Give Your Brain a Break!

When I began as the Allamakee School District service member, I was given an Action Plan put together by the School Wellness Working Team and former service member Andrew. This plan outlines past Food & Fitness activities, current initiatives and goals for the future to be accomplished by none other than myself. I was overwhelmed. There was no way I could even begin to accomplish all that was listed, I barely had a school email address!


After a momentary freak out (the first of many to come), I picked the most broad goal: Work with teachers and school staff to provide increased opportunities for students to be physically active throughout the school day, specifically 6th grade students. Below this goal, “brain breaks” were listed as a new project to be pursued. And so began the weekly 5-7 minute activity break held at the beginning of Mr. Stegen’s 6th grade Social Studies classes! So far, the students have done yoga, assorted exercises, and “Stories in Motion” from the Get Movin’ Activity Breaks booklet (See the PDF version Here!), always followed by a few deep breathing exercises.

Throughout December, we have been giving our brains a break by playing a game involving paper plate hats and a whole lot of fun. Pulled from the Minds to Bloom website, the rules are listed below:


“Give each student a paper plate. Students must walk around the room balancing the plates on their heads. If a student drops his or her plate, the student must freeze until another student picks it up and places it back on the student’s head (while keeping his or her own plate in place, of course).”

So, I play a song, students move around saving and sabotaging their friends, and we laugh a lot. At the end, we all sit with our eyes closed and take three deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth, followed by two fun breaths (if you know a student in this class, be sure to ask them to show you “snake’s breath”) before they return to their projects, refreshed and refueled.

To learn more about brain breaks, check out this article published by Boston University.


From deep in the driftless,



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