March 11, 2014

The Mother of All Brain Breaks Sites--GoNoodle!!

Anybody else knee-deep in standardized testing right about now?  My third and fourth graders have been giving it all they've got on our state tests for the past week +.  The only thing keeping us ALL sane has been GoNoodle!  Let me back up a little bit...In my classroom, we LOVE brain breaks.  Some of them are super quick like a few jumping jacks or chair push-ups, but other time we will take a few minutes for a dance break, quick game, or youtube video.  Spending a few minutes getting the wiggles out and getting our brains relaxed in between lessons during the day definitely pays off when I don't need to waste instructional time DURING lessons redirecting and managing behavior.
Anyways, one of my colleagues introduced me to GoNoodle at exactly the right time--just days before we busted out our state testing booklets.  GoNoodle is a site chock full of awesome brain break videos--everything from Zumba to meditation to track and field simulations.  The site is unique in that you register (for free!) and set up your class complete with mascot.  Then, for every minute your class does on the site, you earn points. 15 minutes gets you to the next level, which basically means your class mascot character grows muscles. The kids LOVE IT.
For the past week, my class has been using GoNoodle like crazy as we waded our way through standardized testing.  As soon as the test booklets have been collected, my kids hurry to move their desks back into place and race to our gathering area for a GoNoodle break.  An hour is a LONG TIME for third and fourth grade brains and bodies to stay still and focused on a test!
Also, because our testing and our specials are in the morning, we have been trying to cram every other subject into the afternoon!  Not an easy task, especially when everyone's brains are drained from testing.  My class works to "earn" GoNoodle breaks for doing great work and focusing during the afternoon subjects.  We will take a quick Go Noodle break after something cognitively demanding like guided reading.  So far the Zumba and Track brain breaks have been our favorites.
I am the FIRST person to stress the importance of not wasting instructional time, but these brain breaks are 100% NOT a waste of time--taking a few minutes to participate not only resets brains and refocuses my class, but my kids also rally together as a team and community to earn their brain break points.  Not to mention the quick bit of exercise!  I definitely plan to make GoNoodle a part of our regular classroom routine even after state testing is over!  Seriously, check it out!

Do you use brain breaks in your classroom?  When do you use them?  What are some of your kids' favorites?

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to try it. Thanks. I do this type of stuff but this looks fun to track it.
    Did you see my blog where we used the foam pieces for multiplication? No biggie but a big hit.


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