If you are lucky enough to be back in the classroom after a prolonged absence (ie. covid lockdowns) then you may be noticing a decrease in stamina among your students.
Readjusting to onsite learning after so long in lockdown can be difficult - both for us and for our students.
I've written before about the importance of careful lesson structure and consideration of our kids' ability to focus, but I believe that this is even more important than ever in the current climate!
The average child is capable of focusing for around about their age worth in minutes (for example a 6 year old prep child is capable of focusing on one thing for around about 6 minutes at a time). Therefore we need to make sure that none of our lesson segments go on for too long.
But we also need to consider scheduling some "brain breaks". These are fun, easy activities that offer a change of pace from whatever the focus of the lesson has been thus far. You might use them to re-energise your students after a focus segment by the whiteboard. Or, if you've been up and moving, you might use a brain break for more calming purposes instead.
There are some fantastic calming brain break resources out there, such as meditation music channels on YouTube or things like Cosmic Kids Yoga .
Today, I'd like to talk about some of my favourite energisers. These are songs designed to get kids up and moving and having a break from intense focus.
Tooty Taa is a fun rhythmic chant full of nonsense words and actions. It's an additive action song as well!
Students perform the "tooty taa" chant twice, then echo the teacher as they add each new action
- thumbs up (thumbs up!)
- thumbs up (thumbs up), elbows out (elbows out)
- thumbs up, elbows out, knees in etc.
Some other actions I've added which always get a giggle include:
- bottom out
- tongue out
- eyes closed
By the end of the chant, we've had a good laugh, a bit of a wiggle and are ready to focus again!
I've written before about how much I adore this game (as do my students!) but for a quick nutshell, this is a colour-search game. During the song, a colour will be mentioned, and students have until the end of the song to locate something of that colour and touch it. You can make it an elimination-style game if you wish, but for the purposes of a brain break, I would just play two or three rounds to get kids up and moving before returning to your next focused activity.
Two Little Sausages
This is another great one for hyping students up! I've also written about Two Little Sausages before and there is a great picture book to accompany the chant if you wish to have some visuals with your brain break. You can divide your students into two groups - one performing an action on the "pop!" and the other performing an action on the "bang!"
By gradually increasing the tempo as you chant, as well as counting down from ten sausages, to eight, to six and so on, you're increasing the excitement each time until all the sausages have exploded and you're ready to work.