Episode 32: Brain Break Ninja

brain breaks Jan 18, 2023
brain breaks

Yay! I am so glad you're here! I've linked the various people and resources mentioned in the podcast below!

Classroom Jobs Course! - Utilize Classroom Jobs to create a positive and supportive learning environment while freeing up time for what matters most – building relationships and connecting with your students.

Classroom Jobs LIVE

Numbers! Brain Break!- get them up and moving! (YAY for connections to other classes)

Allison Litten

Justin Slocum-Bailey

John Sifert

10 Day Brain Break Challenge

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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. 

This Episode 

Welcome to Episode 32 of teaching la vida loca, I'm so happy you're here. And I hope you're doing well wherever you are. If you're not doing well, then I hope that this podcast can bring you some joy and inspiration today, as you get to where you're going, or as you cook, or garden, or I don't know, wherever you're listening. I hope that inspires you today. This episode is going to be short and sweet. And I'm going to tell you about another one of my favorite classroom jobs. Now I have classroom jobs on the brain right now, because I just finished, and we just released our huge course on classroom jobs. And I'll tell you about that in a little bit. But I have them on the brain. And I thought, oh, this is such a good one to tell people about. So, this is my brain break ninja, it came in super handy last week, because I reintroduced a brain break, we hadn't done in a while. And I realized that we had gained quite a few new students in my class that I was teaching at the time.

New Students & Brain Breaks  

When I said Okay, ready 123 Go, do this brain break. I had kids looking around, those newer kids, kind of like a little flabbergasted. But I knew I didn't have to worry. And I didn't have to worry about rushing over to them and explaining it because I already had two brain break ninjas doing that for me. My brain right now, ninjas hop up. And whenever they see a kiddo who looks confused, or flustered, or if they see a kid rushing over to me to say, "I don't know this brain break", those kiddos intercept them, and say, hey, I'm a brain break ninja, I can help you with it. And they teach them the brain break. They explain how it works. They teach them step by step what it looks and sounds like. And then they play with them. While I can take the time to play with my students to check in with a student because maybe I started the brain break to like, get a second to check in with a student who isn't answering questions, or who seems totally disengaged, or who did something amazing in Spanish and doesn't want public praise. Maybe I just need a second to praise them individually, right? Because Brain Breaks are powerful for a million reasons. And I love that I can use them as quick check ins with kids. So my brain break ninjas can completely teach this brain break from start to finish. They're also good for something else. But first, I think it's time for a brain break of our own. Let's do this.

Episode Brain Break

Okay, so the brain break I want to share with you today I called the number game. I learned it first from Allison Litten who I think learned it from Justin Slocum-Bailey, you hide your hands behind your back. And then you say uno, dos, tres, dale, just as you would if you were playing rock, paper, scissors, but this time you pull out one of the hands from behind your back, and you show it in front of you. But you have a number showing on your fingers, for example, 2,1,4,5, etc., right? So, you pull out that number, and the person you're facing also pulls out a number. So, if I say uno, dos, tres, dale, and I'm playing with my friend Shy and Shy has two on her fingers. And I am showing three, we quickly add those together and shout that out in target language cinco. Now, if your students are novice novices and you don't want to have them do this in the target language, they don't have to, but it's not too challenging. And that's why I'm doing it with one hand each. It's always going to be at number 10 or under. 

Million Ways to Play  

But then there's a million ways to make this novel, right? introduce the brain break the first three or four times you play across two or three days. Just play it like that. And then make it novel again by having students do two hands. Then make it novel by having them multiply. You could have them play in groups of three or four or five or have them play in groups as they form them sometimes with one person sometimes grab three friends that are around you. Keeping in mind that brain breaks are supposed to be short and sweet so that you can get straight back to the learning because they are meant to boost the engagement, increase the joy and in doing so you you'll also be creating community. Okay, back to the brain break ninja.

Brain Break Ninja  

Okay, so the other thing that I love about my brain break ninjas, I have a couple in every class. Originally, I created them as a job for the sake of a job. And we talk about that a lot in our course, what is the job for the sake of a job, it's a job that you have to create because you need more jobs, because you have so many students in your classroom. And you need every single student to have a job in order for a whole system of jobs rollout, right. And I really wanted that this year, I wanted a classroom that completely ran itself, so that I can focus on building relationships with my students, and creating a community within my classroom, I knew I was way more likely to be able to do that with more time because I have 900 billion tasks in any given class period, right. So, if I can have students handling all of the tiny tasks, to free up my time, to create community and build connections with students, then boom, I'm winning. So the brain break ninja I originally was like, Oh, God, I need another job. But it's turned out to be so fantastic because of them being able to teach the jobs or sorry, teach the brain breaks to other kids. But also, because when a student isn't playing with someone, and it's not because they don't know what the brain break, but it's because nobody has walked in their direction, or they're not going to be the bold, outgoing one to walk up to somebody to say, hey, let's play. I'm brain break ninjas jobs are to circulate the classroom looking for those kids and playing with those kids to make sure that every single person always has a person to play with. So, my brain break ninjas are those outgoing kids who are also kind to everyone, who also have a lot of energy, who are willing to dart around the classroom looking for those kids who maybe are more quiet to themselves a little bit more reserved. But those kids are as much a part of the classroom community. The brain break ninja can also then encourage them to go play with her and like poof, kind of push them not, you know, not physically push them, but like, help them get to another person to play with, encourage them to take that risk and build more connections around the classroom. And what I've noticed, at least personally, is that that piece of their job has gotten less and less throughout the school year, because they're they've helped people to feel confident enough to go up to somebody and say, Let's play rock, paper, scissors, let's play the numbers game, right. And that's what's really special.  

Classroom Jobs Course  

So, let me tell you a little bit about this course on classroom jobs. We have spent a lot of time putting together tons of modules that are super-duper, short and sweet. We roll out to you exactly how you can establish a whole system of classroom jobs in your classroom, so that your classroom can get to running itself, quite literally, my admin come into my room and they're like, oh, my gosh, it looks like chaos. But then when you stay, take a step back for a second, you see that every child is doing something very intentionally at the beginning of class, and something very intentionally at the end of class and some a few of them during class to help the class run smoothly. And these are things that normally I would be doing, things that normally I would be juggling while teaching or while setting up my classroom or while greeting students, while telling students goodbye, that now I don't do, and a student does. So, I have 24 different classroom jobs. And that's because I have 24 kids in my average class this year. I know luxurious, small compared to some. And it's just completely transformed my classroom. 

So Many Jobs! 

I learned them from John Sifert. John Sifert does them with his high school students and has for a million years. I know lots of other high school teachers who do too. For example, Meredith White, a lot of people came on to our live recently that we did, I'll link to it in the show notes, to talk about why they love classroom jobs with our high schoolers. And now I'm doing them with my elementary kids, right. So, the idea of classroom jobs is everybody has a responsibility to this community, everybody has a place in this community, and you are valued and important, and our classroom can't run without you. Right? So, within those roles, we have described to you in this course 50 different classroom jobs. 50, one of the bonuses in the course is a 90-part classroom job list that John Sifert came up with, but we have rolled out to you our 50 favorite classroom jobs, and they're literally 30 second to two-minute videos to explain how the job functions in our classroom so you can decide whether it would be a good fit for yours. 

Course Bonuses 

The course comes with a course workbook so you can take notes as you go through, and you can think about the individual students who might be good fits for each job. It also comes with a whole bunch of bonus videos, bonus resources to help you get started in your own classroom with jobs. I am super excited about the transformation people are already seeing with classroom jobs. I'd love to read this review for you. I got this from a teacher on Instagram who was just so excited to tell me that she had started implementing classroom jobs with her students. "Annabelle, I'm telling you that today was a much happier, joyful day for my students because I finally implemented the class job system and point system. And I can enjoy class now because I'm not doing all the things on my own, I'm able to better attend to the needs and weather of my students and be more present with them. Thank you." I love that so much. I love that for her. I love that for students. And I love that that was on day one. Like, just wait, just wait. So, John and I are so excited to release this course to you. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you and making it for you. And we can't wait to hear about how it impacts you and your classes. And when admin starts making comments like oh my gosh, how are you doing this? This is incredible. Point them our way say hey, I know some people who can teach more of us about the power of classroom jobs. We would love to support your school in their endeavors to create more community in their classroom, and be able to prioritize what's most important, which is creating those connections with our students. 

Join the Challenge!  

Thank you so much for listening to this episode. I am grateful to be part of your teaching journey. And I can't wait to hear if you implement the brain break ninja in your class. If you're looking for more brain break ideas. Obviously, if you haven't joined the 10-day brain break challenge. It's just a free PDF that you can download and join the challenge in your classroom. 10 days, 10 days, 10 Brain Breaks. Or if you've already done that, and you just need some novelty again, I encourage you to go to my blog and search brain breaks. If you search brain breaks on my blog on my web page. You're going to see every brain break I've ever blogged about scroll through look for a title that looks appealing to you and give it a try. I'm so grateful. Again, thank you for listening, and I look forward to connecting with you next week. Take care!

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