When people first begin thinking of the concept of Brain Breaks, they often think of children in an elementary school classroom playing some type of silly game. The fact of the matter is brain breaks are effective for anyone at any age, especially high school students. You may have to get a little creative with brain break games for high school students, but when you find something that works for your particular students, it’s absolutely golden.
Studies are finding that students today are ill-prepared to be able to focus and concentrate like generations before them. With the ever-increasing life of technology surrounding us, our students are not building the same muscle tone that previous generations had. Though this is certainly different, it’s not limiting and is something that we need to be aware of and to work with in the classroom. Couple that with teenagers who are most likely more interested in the social aspect of school then what is actually being taught, and you have the recipe for absolutely needing brain breaks in your classroom.
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Brain Break Games for High School
It seems that High School teachers seem to be the ones who show the most resistance to this concept. The common misconception is that taking a few minutes to perform one of these brain break tasks will completely disrupt the flow of the classroom. Simply put, with all of the expectations of testing and curriculum put on our plates, it seems like this will just waste time and there will not be enough time to cover what absolutely must be taught. On the contrary, utilizing brain break games for high school students will actually help them stay more focused and more productive with the tasks at hand. Brain break games for high school students do not need to be corny. They just need to be something that helps your students get the blood pumping and oxygen flowing to their brain again so they can legitimately focus on their work.
The key to this is knowing your students. If you have a group of fun-loving teenagers who would love to play some of silly brain break games for high school students, then, by all means, go to town. There’s nothing better than a group of older students who want to revert a little bit back to their childhood and play the same games that the younger students will. I have had classes of these types of students before, and they are an absolute blast to work with. They may buy into a game such as Brain Break Bingo or get super competitive with Simon Says. However, finding a full class of students who will buy-in to this is hard to come by (though they are so much fun to have). Given this, you need to make sure that you have different Brain Breaks in your arsenal that would be appropriate for students who are, literally, too cool for school.
Again, how this looks really is dependent on the students that are sitting in front of you. You may need to get creative. It might involve creating something like having a permanent station set up where students can just walk over be able to stretch or perhaps play some type of a game on a bulletin board so they can just have a few moments to move on their own accord. It might be a quick game of “This or That” where you ask a question and students have to move to one side of the classroom or the other depending on their answer. You could quickly split into teams and play a lightning round of “Pictionary” or “Spontuneous” (and to make it fun, you could keep a running score for a specific amount of time to add that competitive buy-in). It might be when they’re having a particularly low focus day getting up and taking a quick lap around the school. There are a lot of possibilities you just have to make sure whatever you’re doing is something that your particular group of students buys into.
The key here is to not give up. You may have a challenging group that isn’t willing to buy into much. That doesn’t mean you should just give up hope. It means you have to find something that works for them. If you’re really stuck, survey them. They’re old enough that they can tell you things that interest them or they think would be fun. If they come up with stuff that’s off the wall, find a way to create something that will work for them in your classroom. The possibilities are endless, and once you have something created, you have it for all time. You may need to tweak it a little bit for the students that are sitting in front of you on any given year, but you already have the template to get yourself going.
No matter what you come up with, the key is just to make sure that you have opportunities for your students to take a moment when they need it. It might be because I need to be energized or it could be because they need to relax. If you have just small opportunities throughout your class to do this, you will get better results from your students then you would any other way. Again it’s worth taking just a few moments (most brain breaks can take less than 5 minutes) to energize and focus your students to give you their best work. It’s worth sidetracking for just a couple of moments in order to get better results in the long run.
At the end of the day, we want to see our students succeed. They are not actually living in a time where they are naturally doing their best in the same fashion that previous generations did and we need to help them achieve more. We know that Generation Z is different from any other generation that has walked into our classrooms. That is the reality; we can’t change that. But we can change how we approach it in our classroom. Brain break games for high school students are not difficult to create, we just need our students to buy-in and then the possibilities are endless.