Brain Breaks Part 2: the EXTREME Rock, Paper, Scissors!


YAY! Part 2 of my brain break blogs! Gosh, there are just so many great brain break ideas out there! It is so hard to keep track of them all. In this blog, I will talk about one of the other “favorite” brain breaks people saw me use in a learning lab.

The first week of Spanish class I ALWAYS establish the principal of this game/brain break. I can do it IN SPANISH! Which is awesome, because almost ALL kids (even 1st graders) know and understand Rock, Paper, Scissors. They LOVE it, in fact! So, in Spanish, even with the VERY beginning levels, I model rock paper scissors with a puppet. One of my puppets (a giant frog) has just two fingers, SO EVERY time I play with him, I let him win. I always do Paper, and he always does scissors. So I inevitably always lose and the kids, regardless of age, think it is hysterical. (Yes, older kids think I have lost my mind, but they are entertained which is the important part) 

After I have modeled a few times with my froggy I walk up to a student or two and model with them. I say roca, papel, tijeras, for students who have had Spanish before, but for my newer classes I say uno, dos, tres, DALE! (essentially the equivalent of 1,2,3, shoot! that is said in English). This is how the game is usually played in other countries. Once I have modeled it using students a couple of times, I explain (STILL IN SPANISH WITH VERY SIMPLE LANGUAGE AND LOTS OF MODELING) that when MUSIC is playing (I have pandora pre-loaded and playing at ALL times in the background) the class DANCES, but when the music STOPS students will challenge each other. (If you have apathetic, boring students who don’t dance, even when you model, then just stress the importance of moving their feet, even shuffling around the room).

If you have little students it is good to model this music part with a student that you are sure understands the direction first. Just for extra clarification. Most older students will know what to do. This is a PERFECT brain break that students will LOVE the first week.

The BEST part about it, is once they know it, it takes less than 30 seconds to do it at any point in the class and it makes for an excellent transition if you need a minute to get set up for your next activity. You just announce, ROCA, PAPEL, TIJERAS, 1,2,3 DALE! and hit the music. They will do the rest.

Do you want to know the BEST part about ROCA, PAPEL, TIJERAS!?!??!! You can play it with SO many other games!!!! GAHHH! It is so awesome! So just when you thought you had ONE great brain break idea, I am about to blow your mind and give you 3 more! YAY!

  • EVOLUTION!- This game I always teach quickly and briefly in English. Y’all saw it at IFLT and thought I was a magician for setting it up so quickly with students. I taught it for literally 60 seconds in English the day before you saw it, and the kids learned it FAST. SUPER FAST. (I do believe this could also be taught slowly in the TL, however, I tend to like to explain new games quickly in English to get to more input in the lower levels) I saw Evolution first played at an OWL workshop I did at my school with the fabulous Darcy Rogers.
    • Every student starts out on the floor as an “egg” they have to be literally crouched down on the ground. They then walk around in a squatting position versing each other with “1,2,3, ¡Dale!” THEN….
      • IF they WIN they become a chicken… if they lose they stay an egg
    • Next the chicken waddles around flapping their arms at their sides, looking for other CHICKENS… They CANNOT play rock paper scissors with an EGG, only another chicken. Once a chicken is found they verse each other with “1,2,3, ¡Dale!” THEN….
      • IF they WIN they become a dinosaur! and they go around looking for other DINOSAURS to play with
      • IF they LOSE they shrink down to an egg again….and they go and look for other eggs to play
    • And the cycle continues…. The order goes (in my classroom): EGG>>>Chicken>>>Dinosaur>>>Dragon>>>Superman
      • When a superman beats another superman, you have a champion.
    • The BEST part about this is, once it is taught you can use the word for EVOLUTION in the TL and then the kids just get up and DO it! NO prep time! Once you have your champion, you yell your call response (Ex. T: HOLA HOLA SS: COCA COLA) and students quickly and SILENTLY return to their seats and you go straight back into your lesson.
    • I talked about the importance of keeping it “novel” in my first blog post about brain breaks, which you can read here. If you have played this game for a brain break once or twice per week over the course of a month or so and you want to keep it interesting, have the students decide the ANIMALS and gestures to change it up. It will feel like a brand new game. (YES… I did just give you 2 brain breaks in ONE! YES! It is VERY exciting!)
  • Train Game- I also learned this from the amazing Darcy Rogers. Students all start by playing each other in P,R, S, with “1,2,3, ¡Dale!” THEN….the student that is defeated, goes BEHIND the student that won, and puts their hands on their friends’ shoulders and starts chanting their name… they chant their name as that student then goes around the classroom looking for another student to play, “1,2,3, ¡Dale!” THEN…. whoever wins THAT match has an even LONGER train behind them as both previous students who were playing/chanting, attach themselves to the shoulders of that student and start chanting their name. By the end of the game (which never lasts more than 60-100 seconds) there are TWO students facing off, with ALL of their peers behind them, chanting their name as they say “1,2,3, ¡Dale!” THEN….
    • You have ONE ultimate champion… It is wicked awesome and the kids LOVE it!
      • This is especially magical and moving when it is a student who needs some love and friends who ends up at the end of the game winning. They are chuffed to bits! and EVERYONE is screaming for them…
        • You can only imagine how much my colleagues love it when I play this game….
  • Ultimate Faceoff- This is a fun quick brain break in which you have two students get up at the front of the class and have a 3 game R,P, S, “1,2,3, ¡Dale!” FACE-OFF… the kids get WAY into it… and it is essentially a quick and easy brain break where only two kiddos are getting up and moving. (which is the part I don’t love about it….) Sometimes I have all the kids get up and do a drum roll on the ground while the two kids are facing off, that way we are all more involved.

There you have it! Lots of ways to use a simple, AWESOME game, as a Brain Break in your language classroom!

Until next time,



La Maestra Loca


  1. Omg! Ha! I love it! We did the RPS Train Game at one of our staff meetings. It was so fun, and, yes, it only took about 2-3min total. Perfect! I totally forgot about it! Thx!

  2. Love love love!! Tried the first version with some first grade classes yesterday and it went great!! And I am so glad you mentioned your colleagues ‘loving’ this game ;-)…I teach across the hall from a teacher who loves silence in her classroom at literally all hours of the school day (yikes!). I know this year after attending IFLT that my students and I are louder than ever (in a great way), but I can tell that the teacher across the hall is not as enthused as I am 😉 Any suggestions?? 🙂 Thank you for another awesome blog post!!

    1. It is tough when colleagues are less than supportive of our crazy levels of noise but from their perspective I get it. Right now I have a neighbor who I have told (with all of my regular enthusiasm) that I never know when it is going to be loud or quiet or crazy or calm, but that if SHE knows on one day she has a test or quiz, to please let me know so I can be extra aware and make an effort to close my door and not play the really loud brain breaks. The important thing is letting the other teachers know that you are trying to be considerate and aware of their classes but also letting them know that part of the beauty of our methodology is the creative chaos that happens in our room, and it just happens to be noisy! 🙂

  3. How do kids know who is a dinosaur or who is Superman? Do they just ask in English or the TL? These are FABULOUS, by the way. I am so excited to bring some new ideas this year!

  4. Have you ever been a camp counselor? If not, you should consider it! I work at an overnight camp in the summer and we’ve played all these games there. Really great idea to bring them into the classroom!

  5. I just played this with my 6th graders and they LOST THEIR MINDS. I can’t wait to play this in a space where I don’t have to be worried about volume levels. My two weakest students also managed to win the game which was a huuuuuuge boost to their morale & to our classroom community. Thanks for such a great idea!

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