Brain Breaks: We ALL Need Them!

Let's face it.... whether it's the first day of school or it's the last week of school... our students NEED a break at some point throughout the day.

Now I'm talking about lunch or recess... or even PE.  I'm talking about giving your students an actual break from structured learning while still in the classroom! Many of our students don't know how to independently take a break from working.... in our eyes, their "break" is when they start talking to other classmates, asking to use the restroom, or even getting up and wandering around the classroom, which then leads the teacher to thinking that the student is not following directions.

SCARY (BUT TRUE!) FACT:

Take a child's age and add 2.  (example.... the child is 6, plus 2, your answer is 8)  Your answer is the maximum number of minutes that the student can be fully engaged in learning before needing a mental break!

IF a child has truly been labeled with an attention deficit disorder (ADD, ADHD, etc...), then you MINUS 2, leaving the amount of student engagement time even less!

SCARY HUH?!

Now think about your daily schedule.  How long are you having your students sit on a rug in the morning?  During Math?  I'm guessing it's for a MUCH longer time than they really need to be sitting!

This is where BRAIN BREAKS come in!  If you are not doing brain breaks in your classroom.... START NOW!  There are so many great things your can do so your students can have a break from structured learning and re-gain focus for better success!

Need some fresh (or even just need!) ideas?

I created a little pack just for brain breaks!

This pack has 36 different options that you can choose, ranging from 30 seconds up to 15 minutes, depending on the length of break you want to take!  You can choose one activity.... or up to as many as you like!

Here are some different options:


You can cut out the brain breaks and place on sticks (glue or velcro!) and simply just pull a stick when needing a break!  (You can have students pull as well!)



Select a few that you want to do throughout the day.  Place the cards into a pocket chart so they are visible for students.  Simply select (or let a student!) pick a card. This just lets them see the options for the day!


Want it to be a surprise?


Place all of the brain break cards into a bag and just pull a break out when needed!



These cards do NOT have to be the only breaks you choose from.  

You can use technology and pull up GoNoodle (which is also one of the choices in the brain break cards pack!) Set up a FREE account..... and you won't regret it!!!

You can also head on over to YouTube and search "Cosmic Kids Yoga" which has MANY different children-safe yoga videos ranging from 5 - 30 minutes.  AND .... each yoga episode tells a story!  My kiddos LOVE this!  It's also great for indoor recess!  




So.... it's not too late to start brain breaks.... and what better time to start than at the end of the year when our student's attention NEEDS to be refreshed often!!!!

You can check out the 36 breaks in the pack by clicking below:



Off to finish up some growing bundles.... plan for the week.... and enjoy the rest of Sunday!


Happy Teaching friends!!


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Teachers: You are NOT alone!

Dear Teachers Everywhere,

I know many of you are probably counting down the days until summer.  Don't Lie.  We've all done it.  Maybe this is the school year that has you questioning why you became a teacher.  You have THAT class this year.  Behavior problems.  Lack of parent support. Maybe lack of administration support.  You are up to your elbows in things to do and the list keeps getting longer.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

We as educators have all been there (and may be there now).  You feel over-whelmed. Not all of your students are where you want them to be academically. Maybe you aren't getting along with a team member.  Your evaluation didn't go as planned.  You have a parent that just doesn't have a nice word to say about you.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Maybe you raised your voice more today that you would have liked.  You didn't have the *perfect* lesson today.  You ran around trying to make copies because you used your conference time to call a parent or went to an ARD meeting.  You forgot to email a parent or team member back.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Perhaps you have a student (or three) in your class this year that leaves you crying at the end of the day.  You can't quite put your finger on why their behavior is the way it is.  You haven't made that connection yet.  You don't how to make it better and your patience is fading quickly.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Maybe you are considering staying at home next year.  You have new baby on the way or  You have supplemental income that will allow you to stay home.  You don't know the best way to tell your administration or team in fear that they will be "mad" at you.  You're juggling with the thoughts of should you stay or should you leave?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Jealousy.  Tell me it doesn't happen in the workplace and I'll call you a liar.  It's sad....but it's there.  Teachers are trying to "out-do" another teacher.  Teachers are marching up to the administration to gloat about themselves or to make another teacher not look as good.  Teachers are bashing other teachers because they are jealous. Some teachers have yet to understand that by working together you could achieve more success than ever before.... instead of trying to compete against one another.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

To the first year teachers..... I'm sure you are about to jump for joy after completing your first year of teaching.  and you should. You are in the greatest profession out there.  Give yourself a pat on the back because I know this year wasn't your easiest!

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Guess What?!  Each and every single day that you step into your classroom... YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You have a room full of students that absolutely adore you.  Many want to be you.  Some already think of you as the greatest influence in their life right now.  You were chosen to have this specific group students and you have to give them your everything!  A simple smile in the morning.  Greet them.  Let them share something special.  Look at them when they speak.  Acknowledge them.  It doesn't take much.  I know all of the stuff above happens in a school and sometimes we feel worthless.  We feel like we don't matter.  YOU MATTER.  You matter to your students.

I'll be the first to admit....Everything mentioned above is something that describes some point in my ten year teaching career.

So as you head into the last weeks of school.... the home-stretch I like to call it.... think of the reason we come to school each day.  It's not for the paycheck.  It's not to be overwhelmed or to see another teacher that we may not be the best of friends with.... it's for the kids.  Make every day count until the last day.

Just trust me when I say.... YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Teachers should support every other teacher.  We are the only ones who know how demanding, yet rewarding our job is.  No one else will understand a teacher.... except a teacher.  So teachers...... YOU GOT THIS!

Sincerely,
A teacher who has been there before!
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Earth Day Freebies!

Can you believe that we are already talking about Earth Day?  Yes... the end of April will be upon us soon! 

Earth day is such a great opportunity to share all about our Earth, taking care of our Earth, recycling, and all things in between!  However.... some of these concepts can be a bit tricky for our younger friends!  



I wrote a post last year that has some Earth Day ideas for our younger students and you can check that out by clicking HERE!


Inside the post linked above you will find the freebie, as well as picture examples and ideas for your little ones!


Hope you had a great Easter!



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Main Idea (for our younger students!)

Let me just say..... we've officially hit Spring Fever down here in Kinder-World..... please tell me I'm not the only one.  Every.Single.Day feels like the first day of school all over again!  I'm telling you.... this full moon and end of year crazy vibes has the kiddos forgetting every.single.thing that they had learned about following directions and behavior!  Can I get an Amen?

With that being said.... we still have 6ish weeks left which is still full of content and learning for these kiddos!

Down in Kinder-Land... we are about to hit the lovely and favorite topic of "Main Idea" in our reading plans.  You know.... that Main Idea that pops up in every state assessment in the older grades?!  The Main Idea that has kids just guessing an answer because they ALL seem correct?  Yep.... it's THAT Main Idea!

A few years back our campus took a CLOSE look at our state reading assessments in 3rd and 4th grade and really wanted to hone in on what questions were most often missed.  Guess which ones were most missed?   Yep.... the Main Idea questions!

SOOOOOO...... the campus got together and really wanted to make sure that ALL grade levels were exposing their students to this main idea concept..... even the youngest of the young!

So...... what's the easiest way to teach Main Idea to younger students?

Our main goal for our younger students is to understand that there is ONE big theme with smaller components that fit within that theme.  We do NOT need to get technical with text just yet with our younger kiddos, at least not independently.  Whole group discussions are GREAT with your shared reading time allowing for students to hear and share parts of the text and to hear the vocabulary being used.

One of the best things I have found is to use what our kids already know!  THEMES they are familiar with!

I created these theme cards (Main Idea) with the smaller components (details) that fit with that theme that we can use and sort whole group and even independently!



The large title cards are the main idea..... the smaller cards are the details.  Each main idea has 4 detail cards that go with it!


Want to have a little fun or take it a step further?

Try this:


Students will have to find the two cards that do NOT belong with the main idea!  This is great for assessing, whole group challenges, or just a fun extension!


After using the sorting visual cards, students can use the templates/printables  to illustrate their own details.  They can choose to use the same four details from the sort.... or again, you can challenge your students to come up with one detail of their own that would also fit with the main idea theme. 


I have included a printable for each of the visual main idea/detail sorts as well as a blank one that students can use if needed! 

And last (but definitely not least!) if you are into interactive journals or want to spice up a literacy station.... I created two interactive templates that your students can do!


The pictures on the top of the flap are the details and students will be finding the main idea card to paste under the flap!  (2 different versions are included!)


Sooooo..... next time you get to Main Idea for your younger students.... remember:  it doesn't have to be so hard!  Visuals are key!  Getting our students to understand what Main Idea truly is.... will help them in the older grades when they do have to apply it with their text!


Want to grab all of this for FREE?! 


Just click the picture above.... or click HERE!



Happy Hump Day Teacher Friends!




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