why Self-Care Is Essential to Parenting Caring for children with intense needs can take an emotional (and physical) toll on parents by Juliann Garey

How to Cope with Your Child Growing Up

My Kid Is Growing Up And It’s Bumming Me Out

Science Says the Most Successful Kids Have Parents Who Do These 9 Things

Quotes

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Mental Health Phone Apps Around Campus

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This post is to showcase a few apps that could really support parents and educators on a variety of topics.

Free APPS

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed these three apps.

KnowBullying provides resources and guidance for parents, caregivers, and educators on ways to prevent bullying and build resilience in children. The app features conversation starters, warning signs of bullying behavior, and helpful resources for educators.

Talk.  They hear you.  (Underage Drinking Prevention)Practice talking to your kids about the dangers of alcohol. Prepare for one of the most important conversations you may ever have with your kids about underage drinking. SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” app is available on desktop computers and on the go.  Learn More.  

Suicide Safe is a new suicide prevention app for mobile devices (optimized for tablets) that helps health care providers assess suicide risk and determine appropriate next steps for at-risk patients. The app features conversation starters, interactive sample case studies, and real-time access to behavioral health treatment facilities.

 Stop, Breathe & Think It provides dozens of guided meditations for all types of purposes. The app even recommends meditations based on how you feel mentally, physically and emotionally. It also rewards you with stickers as you meditate more and more. Another Stop, Breath & Think for Kids is also available.

Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool which provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body and instructions and practice exercises to help users learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing exercises have been documented to decrease the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ (stress) response, and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management.

Insight Timer Everyone talks about how great meditation is for your mental health but if it still feels too daunting, Insight Timer is a great place to start. The app meets you where you are, whether it’s your first time, or you’re a pro. Plus, you can connect with plenty of other users across the world with an activity feed (though of course, meditation isn’t a competition).

Koko In this app’s first life, it was a website called Panoply developed by an MIT researcher as a social network for people with depression. And it functions much the same way in its app form.

Users can share problems, feelings, or thoughts with the community, and get feedback from others. How does this help? The idea is based on a form of a well-established cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) technique called “reappraisal,” which is a way to help reframe negative thoughts. For example, you can share an experience like having a bad day at work, or a fight with your S.O., and the community might offer alternative readings of that situation to help you not jump to negative conclusions. (Like you’re going to get fired or you and your partner are breaking up.)

The best news of all: A 2015 study of the original website found that this approach significantly improved participants depression symptoms after just 25 minutes per week for three weeks.

Happify The main goal of this app is to just “feel happier,” and the program gives you plenty of options for working toward that goal. You’ll get to choose a path of activities that reflects what that really means for you.

You’ll start by taking a test to see where you’re at and how you tend to approach tough, stressful spots in your life. Then the app will suggest a path based on your answers. To move along the path, you’ll complete gratitude exercises, do a little meditation, and learn a lot about yourself along the way.

Apps at a cost

Larkr

Journal Your Emotions with Ease Track your mood with “my story” as often as you want with just a couple of taps. We’ll track your emotional state for you so you can look back and learn about what might be blocking you from living your best life.

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Articles

New Apps Give Teens Easier, Persistent Access To Mental Help

Do mental health mobile apps work: evidence and recommendations for designing high-efficacy mental health mobile apps by Pooja Chandrashekarcorresponding author

New mental health app reaching out to help students in the aftermath of mass shooting in Parkland

 

 

Special Needs Surfing in Santa Cruz

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Ran into a parent who was raving about this surfing/ ocean experience for special needs kiddos. I was thinking that we should pass it on to whoever we come across that would like a fun-filled day at the beach.


http://rideawave.org/

Ride a Wave’s mission is to give children with special needs the chance to feel the thrill of riding a wave and experience a safe, fun-filled day at the beach, whether they are physically, developmentally, or economically challenged.
Since its inception in 1998, Ride a Wave (RAW) has helped over 2,500 kids get in the water and have a life-changing day at the beach with activities including:

A lifeguard demonstration and marine safety orientation
Stretching and sunscreen
Beach obstacle course
Boogie Boarding
Kayaking
Tandem Surfing
Snacks, water, and a hot lunch
Awards ceremony
[Some Ride a Wave Activities]
All at no cost to any child, organization or individual.

Source

News Report

Disabled children learn to surf in Santa Cruz More than 35 kids received free surf lessons at Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz with the nonprofit Ride A Wave.

Movie

Ride a Wave Documentary Facebook page

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