Brain Breaking Business

This term we were given the task of integrating one brain break into each 100 minute session at St Luke’s. This task was a focused on K – 4 to see if it made a difference to student outcomes and behaviour.

According to ThoughtCo a brain break is a short mental break from classroom activity that is limited to 5 minutes and is best when it involves physical activity. At St Luke’s we chose to incorporate teacher led brain breaks as well as specialist trained music brain breaks once a week.

As I teach stage two we gathered data from our students along the way to see the impact brain break were having on student learning. Over the four week period the survey way filled out 359 times by 140 students. The data was collected on a Thursday or Friday after nearly a full week of activities.

Across the four week inquiry, 46% of stage two students recorded they always enjoyed brain breaks while 42.1% recorded they enjoyed them most of the time. No students recorded that they didn’t like brain breaks.

However, while this data is useful, enjoyment is subjective. What I was more interested in was students understanding of their bodies post brain break. Were the students struggling to calm down and refocus on the task? Did they find it enabled them to focus better on the task?

The data above shows the most popular responses to the form for how students recorded feeling after the brain break. 40.3% of students recorded feeling ready to learn after the brain break, while 40.9% felt it calmed them down. Only 11 students (3%) felt they couldn’t concentrate or were distracted post brain break. It is important to note for this data students were able to choose more than one option.

We also asked the students what brain break activity they enjoyed the most during the week. Only three students in Weeks 1 and 2 recorded yoga as their favourite activity. Overwhelmingly the students recorded active activities such as red light, green light and bull rush as their favourite activities.

The most popular comment when students were asked if they had anything further to say about their brain breaks was whether it was possible to have more time. A few students wanted more choice integrated into their brain breaks with some students asking if “their class could vote” on their activity.

While this is initial data from only a small portion of the school population, the data is evidently positively skewed towards including brain breaks within the day. As a teacher I found the students, especially in the afternoon session, more engaged with the learning when given a chance to have a break and come back refreshed. It will be interesting to see where this journey takes us next.

Angela

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