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Friday, October 17, 2014


In the new book “How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens” (Random House), Benedict Carey says, “The brain wants variation…It wants to move, it wants to take periodic breaks.” Although Carey’s research is focused on older learners, anybody who teaches young children knows this for a fact. You’ve got to vary the stimulus to focus children’s attention, and you’ve got to give them an outlet to release wiggles every 15 minutes. 

Scott Ertl recently emailed me about bouncy bands that he has created so students can bounce their feet and stretch their legs while they work quietly at their desks. Kiss your brain, Scott! I’m sure everyone who is reading this has a child in mind who is a candidate for a bouncy band. (Actually, the person who is writing this blog could use a bouncy band sometimes!) Go to to learn more.
Count Down

If you’ve ever been to one of my workshops you know that this is one of my favorite brain breaks. It’s simple, easy, effective, and a great way to practice balancing.
Shake your right hand and count five times.
Shake your left hand and count five times.
Shake your right foot and count five times.
Shake your left foot and count five times.
Shake your right hand four times…(Do other limbs 4 times.)
Shake your right hand three times…(Do other limbs 3 times.)
Shake your right hand two times… (Do other limbs 2 times.)
Shake your right hand one time…(Do other limbs 1 time.)
Oh, yeah! (Make a circle over your head like an “O” and they outstretch arms like a “Y.”)

*You can do this softer, louder, faster, slower, etc. If children are all wound up do the silent version.
*Count in other languages.
*Do the vowel shake down by shaking each limb as you say, “A, E, I, O, U.” Then shake and say, “E, I, O, U.” Continue until you just say “U.”