1. Plan the space and time for three different types of activities: whole group, transitional, and individual.
Whole group activities include the whole class and should happen at the same time every day.
Space: Create physical boundaries for a large area that your entire class can fit in away from your desks. Most teachers use a carpet. Since my class was too large for my 30-square carpet, I extended the boundary next to the carpet with blue painter’s tape. Make sure that kids can move comfortably when their arms and legs are stretched.
Time: These should take place in intervals of 10-20 minutes. Include this time in your daily schedule. We do two of these every day: one has an academic focus, and the other is physical. Our morning academic breaks are during our ELA block. We love Body Spell and Word Jam. During the afternoon, our whole group break is during the last 20 minutes of the day as we are packing up. Our favorites include Indoor Recess, Fresh Start Fitness, and Zumba Kids.
Transitional activities happen more frequently and spontaneously. It’s best to use these when kids are getting wiggly mid-lesson or between subject areas.
Space: Assign spaces that are close to each child’s desk, but not directly behind them. Even if each child does this break in front of their desk or at another student’s desk, it provides a change of scenery to help kids refocus.
Time: Transitions to their “GoNoodle spot” should take no more than 20 seconds.
Individual activities are best for early finishers and students who need time to refocus. They should happen during individual work time. They should be calming brain breaks to ensure that students who are working are not disturbed.
Space: Assign a space that is facing away from the rest of the class. We use our classroom’s “Cool Down Chair”. Students are allowed to turn on any calming brain break they need using the iPad and headphones. If you don’t have an iPad, isolate one desktop computer away from the group.
Time: You may want to create a sign-in sheet to ensure that this space is used to refocus. Have a digital clock somewhere so students can write the time in and out, along with their name. This will help you monitor activity and is a very important document to keep for students with behavioral IEPs.
2. Keep a “cheat sheet” of different breaks and when to use them.
GoNoodle’s favorite feature is awesome for this! Decide which breaks are best for the space your class has, and always make sure you watch a video before showing it to the kids. I can’t always remember the names and the movements so I keep a list in my clipboard at all times.
3. Be a Mindful Neighbor.
Go into surrounding classrooms to make sure that others can’t hear your class GoNoodling during their learning time. If you have thin walls, find out when other teachers are out of the room. We GoNoodle when surrounding classes are using the bathroom or at art and music.
4. Share GoNoodle with Administrators and Parents.
Let your administrator know when your scheduled activity breaks will be. This will help improve your daily communication. My principal tries not to interrupt academic instruction, so she knows that our GoNoodle time is the best time to stop by if she needs urgent paperwork. It’s also helpful during observation cycles, so your principal knows to stop by during instructional time. It took me a few unexpected observations to figure that one out!
Lastly, make sure to share the importance of physical activity breaks with both administrators and parents. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that elementary aged children engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, with at least one 20-minute period of movement during the school day. Check out this blog post for more research-based facts to include in your back-to-school letter or open house presentation.