This year I have decided to return to a 3 day week instead of the 4 day week I have done for the past few years. Thus, here I sit at my dining room table on a Monday morning after a physically active weekend, throughly enjoy a calm and relaxed start to my week. It is the perfect way to mentally prepare me for my upcoming teaching week.
I scrolled through my WordPress reader this morning (something I don’t do often enough) and discovered a few great posts about brain breaks. Last week, upon reflection, I realised I didn’t incorporate anywhere near enough brain breaks into my lessons, especially for my younger students. It is always tough at the beginning of a new year remembering that all the classes are new and that the year 2/3 class is still really only a 1/2 class and will need a lot more movement and action in their lessons to keep them engaged and focused.
Brainbreaks are so important for a variety of reasons, not least because they give the poor brain a rest. Annabelle Allen has a terrific blog worth exploring and in it are quite a few posts about brain breaks. She recommends that they are done often and before students get restless, not as a result of restless students!! Looks like I will have to change my ideas about my 50 min lesson plans. Up until now, my priority has always been the class story however I think I need to rethink that and consider that student engagement should be the higher priority. If students are engaged and having fun (in Indonesian), everything else should fall sweetly into place! Do you agree?
The key though is coaching students that brainbreaks are a quick break (like a commercial) and when it’s finished, they all return to their seats and we resume from where we were with no talking or discussion.
I’ve got a brain break word document saved to my USB that I’ve been compiling over the past 2 years. Each time I read of a brain break that I think would work with my students, I add it to the list (if you’d like a copy send me your email address). The beauty of this is that when I am planning, I can just open the document and then scroll through all my ideas and pick out the ones that best supports the target structure, the time of year &/or the student cohort. I then add the ideas to my lesson plan so that I can quickly run my eyes over the suggestions and go with what is best for that moment. If I don’t do this, I’ve discovered that my brain goes on auto pilot and all I can think of are; Bu Cathy berkata & satu kaki which may lead to these brainbreak activities loosing their novelty if I’m not careful.
Here are a few new brain breaks I have just read about and am now looking forward to using in my classroom:
Class Selfie (Annabelle Allen) – using your phone/ipad, say, “Ayo, selfie!” then count backwards from sepuluh to satu, and then take a class selfie. These photos would be awesome in school newsletters, on class blogs and Annabelle also suggests using these photos to crop student faces for using in power points!! Isn’t this idea just ingenious!
Manikin Challenge – (Annabelle Allen) –
During a scene reconstruction for a story retell incorporate as many students as possible from the class and then the teacher walks around the tableau who are frozen and not speaking or moving one little bit to record it. Any students who can’t have their image uploaded, need to have creative ways in which to obscure their faces.
Double this, Double that –
I’ve been wracking my brain for weeks now ever since discovering this awesome hand clapping rhyme for an Indonesian phrase that work. Here is what I came up with this morning as I think ahead to this weeks target structure of ‘sayang’:
Sayang, sayang I, I
Sayang, sayang bu, bu.
Sayang i, sayang bu
Sayang, sayang ibu.
And it could also be then done with other family members including bapak/ayah, and adik/kakak:
Sayang, sayang a, a
Sayang, sayang dik, dik.
sayang a, sayang dik,
Sayang, sayang adik.
and the best one to finish with :
Sayang, sayang, kak, kak
Sayang sayang kak, kak
Sayang kak, sayang kak
Sayang sayang kakak!!
Binatang – (still searching for where I found this) students in groups/rows each choose an animal. Students can not talk, they can only make the noise of their chosen animal. Then when they each have an animal, they have to arrange themselves in a line from largest to smallest, again not saying a word, only making the noise of the animal!! Finish by choosing one line and having the students sound off down the line with their animal sound!
Charades – ask for 3 students to come out the front. Show them a word/phrase in the target language. They then have to act it out so that the rest of the class can guess what it is. Class then votes on whose acting was the funniest.