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30 Day eLearning Challenge

Day 24 #30DC14: Need A Brain Break?

Who needs a brain break?

Brain Breaks are a useful tool for students to use to help activate, energize and stimulate their brains. Research indicates that brain breaks help students relieve stress.  Exercise boosts brain power.  Cardio activity increases oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain and increases students’ ability to concentrate.  What does this look like in the classroom?  Go Noodle helps answer that question.

What is Go Noodle?

Go Noodle is an online tool that is filled with safe videos that help students find their focus, by stretching, moving, and breathing.  Videos range from 2 minutes to 5 minutes, giving teachers lots of flexibility in planning.

How to get started with Go Noodle

Getting started is quick, easy, and free!  You begin with your information:

 

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Next, it’s time to name your class:

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After naming your class, it will be time for your students’ favorite part: it’s time to pick your CHAMP!  You can change your Champ at any time.  As your class accumulates minutes from videos, your Champ’s muscles will grow; students love that!

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Before each video, you will see your Champ, along with a fun fact:

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Suggested First Steps

It is helpful to review the videos before trying them with students.  There are some videos that are more appropriate for older students, such as “Cha Cha Slide,” while others may be best suited for primary students, including “Don’t Give Up,” with Bruno Mars and The Muppets.

It won’t be long before students pick out their favorites, such as “Let it Go,” “Everything is Awesome,” or “The Continental Drift,” all from recent popular movies.

Think about times throughout the day when students are asked to sit for long periods of time; these are great opportunities to try Go Noodle.

Why it Matters (Teaching Rubric)

Teachers are responsible for presenting instructional content that uses a variety of ways to engage students and maintain their interest, extend and apply content, concepts, and academic vocabulary appropriately. (2.2)

For lesson pacing and structure, Go Noodle provides an appropriate way to structure transition time between activities so that instructional time can have its greatest impact. (1.1)

Additional Resources

Go Noodle has a YouTube Channel.  This is a great tool to use to view some of the videos.  All the videos are included on their website.

Go Noodle has a Facebook page that has helpful suggestions and this page is used to announce new videos.

The Go Noodle Blog is a very helpful resource, filled with recommended strategies for the videos.

Have questions or suggestions on how to improve this tool?  Follow Go Noodle on Twitter.  They add new videos and resources quite often, and they rely on teachers’ feedback for improvement.

Your Challenge

Reflect on your daily schedule.  When would be a good time to get students up and get them moving?

Is there a test coming up in which the breathing and stretching exercises could benefit your students?  Give Go Noodle a try.  Get that cardio going!

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26 comments

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Gayle Kiesel December 4, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Brain Breaks are important for everyone, including the teachers. The videos would be great fun for the younger students. I can see it being tough in the high school environment, even for the teachers. There is a lot of concern about image in the high school student world. I like Chad’s idea of developing some of his own based on the Go Noodle content. Not quite sure it works well in a Media Center environment though.

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Chad Fetscher December 2, 2014 at 10:14 am

When HHS first looked at going to block one of the best things we were given in our PD was a chart showing 15+ ways that a 90 minute block could be broken smaller “chunks” of time. I love the concept that GoNoodle has in giving a student a chance to breathe, move, and for the brain to process the last 15 to 20 minutes of instruction and interaction. I signed up and watched many of the videos and thought, wow my 5 year old would really love this but I have 14-18 year olds who can be a tough crowd. What I am going to do is take the concept and having my own media to offer those much needed brain breaks to my students. I currently use quiz sites like Sporcle for my brain breaks or videos on the yahoo news feed.

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Shane Brogan November 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I love giving brain breaks. Most of the time I just tell a story or we stand up and breathe. I have been also known to challenge students for most consecutive push ups, but I don’t do it everyday. I feel like noodle can mix it up a little. I have a block math class in which I need breaks. Even I get tired of teaching all period long especially by the middle part of the day. I will try this in the next couple of weeks when students are getting tired of school and ready for Christmas break.

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Heather Coy November 30, 2014 at 10:15 am

I agree with Peter, that GoNoodle may not be well-received by my high schoolers – at least not on a regular basis – but I’ll give it a try. It is important when teaching on a block schedule to get students up and moving at different times during the 90 minute period. I give my sophomore honors students brain breaks in different ways – we do short activities that get them thinking creatively or challenge them to show what they know. They like to use their minds, but also like to take a break from using their brains for class content. We solve lateral thinking and critical thinking puzzles, brainstorm possible interpretations of Droodles, and take trivial quizzes on JetPunk.

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Stacie Inman November 29, 2014 at 2:51 pm

I absolutely LOVE gonoodle! It’s the perfect tool for my classroom. This is the first year I have used it, and it’s SO much fun to take a break, dance along with the students, and recharge for the next activity. Students get excited and are completely refocused after the break. I’m also loving the adventure tools Linda Lutz shared.

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S Wright November 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm

My fifth graders LOVE GoNoodle! I use it at the beginning of the day to get them energized because many of them don’t sleep enough at night and come in groggy. I used it on the first day of school this year, sort of as an ice breaker activity, but also as a way to have fun and work out the first day nerves. I haven’t used this before a test, but that’s my next step. You know something is useful when the kids beg to get to do it, especially upper elementary kids. Some of the videos are too lower level for them, but they love the Zumba videos! I like that they add content often, so the kids don’t get bored using the same videos over and over.

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Melissa Mayer November 25, 2014 at 2:11 pm

We started Go Noodle brain breaks last year during testing time. Teachers and students alike enjoyed the engaging and fun breaks so much that we have bought a subscription to it this year. Now every grade level uses it at various times during the day. The teachers really enjoy using them to gather the class back after a recess or lunch period. It lets the students get that little bit of extra energy out and then get back together as a class. They like searching for the just right video for their class. While we have the paid subscription there are plenty of great videos for free on the site. I highly recommend it for any grade level.

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Patricia Claybaugh November 24, 2014 at 5:06 pm

I am a big fan of Brain Breaks. They are a great way to help students focus. I especially appreciate Brain Beaks after the students have had indoor recess. I will put on a Brain Break and afterwards they always seem to be able to focus better. Go Noodle is a resource I have used in my room for a couple of years. It is my go to Brain Break source. I do think that Go Noodle offers enough in the free version without it being necessary to buy the premium package. I love the variety of video Brain Breaks they feature and appreciate that they change them often.

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DeLyn Beard
DeLyn Beard November 25, 2014 at 9:45 am

Thank you for sharing your reflections, Pat. I’m so glad to hear this tool has been successful for you and your kiddos! I agree with you; I’ve used the free version and my students and I loved all the videos.

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Kelly Bratcher November 24, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Like some of the other high school teachers have stated, the older students might be apprehensive about participating because they would be worried about looking silly or not being cool. However, I think they would appreciate some of these during finals week. I would need to be selective when picking them. I think they would like the relaxation & mediation ones I have see. Some of them would participate in the Yoga. High Schoolers can be lazy at times. I could even see doing this right before a test. They have slower ones geared toward focusing. They would be down with that.

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DeLyn Beard
DeLyn Beard November 25, 2014 at 9:42 am

Great ideas. If you give it a try, let us know how they like it and whether or not you see a difference in their levels of focus.

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sfeller2013 November 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I love Go Noodle for a Brain Break! It depends on the class as to how long the students should be in class before getting a brain break! The lower grade students might need a two minute brain break after a little over an hour of work. I love the video on ants in your pants, which is geared toward the younger students. The children could even dance with the guy on the video and get their momentum going. Of course the girls will love the Frozen video

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DeLyn Beard
DeLyn Beard November 25, 2014 at 9:39 am

Great points.
You’re right about the Frozen video, indeed!
A favorite of my 4th graders was always “Happy.”

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JD Weagley November 24, 2014 at 10:52 am

I need to work more on allowing for brain breaks with my students. My first thoughts of Go Noodle when I have seen it is that it seems very elementary to me, but after checking out some of the videos, I could see my middle schoolers getting into it. I will have to give this one a try over the next couple of days to see how it works with my groups.

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DeLyn Beard
DeLyn Beard November 25, 2014 at 9:37 am

Have them try try the “Cha Cha Slide!” Ha! Let us know how it goes. Good luck!

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Leah Simon November 24, 2014 at 10:34 am

I agree brain breaks are needed to break up a 90 minute period at the high school level. In my lesson plans, I plan in time for people to get up an rotate, get supplies, turn something in in the middle of class, something to get up. And I have a relaxed enough classroom that if someone needs to get up and throw something away they do. I can’t imagine taking a few minutes to do a video in my classroom.

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DeLyn Beard
DeLyn Beard November 24, 2014 at 1:26 pm

You’re right – 90 minutes is a very long time to be asked to sit still – for anyone. I’m glad you encourage your students to get up and move around a bit.

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Keshia Seitz November 24, 2014 at 9:41 am

I know I need a brain break from time to time! I think many of the teachers in my district already employ a similar strategy in their classrooms, only minus this tool. They tell kids to get up, stretch, etc. However, I love that these videos provide something for the kiddos to focus on while they are engaged in the activity. In my own classroom, I would have the kids stretch, stand up, walk around, etc., but frequently they weren’t truly focused on the task at hand because they were more engaged with looking at and talking to their peers. This is a great idea. I can see myself using this in professional development sessions as well to get my teachers up and moving, while also sharing/modeling a cool new tool/resource to use in their classrooms! Love it!

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DeLyn Beard
DeLyn Beard November 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Thanks, Keshia! I can’t wait to hear how you try it with your teachers!

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Peter Barringer November 24, 2014 at 7:58 am

I’m not sure how Go Noodle would go over with my high school students. Oddly enough, I think many of my upperclassmen would be more willing to engage with the videos. My freshmen have the “cool” vibe down pat, which is unfortunate because they are the ones who need the movement/refocus breaks. I like the concept of the site, though. I know a teacher in California who starts her yearbook and journalism classes with one minute of yoga, and that seems to help them focus.

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DeLyn Beard
DeLyn Beard November 24, 2014 at 8:29 am

Thanks for your thoughts.
There are some popular videos included that may appeal to older students, such as “Brave,” by Sara Bareilles. Another popular one is “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams. You can also make suggestions; they seek feedback as they add new videos.

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Jo Burns November 24, 2014 at 7:07 am

This is a great site for the brain break activities we ALL need. I was unable to view the video clip link as it was again blocked by the filters, however, I went directly to GoNoodle and signed up. It was very easy and there were quick clips already on file to use. Very engaging for students and teachers.

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DeLyn Beard
DeLyn Beard November 24, 2014 at 8:32 am

Your students will love the videos! It’s impossible to “move” along with a video without smiling! My 4th graders never wanted to stop at just one video. I love this tool!

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aknueven (@MrCoachK15) November 24, 2014 at 6:29 am

Signing up and watching a handful of videos, I think this would be a fun activity and brain break for classes but I’m finding more of the videos tailoring to younger students. There are lots of different sections that probably the YouTube section would be where teachers of older students would lean towards. I’m trying to think of how to implement it and think that having it be part oft he beginning or end of the class period would be the most effective time and making it part of a routine that a student can choose which video the whole class watches. There are usually those few couple minutes at either end that this could be plugged into.

However, I’m a little confused with the characters if the whole class is watching it together or does each student create an account where they watch the videos individually? Space in a classroom would make me lean towards the whole class doing this together with it projected. How has this been done in other classes?

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DeLyn Beard
DeLyn Beard November 24, 2014 at 8:37 am

I love the idea of having a student pick the video(s). I did that on days when a student had a birthday.

I’ve seen it used most often as a class activity; the class has one “creature” and as minutes are accumulated, his/her muscles grow larger. I had more than one class of fourth graders, so I had two different classes and creatures. The students loved challenging the other class and always wanted to see who had earned more exercise minutes. You can create more than one class using just one account. Does that make sense?

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aknueven (@MrCoachK15) November 24, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Thanks and yes it makes sense/helps!

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