Brain Breaks

I think they do make a difference!
Howdy friends!  This is Karla Cherwinski from – no I’m not down south YET but I am looking forward to my trip to the Organization of American Kodály Educators conference in Atlanta from March 20-22!  It has been a few years since I’ve been able to attend a national conference and I have missed it so very much!  I can’t wait to spend time with friends I only get to see once a year as well as meet new Kodaly inspired teachers who share my approach to music education!  Are you going to be there?  If so, give a shout out in the comments section – would love to see as many of you as I can!

The inspiration for this blog post came from fellow teachers at my school, Indian Trail Elementary a kindergarten through 2nd grade building (about 850 students) in Canal Winchester, OH.  It has been a long, snowy and cold winter here in OH and the kids really need to get outside and blow the stink off (as my mother would say) but due to the cold they can’t do it at school or at home!  In a Kodály inspired classroom, we have brain breaks built right in naturally, but classroom teachers do not have the same situation. My teaching colleagues were discussing creative ways to get the students up and moving during inside recess as well as ways to give them some brain breaks throughout the day in order to maintain concentration and focus for learning.  I am very fortunate because I am included in these conversations and even sought out when they are looking for ways to improve their daily school experience.  My teachers and administration get that music is not just an extra but a necessity to a well-rounded education!

We are fortunate that everyone can access the Internet (yes – even YouTube!) as well as we all have a SmartBoard that can be turned into a big screen TV for viewing video's in our classrooms.  If you have done any looking around for these brain breaks, you are probably aware that they usually involve MUSIC!!!  So, I’m going to share a few of my favorites, these are not used for the purposes of fulfilling the music curriculum but rather to expose students to something new, get the blood pumping and the brain ready to learn, or to fill those 2-3 minutes that you have at the end of class.

#1 – GoNoodle – I just learned about this last week from the blog Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreation and can’t wait to try it out in my classroom! 

You do need to create an account but it is FREE and it allows you access to all the brain breaks they have.  What I really like about this site is that it allows you to set up classrooms where the avatar ‘grows’ the more you do brain breaks.  It is a really fun way to get students engaged and I think they will really like it!  The songs are for all age levels and include Dinosaur Stomp, Dancing Robots, The Continental Drift, Cupid Shuffle, “Run With Us” where you go through training to run in different track and field events – you are even ‘coached’ by Olympic athletes!  I think there is great potential here for ALL teachers to get their kids up and moving!

There is even research that supports the GoNoodle idea of brain breaks and improved student performance.

#2 – Wii Just Dance Kids – Did you know that you can find just about anything on YouTube! Ha!!!  I like to fill those few extra minutes with Wii Just Dance Kids.  In preparing for this blog, I just learned that there are new ones out there from the Wii Just Dance Kids 2014 game!  My students LOVE Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed but I can’t wait to try out What does the Fox Say?, I Like to Move It, and The Chicken Dance! Simply search Wii Just Dance Kids and you will get lots of results.

Here is a short clip of my K's doing Five Little Monkeys and it just happened to be pajama day when I video taped them!

#3 – Move It!  and Move It 2! – I felt like a genius when I realized that I could just put the John Feierabend’s DVD right up on the SmartBoard and have the kids learn right from him!  you know - one of those "why didn't I think of this before" type of moments!  This is great to do when you have a sub or want to introduce a movement activity to your students for a future performance.  I have found better buy-in from the students when I present the activities this way and it is fun to be on the other side of the teaching for a change – I get to do the movements WITH my students not for or in front of them.  I think that they have liked that too!  If you are not familiar with this resource, please check it out, they are a little pricey but worth every penny in my opinion. Both DVDs are available through WestMusic.

Best wishes for a happy and warm spring with lots of great fun had in all of your music classrooms!!!


1 comment

  1. I love brain breaks but I haven't heard of GoNoddle. I'm on my way to check it out! Thanks, Karla!


Back to Top