On March 13th, I was Vermont Foreign Language Association’s Keynote speaker and workshop leader. I took three planes to get there and when I landed in New Hampshire and was in line to rent a car to drive the rest of the way I discovered that they made the decision to do it all virtually. I knew they’d made the best decision for all of their members but WOAH I had a lot of adjusting to do.
I was very grateful to stay with my friend Allison Litten. She is one of my “go to” elementary experts. Her blog is called CI Can Teach and she posts amazing videos of her kiddos and their classroom experiences to her Instagram channel. Anyways, I was grateful because not only did I get to catch up with a dear friend, but she went through my 160 slides with me and helped me re-think and re-work it all to work better “virtually”. (Little did I know that in less than 36 hours my own state would be moving to teaching and learning from home). One of my greatest concerns was making sure I was still getting everyone participating at home UP AND MOVING for brain breaks… It is easy at an in person workshop… It is MUCH more challenging when I am behind a computer screen just “trusting” that when I say “stand up” everyone watching will do that! HA! Not to mention, I needed to figure out how to adjust and find Brain Breaks that work well for a virtual workshop!
It was then that Allison taught me one of my new FAVORITES (that I’ve tweaked and added to!) She learned it from Justin Slocum Bailey, another friend and genius in our field (and just so happens to be our guest this month in my LIVE! PD Group!)
Here is a video of me doing it in one of my ZOOM classes with 5th and 6th graders.
You stand and face a partner (or in your virtual classroom everyone stands and faces their phone or computer screen) and when the teacher says go (or counts to three) everyone writes the numbers 1-10 in the air as fast as possible and then raises their hand SUPER fast when they’re done!
Some adaptations I’ve made that can make it novel each time you have a class (yes, all of these work for your online classes EVEN IN PRE-RECORDED lessons!):
- Write the numbers backwards going 10-1
- Go all the way to 20
- Say the numbers out loud as you write them
- Have students race to write their names
- This one is funny because some kids have REALLY long names and others have short ones and finish really quickly
- ALSO, students can’t write it left to right, they have to write one letter on top of the other… (see this video of my husband trying to cheat to beat me)
Last week I modeled and demoed 10 Brain Breaks that are good for the virtual classroom in LIVE! with la Loca, and I am trying 10 more with them on Wednesday! I will be working to blog about all of them in the coming weeks! (OR, you can join us in La Familia Loca and play with all of them now! #shamelessplug) For now, start with this one and work on finding ways to get your kids up and MOVING. We are all WAY too sedentary right now… Speaking of… I am going to go take a walk with my baby and my hubby!
Until next time,
Stay happy, stay healthy, stay sane and stay at home!
La Maestra Loca