With an overcrowded curriculum and constant classroom interruptions, as dedicated and BUSY teachers you want your students to maximise their learning time. I hear you! And we know that students can learn best when they are regulated, settled and alert. One of the best tricks to ensure that your students maintain focus and engagement is through providing regular Movement Breaks in your classroom.
What Are Movement Breaks?
‘Movement Breaks’ has become more and more of a buzz term in recent years and they are finding their way into all good teachers’ ‘Toolkit’ – and for good reason! ‘Movement Breaks’ simply refer to a break from ‘sitting down’ learning and getting your students to move around in some way. It also doubles as a ‘brain break’.
In the past, incorporating Movement Breaks was used to support students with additional needs, such as Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder or Dyspraxia. What we now know (thank goodness!) is that ALL students benefit from Movement Breaks throughout the day.
And with teachers working with their students up to 30 hours per week, developing knowledge of Movement Breaks and the confidence to successfully implement them has now become an essential teaching skill.
Why Do Students Need Movement Breaks?
Movement Breaks are one of those amazing, multi-tasking strategies because they can help students in SO MANY different ways:
Movement Breaks can:
- Increase oxygen flow to the brain, which boosts alertness
- Improve Mood (good learners are happy learners!)
- Improve focus
- Provide an effective transition between lesson content
- Help consolidate information just learnt
When Should You Use Movement Breaks in Your Classroom?
There are some subtle (and not so subtle) telltale signs that your little cherubs may benefit from a quick movement break. You may notice your students start to:
- Move about more frequently in their chair or on the floor
- Become more impulsive, such as having difficulty waiting their turn to speak to chatting more with peers
- Show reduced engagement or participation in the learning activity
- Require instructions to be repeated
- Require more frequent redirection back to the learning activity
How often you incorporate a movement break in your classroom will depend on your individual class but as a general rule, younger kiddies in Kindergarten need more frequent movement breaks than their older peers – As a guide, aim for a movement break every 20 minutes or so for the younger schooling years and every 30-40 minutes in the older primary years.
5 Movement Break Ideas for Busy Classrooms That Anyone Can Do:
Coming up with movement break ideas for your class doesn’t have to be time consuming. Try these quick, simple ideas to get started:
- Take a class trip to the bathroom (which also helps prevent the constant stream of kiddies coming to you for bathroom breaks during essential learning time.
- Play ‘Follow The Leader’ around the classroom. Try to get your students to move in like different animals, like a bear, a butterfly or a mouse.
- Put together a ‘Class Playlist’ with your students and have one of your students pick a song to dance/move to all together. For extra points, you can teach some music appreciation at the same time, like moving fast or slow.
- Keep a balloon afloat (this may work well in small groups). The group to keep their balloon afloat the longest gets to go to lunch first!
Movement Breaks are quickly becoming a classroom staple for teachers. With a little knowledge and a few simple tricks, you can easily incorporate some quick and easy Movement Breaks into your teaching day to help ALL your students thrive.