Get Up: Taking Breaks and Acting Silly in a 1:1 Classroom

I’m not embarrassed to say that often my students look like this when they are working.

Or like this

Yes…his face is blue. He’s a smurf of course.

Or like this

Girls helping each other out during #hourofcode

Or like this

I am very conscious that my students are on their computers a lot. I am very conscious that eye strain, bad posture, and entering a vortex of wikipedia links is a constant concern in a 1:1 environment. Which is why I’ve introduced mini-breaks, which I try to get my kids away from the computer and moving. And after 5-10 minutes of silliness, they get back to work.  

All right. Get up!

At some point in my 90 minute class, I will say the words “All Right. Get Up!”. My kids, with varying levels of groans, will close their computers and stand up. And then we get moving.

Ms. Madrid Says”.

A variation of Simon Says is, for some reason, a student favorite.  This is what it looks like in my classroom.

Ms. Madrid says Reach for the Ceiling

Ms. Madrid says “take a selfie”

What does homework look like? 

I ask my students to act out what homework looks like. Or ask them to do a slow-motion kangaroo. Or I ask them to spell out the alphabet with their whole body. I love the look of concentration on my students face when they are thinking how to express themselves. Sometimes I ask them I just ask them to yawn. 

Monday Morning Yawns. Let’s get the oxygen flowing.


A bit of Pilates. Or Yoga. Or Dance.

One kid came back from Nepal and taught us some yoga moves he learned. Or I try to get my kids to isolate muscles to create movement like I do in Pilates. And some kids take dance lessons and have taught us a couple of moves, like a plié. What always blows my mind is that all my kids try it.

Grace taught the other kids this move.

Not all kids found this move easy.

Second Position.

The ease that kids do this move makes me a little jealous.

Concentrating on using the core to twist.

Shimmy Time

Last year, on the last class day of the week, my grade 6s would have a shimmy break. I loved that every kids had a shimmy style. 

Just Dance!

I’m not sure how I came upon the idea of putting up videos of the Wii Game Just Dance.

But this is an absolute favorite of my students. We put on the videos and we dance. It never fails to make make me smile. And every once in a while, we get the whole school dancing. It’s pretty cool to watch kids just let their guard down and just dance.

Back to work. 

At the end of the game or exercise, I tell them get back to work. And they do.

And after these silly little mini-breaks I swear they are more awake, more engaged, and more smiley. Hard to complain about that.

About Rebekah Madrid

MYP Humanities Instructor. International School Teacher in Japan. Google Certified Teacher. Apple Distinguished Educator. National Board Certified Teacher. Traveler & TV Watcher. This is where I write my thoughts about all of the above.
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4 Responses to Get Up: Taking Breaks and Acting Silly in a 1:1 Classroom

  1. pjcarp13 says:

    Rebekah, thanks for a very fun post. I am often conscious of my students spending a lot of time on screen, in seats, stressing over work. And then I try to remind myself that they are just 12 or 13 years old. The elements of fun you are including in your class and the modeling of healthy balance and breaks is fantastic–good for all of us teaching MS to keep in mind. Additionally, as I am currently in COETAIL course#2 and thinking about my digital footprint, my brand, my online resume, I find your site and particularly this post to be such a fantastic example of the ways that teachers can show who they are, what they do with students, and how they think about education. Kudos!

    • Thanks for your comment! I really do try to have my blog represent what is going on in my classroom and who I am as a teacher. If anyone wants to know my theories and practices around eduction, they really just have to look at my blog. And I love the moments in my classroom when I realize I’m having a blog-able experience with my students. This stretching/brain breaks thing has been a bit of game-changer for me and my kids. They now ask subs for it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  2. Pingback: Bouncy Ball Revolution | Rebekah Madrid

  3. Pingback: Week 3: Current Learning Strategies | COETAIL Online Cohort 3

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