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NILA 2018 - Everybody Needs a Break

What are good brain breaks and brain bursts and why should we do them?   From Martina Bex, Best Ever Brain Breaks
Brain Breaks for Language Classes - Includes information on why breaks are effective.

Hand Jives
Chocolate video - Annabelle Allen with students use other four-syllable words: guacamole, mariposa

Vale, vale video - students speed version

    Vale vale si si 
    Vale vale no no
    Vale si vale no

    Vale vale si no

Chants and songs

Sound Symphony - each student creates a sound, teacher 'leads' the orchestra

El pollo chant - Students form a circle with teacher in middle. Begin by hopping on one foot while singing.

    El pollo, el pollo

el pollo con una pata,

el pollo con otra pata,

    y ahora te toca a ti.

Leader points to a student in the circle who choses another animal (mono, elefante, etc.).

Sing in the Round - short phrase of a song in a round


Apple banana orange:

House Tree Rock - in groups of three, students take on role of the nouns
Variation: Doghouse canoe steeple   
Rock Paper Scissors - in a line, pairs or circle
Feet video - version using feet
Evolution video - Annabelle teaches movements
Pikachu - uses arriba, abajo, al lado, etc.
Train Game - losing student stands behind winner

Hoop hop showdown - use hula hoops in a line on the floor, students do actions as they jump from one to another, can be a competition with extended time

Fotos en vivo - groups recreate photo on screen

Hula en español - leader 'teaches' hula in Spanish

Cross-body Challenge - Students stand, teacher commands movements: grab nose with with left hand and left ear with right hand.

Action lane - use icons or images in a path on the floor, each icon/image has associated action, students do each action as they follow the path

5-4-3-2-1 - Teacher directs students through actions, i.e.: Jump 5 times, raise your right hand 4 times, spin 3 times, walk 2 steps, smile 1 time.


Breathing breaks - examples of breathing breaks


Elefante-jirafa-gorila - in a circle with one student in the center who calls out one name of the animals and points to a student; the student and one student to each side make the correct gestures for each animal


Button Button - one student leaves the room, another hides a button or other object in their hand, first student returns, tried to guess who has it

Ten -

Students stand in a circle. In order, they count aloud the numbers 1-10. Whoever says the number 10 is out and must sit down. The catch is that students are allowed to say 1, 2, or 3 numbers when it is their turn: they could say dos, or dos-tres, or dos-tres-cuatro.

Circle Chairs - Teacher begins in the center, makes a statement (You're wearing a blue shirt.) If statement is true for them, students have to change chairs. Teacher takes a chair, one without is in the center.

(Short, 5 - 30 second, actions)

Brain Bursts - list of ideas by Annabelle Allen

Mirror - in pairs, one student moves hands, arms, etc., other student imitates

High five - teacher exclaims: ¡Chocalas puño! or ¡Dame esos cinco!, students 'high five' three other students

Selfie - teacher gets camera ready, tell students to gather behind her/him, take photo; add emotions

Mannequin - during activity where students are already up and active, tell them they have 10 seconds to decide on an appropriate pose, then count down and exclaim ¡Freeze! then take photos or video of all the students

The Wave - La ola - Exclaim '¡La ola!, students do the wave in their seats, or teacher lead it from left to right, etc.

“Air” write -  with different body parts, write a number or short word in the air

Partner Connect - turn to your partner and retell the story, summarize what we just did, etc.
Using the 

Sentence stems - using short prompts, students pair up to complete the sentences
    Examples: quiero, tengo, voy a, me gusta

Trading Places - students stand, teacher says "Trade places with someone who has the same... color hair, eyes, shirt, shoes, etc. 

Body part dance - using peppy music, teacher calls out body part (arm, finger, foot), students dance with only that body part

Touch the color - teacher calls out a color, students quickly move to touch that color somewhere in the room Would you rather? - Put up color signs. Teachers asks preference questions. Students move as instructed. Example: "Would you rather eat broccoli or sushi? If broccoli move to the red sign. If sushi, move to the blue sign."
target language

Find It Fast - Teacher prompts "Find something ... blue, made of metal, larger than a ____", students move to touch or point at the object.

Continuum - students stand and spread out along a line (diagonal if necessary) indicating how much they love/hate something: broccoli, dancing, taking a trip to Greece (can be used after a unit to extend discussion of a topic)
Keep your students (and yourself) alert and attentive with frequent brain breaks!