First of all you might be wondering what is a brain break? Let’s start at the beginning…
You know that feeling when you have been sitting in front of your computer for a while and the screen starts to go fuzzy and your mind drifts off to all things non-work related and eventually you find yourself just sitting staring at the screen incapable of producing even a slightly intelligent thought….. Well if you reach this state it actually means that you should have stopped 5 minutes ago and taken a brain break. Brain breaks should be taken before fatigue, boredom, distraction and inattention set in.
Brain breaks are simply mental breaks designed to help us stay focused. They often include some form of movement which helps carry blood and oxygen to the brain. When I Googled the official meaning of the word brain break. It came up with the following:
A time of rest from using the brain.
So simply put, but so true.
And of course, this rest from using the brain, is vital in our classrooms. The schools that are implementing brain breaks are helping their students to be better learners and manage the pressure of their everyday lives.
One of the themes in our COOL TO BE ME Grade 3 programme, ‘Discovering My Inner World’, is on ‘My Brilliant Brain’. The purpose of this building block is not to focus on the anatomy of the brain, but rather the flow of information through the brain, and how this is affected by our lifestyle choices and emotion.
The programme helps kids to learn how to get information to their thinking brains by reiterating that there is different times of the day for different types of learning:
There is a time to imagine and let my thoughts run free, and a time to concentrate on what’s in front of me.
Which of my activities need me to focus and when I can play the hocus pocus?
When the time has come to pay attention. I focus all my senses in that direction!
A teacher can look at her class timetable and identify times where information overload is most likely to happen and implement brain breaks so that the class can:
Refresh, Recharge, Refocus, Regenerate, Release Stress and Breathe
Brain breaks are designed to be short, quick and easy so that you can fit them in at anytime. We have even designed our very own brain break cards and board game which will be a very useful classroom resource. Contact us to get your hands on a set.
But don’t just take my word for how important brain breaks are, there is tons of research out there. We recently received Dr Judy Willis’ newsletter focussing on ‘The Neuro-Logical Power of Brain Breaks for Best Learning’. She says, ‘After just a few minutes, student’s refreshed brains, are ready to return to the next learning activity with a subdued amygdala and a full supply of neurotransmitters. You and your students will both reap the benefits of this restoration’.
On that note….I think it’s time we all get up and take a short brain break! #informationoverload