Episode 27: Three MAJOR Misconceptions!Nov 08, 2022
PUMPED to address these huge misconceptions with you today!
Here are the links mentioned in this podcast!
All of my Brain Break Blogs
10 Day brain break challenge
Rock, Paper, Scissors Brain Break Blog
Hand Jive Brain Break Blog
Connect with me:
Welcome to Teaching la vida loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity and guidance in centering joy and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most, our students, I'm your host, Annabelle. Most people call me La maestra loca. And I'm an educator just like you, and inspiring teachers is what I do. Hello, and welcome to episode 27 of teaching la vida loca. I am really excited about today's episode, because it came to me on my drive home as I was thinking like, oh, I really need to record a podcast to go out this week. And I was thinking, I don't know what's new, what could I share that's new. And then I realized, I don't have to talk about what's new, I can talk about something that's super familiar, that I'm wildly passionate about, that a lot of people know me for, that I haven't necessarily targeted yet in my podcasts. And it's something that I share frequently in podcasts, can you guess where I'm going? You got it, brain breaks.
In this episode, I'm not going to share specific brain breaks, but rather misconceptions of what brain breaks are or how they function, I'm just going to share three because I'm trying to keep these short and sweet and digestible during your drive to or from work, because that's when I tend to listen to podcasts. But even if you don't listen on your drive, it's nice to have them short and sweet. And something that you can walk away with quickly and apply. Now, the reason I say you can apply these misconceptions is because some of you are holding back from really using brain breaks effectively in your class, because you may or may not be holding some of these misconceptions in your mind. Now, you might only have like a portion of this or believe a portion of one of these misconceptions. But regardless, they are misconceptions that we need to like, completely remove from your mind.
And the first of which is that brain breaks are really long, that brain breaks take a long time to do, oh no, my air conditioning kicked on, let me go and fix that hold on. Shout out to Ellis also loco for doing that for me. So, brain breaks don't have to be long. In fact, it's not a brain break. If it's long. It's a game if it's long. In fact, when my students are like begging for longer brain breaks, I'm like, No, it's not a game. And I explain the pop-up theory of why we do brain breaks, we do brain breaks because we need a short, quick burst, or break in the rigor of listening to me speaking the target language for so long. Because my goal is 90%. But once I'm in it, and right now I'm in it we are in November, we're cruising, I'm speaking generally 95% of the class time in Spanish, that is rigorous, it is incredibly rigorous to listen to me speak in the target language, they need a break in the input. So, it's important to give these tiny, tiny bursts of rest from listening to that Spanish all the time. But it's never that long. I only have 45 minutes a day with these kids, which I know is luxurious and amazing in elementary, but I still only get 45 minutes with them. It's not enough time to spend 3–10-minute sections of the class playing brain break. That's my whole class. My brain breaks are 30 to 60 seconds long, maybe 90 seconds if we're feeling so joyful, I can't even stop us. The only time I'm brain break lasts longer than 90 seconds is the first time I introduce it. Because the first time I introduced a brain break, it takes a second for me to explain instructions, set up expectations, model it so that the next time we do it, I don't have to go through all of that. Kids know how it works. Kids know what the expectations are, what it sounds like, what their bodies look like, etc. Once it's set up, it's golden. It's never longer than 60 seconds, 90 at the absolute most. And then you go straight back into instruction, straight back into whatever input activity you were doing. It might have been listening, it might have been reading, whatever it was you were doing before the brain break, you jumped straight back into it.
The second misconception that I want to address is that brain breaks are important for little kids, and great for movement for littles, but that high schoolers don't need them. Whoa, giant misconception. People, in general, need brain breaks because the rigor again, listening to the target language is tremendous. In our classroom, it is so so challenging to stay on track with us to stay engaged. Even for our students who are naturally engaged and want to be teacher pleasers, it is so important for their brains to get a break. Also, let's just take a second to recognize that high schoolers are moving so much less than their day than our elementary students. When we think about their recess time, or their downtime, they're not running around. Most of them are not running around. Some of them who play sports after school, sure they're getting movement after school, but during their school day, they're not getting to move that much. So, getting to move in your world language classroom. Wow, how unique, how special, how different, and how desperately needed, not just because your classroom needs it, because you're speaking in the target language. But how awesome that they have this movement break in their day, hopefully several depending on what what class it is and what brain breaks you're using.
The third and final misconception that I want to address is the fact that many people avoid brain breaks because they're like, Yeah, I don't want to, you know, break the environment that I worked so hard to create in the target language, I don't want to go and do all these silly brain breaks in English. I would say 90% of my brain breaks are not in English 90% of my brain breaks are either silent or in the target language. Now when I say in the target language, it is not the purpose of a brain break is not to have them practice or use more language. Or think about language, the purpose of a brain break is for them to have a break and have fun. And for you to inject joy very easily into your classroom, for you to build community without really trying in your classroom. That is the purpose of a brain break. There are many purposes of a brain break. But the purpose of a brain break is never to teach more language. I lied. There are a couple brain breaks I use to teach language. However, it's never hard. It's never exhausting for their brains. It's never work. Because what they're doing the rest of our class is work. It's hard work. So when I say target language brain break, it's things like instead of them saying Rock Paper Scissors shoot in English, instead of them saying in Spanish because it's way too much. They say uno dos tres. Today we were doing the hand jive brain break choco choco La La choco choco de de choco choco choco choco latte. I will link that blog as well as my Rock Paper, Scissors, blog. But my hand jive brain break. Today, we added in the variation of Hey, y'all, you can do any four-syllable word. Mariposa. Guatemala. Mandakini. Yeah, any four-syllable word. If you teach French, you could do... Oh my gosh. Can you do hippopotamus? Hippopotamus? I don't know if that's French or Spanish. I don't know what I'm doing. Chinese teachers you could do? I want to eat food. Any four syllable words fits into that hand jive. Again, I'll post a link to a blog and some videos. But the point of a brain break is just fun is just joy. It's a break in the rigor. It's injecting joy, it's building community. It does not have to be in English. That's a huge misconception. You don't have to worry about breaking that environment that you're working so hard to create with your students. But you can't get angry if they're joking and laughing in their L1 while they're doing these brain breaks. That's part of the joy that you're unleashing and unlocking for them. Because you know, in 90 seconds, you're going to be back in the target language, back teaching, their back to listening. And guess what, they're going to be 100 times more engaged than two minutes earlier, right before you did this brain break, I promise you.
If you need help getting started with brain breaks, and you need like a where to start, I'm going to link to things in the show notes for you. The first thing I'm going to link is a link to my blog. And it'll be a shortcut link so that you're automatically linked to all of my brain breaks that I've ever blogged about. I'm blogging about a new one this week. So, stay tuned. And then the second thing I'm going to provide you with is a link to my 10 Day brain break challenge. This is a free resource that I created for teachers to use in their classroom with their students. If that's not something that you want to do, that's fine, you can pre watch the videos. But each day in this 10-day, brain break challenge has a different video, me recording it, me talking to your students as if I'm teaching them with you facilitating it and teaching them a new brain break. You can do one a day, you can do one a week, you can do one every other day, however you want to break it up. And you can actually have me actually teach the brain break to your students. Again, if that doesn't sound appealing, watch the video in advance, learn the brain break and then introduce it to your kids how you want to on your terms with your twists with your input with your spice and flavor. Because there's only one person who can be you. There's only one me. So be authentic and true to yourself as you introduce these brain breaks. And feel free to give it your own flair. If you love it, and you want to talk to other people about it, please make sure to give credit where credit is due and let people know where you learn about it. direct them to my 10 Day brain break challenge. I'd love to get more teachers in on it, and then come back and let me know how it goes. Email me, tag me on social media, I want to know how the 10-day brain break challenge is for you. If you've already done the 10-day brain break challenge. Maybe you did it last year when I released it. Do it again. I'm sure you have new students’ new classes. And I'm sure the old students in your other classes wouldn't mind doing the challenge again, I'm really excited to hear how it goes. And if you use any of the other brain breaks that I linked in the blogs, I'd love to hear about those too. Thank you for supporting me, and for listening. Until next week, I'll be teaching la vida loca and I'm sure you will be too. Take care.
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