After sitting through a GREAT in-service on brain breaks in the classroom I quickly rummaged through all of my trinkets and gadgets in order to create a fidget bin for my students. I also hit the Dollar Tree for anything that could be used to fidget.
I looked for items that were inexpensive, durable, and easy to clean. There came a point where I could justify any purchase as a fidget! The bin is kept at the back table and the students are able to go there to fidget as needed. Explicit instruction and modeling is needed prior to opening the fidget area. We spent time talking about how we all (even adults) have the urge to fidget sometimes. I then show all of the different fidgets and how to use and not use them. The children do not have to ask me to fidget, however, they are not allowed to go to the back table while I am teaching a lesson and there can only be 2 kids using them at a time. I also have a 3 minute sand timer back there for students to use (if needed).
I know what you’re thinking…don’t the students abuse this?
Not at all!! My students mainly go there after they have completed an activity and spend only a few minutes fidgeting.
This got me thinking about other things I could add to our day that would give my students the best learning environment. I love using therapy balls in the classroom because so many of my kiddos benefit from the slight, gentle rocking and bouncing they can get when sitting on them. The ones I use were purchased online through a yoga store, however, Walmart has them at a price that can’t be beat ($8.77 for the 55 cm ball). I have 5 in my classroom that are rotated each day. I have also seen some teachers who use them at their guided reading table.
Next up was a way to better organize the brain breaks I do with my students (which are currently listed on a typed up sheet of paper). I decided to put all of the brain breaks I do on popsicle sticks so I can easily grab them when we need one. Wow! This will be much easier than checking my crinkled up sheet of paper!!
Brain breaks are a fun and easy way to quickly recharge my student’s batteries! Not to mention, they are quick and beneficial. I teach my students the importance of brain breaks and show them each action. I also have them complete a reflection sheet that tells their family about brain breaks and I encourage the students to share their favorites with their parents and think about ways that brain breaks can be added to things at home like homework time.
Are you looking to add some brain breaks to your day? If so, click here for the 16-page Brain Breaks and Fidgets file shown below:
If you're looking for more ideas, check out Colette O'Connor's book:
Success in School: How to Help Children Pay Attention and Concentrate in the Classroom and Improve Kids’ Focus on Homework- A Guide for Parents and Teachers