three brain breaks

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1.     Mystery Challenge

 

Blow up several balloons, and inside put pieces of paper with messages. Organize the children into small groups, and give each group a balloon. They place the balloon on the floor, and together sit back-to-back on it until it bursts. Alternatively they can place it on the table and all push down on it with one hand. They then read the message and undertake the challenge. It may be to think of three important things that they learned in science, or to write six interesting phrases for a story about The Haunted House, or anything else that will reinforce learning or set a fresh challenge. Once they have worked as a team to burst the balloon they will be invigorated and ready to and rise to the challenge.

 

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2.     The Big Picture Challenge

 

You can use this activity simply to teach group work skills and to alter the mood in your class, or you can use it to also reinforce a teaching point. Divide the class into two teams. Each team needs a large area on which to draw, such as a flip chart, half the whiteboard, or a large sheet of paper taped to the wall. By each team, put a selection of colored marker pens. Give the children a challenge, such as:

 

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An elephant taking tea

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A rhino having a bubble bath

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A rabbit getting married

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A gorilla mowing the lawn

 

Each team must draw a picture. Children take it in turns to go to the board, draw for about ten seconds, then touch hands with the next player, who goes to the board to take his turn. Use a funny instrument or hooter to make the signal to swap places, and keep the pace fast. Each child should have long enough to draw a little, but the fun is from the feeling of speed. Work out a system for ensuring that turns are taken, and tell the children that at any time you will blow the final hooter and the game will be over. If you wish to teach or reinforce a key point through this activity in addition to creating a positive mood in the class and developing team-work skills, make the drawing challenge one that reinforces work done in class, such as:

 

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A kettle creating condensation on the window in a very messy kitchen

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An elephant made only of triangles

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Henry VIII taking tea with one of his wives

 

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3.     The Silly Sound Game

 

For this activity you need a variety of instruments for making funny sound effects. Hooters, whistles, rattles and props such as magic wands or vegetables are better than proper musical instruments, especially if they are visual in addition to making silly noises. If you do not have enough for every child, create a few funny verbal noises for those without an instrument, and swap around so that everybody has a turn at making sound effects and doing actions.

 

The children all need to be able to see and read aloud a piece of text. This could be written on the board, on an overhead projector, on individual sheets, or in books. Assign each of your funny sound effects to a particular word that you want everyone to remember, or to a punctuation mark. You can also add actions for groups or the whole class. For example, with a paragraph about pollination, when you reach the word ‘pollen’ the children with hooters must stand up, say “Pollen” and hoot three times, but when you read the word ‘stamen’ those with rattles must rattle for a count of three, and so on. With younger children, they could simply look for words beginning with the letter ‘s’ or ending with ‘ing.’

 

You can choose to display the code, to group the children, or to have every child make every sound effect. As long as everyone is involved as you read through the text together, you will generate a lot of laughter and fun, in addition to memorizing key vocabulary and spellings!

Copyright © 2013 Nicola J. Call