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How to re-energize, re-focus and relax in the classroom

How to re-energize, re-focus and relax in the classroom

A recent review of 26 historic studies looking at the impact of physical activity on academic performance has found that children taking part in extra physical activity in school do better in core subject like English and Maths. 

The review, published by the US journal of Paediatrics, studied more than 10,000 children between the ages of 4 and 13 found that physical activity, especially physical education, improves behaviour and cognitive functions in class, particularly in maths-skills and reading.

For those who aren’t yet in the know, a brain break is a short break from learning with the intent to provide students with a mental break to help them re-energize, re-focus and relax. A brain break should take just 1-3 minutes.

With subjects like music and physical education vying for timetable space in the UK, Europe and the US, incorporating brain breaks into lesson time is a technique already employed by many teachers, especially those working with younger children. Teenage students shouldn’t be forgotten either – regular short brain breaks during lesson and revision sessions increases retention, focus and reduces stress levels.  

Using Clevertouch to get kids moving

A central hub in the classroom, Plus and V Series screens provide the perfect platform for brain breaks in class.  You can use your Plus Series browser or the YouTube app to access videos and music tracks that get kids up and moving.  Companies like GoNoodle have proved a hit with schools looking for brain break focused with many free downloadable apps that are age appropriate and free of advertising.  Included with every Plus Series screen, the Cleverstore is another free source of ad-free brain break focused applications. “The drum kit and keyboard app from Nuiteq are a great way of getting younger children moving”, says Rob Xenos, Software Development Manager for Clevertouch. “Logic based games and activities have been shown to help teenagers decompress after periods of high concentration”, he continues.

Sue Cook, a former teacher and Clevertouch Product Specialist, says she has noticed a growing demand for brain break specific content. "I know lots of teachers that wish they had more time and space incorporate physical activities into their lesson planning.  Schools don’t always funding to pay for activities that get kids moving, so we’re developing new brain break focussed applications that will help teachers to deliver fun and effective movement session between core subjects.”

So, when should you schedule a brain break? “It’s best to plan your brain breaks before students feel fatigued or bored”, says Sue. She concludes, “as counter intuitive as it may feel, regularly breaking up the lesson by taking a few minutes to refocus can be invaluable to the student’s productivity overall”.

7 Cleverstore Apps for Brain Break Sessions

  1. Untangle 
    In this game you should Untangle the lines by moving the connection points. Travel through the different levels to test your skills. Great for all ages
  2. Bingo for Kids
    Bingo games for shapes, colours, animals, numbers, letters, words, addition, maths and letters
  3. Drum Kit
    This fun and engaging musical application allows you to play around with an interactive drumkit
  4. Keyboard
    This application allows you to play around with a virtual synthesizer
  5. Pong
    Pong is a remake of the old classic game, with added multi-touch controls.
  6. Tap
    Tap is a reaction game where players have to press buttons that appear at random.
  7. Monster Mingle
    Choose different body parts to help explore the world and uncover each unique island. Discover fun creatures, musical scenery and hidden surprises as your monster plays in this magical kingdom.

7 Youtube Channels To Get Kids Moving 

  1. Debbie Doo
    Great movement routines to simple songs, perfect for younger kids.
  2. Cosmic Kids Yoga
    A big collection of yoga routines presented as adventures for kids. Check out the short 2 minute videos for brain breaks or the longer stories if you have more time.
  3. PBS SteveSongs
    The Steve Songs videos feature a popular PBS performer.
  4. The Learning Station
    A huge range of fun action songs kids will love.
  5. Have Fun Teaching
    Great for young children.
  6. Dance Sweat Live
    The Mini Workouts feature simple dance routines to popular songs. Great for older kids too.
  7. Move to Learn
    Simple, fun workouts for children across a range of ages.

A 'brain break' is a short break from learning with the intent to provide students with a mental break to help them re-energize, re-focus and relax."