Brain Breaks Part 4: Hand jives

Sara Broussard came to hang out in my class a couple of months ago and she introduced my sixth graders to an AWESOME new brain break that was a HUGE hit. She read about it on the Musicuentos blog. Click here to link to that blog.

Basically, it is a version of the “collaborative hand-jive” (for lack of a better term) which I used to play as a child called, “double double this that”. Instead of saying those words, on each syllable, my kids clap out the word chocolate.

They start with their fists facing one another like this, while they tap twice and say “choco choco”:

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Next they open their hands and clap them together twice saying “la la”

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Next they close their fists again and bump them twice repeating “choco choco”

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Next they open their hands again but face their palms toward themselves and high five with the back of their hands saying “te te”

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Next they say “choco” with a closed fist and one bump


Next they repeat “la” once with an open palm clap


Again they close their fist and say “choco” while bumping fists


and then they say “te” clapping the reverse side of their palms together


To end the song they put it all together, first by saying “choco choco” again with two bumps of their fists, then “la” with one clap of their palms, and “te” with the reverse side of their palms.

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About a month ago, two geniuses I work with, Gary Innerarity and John Dicasali, came to me and asked if I wanted to play around with a video camera in my room. Not just ANY video camera! a 360 degree camera!!!! They filmed me… YES FILMED!!! doing this brain break. The results can be found here. If your phone, tablet, or computer has 360degree capabilities, you should be able to move around and see ALL angles of my classroom and all students at any time during the video…. MIND….BLOWN…. So cool huh!? (I like it best on my phone or tablet)

I have used many different variations of this Brain Break. It is important when you teach a Brain Break as fun and useful as this, to keep it that way. The only way to do that is to continue to make it different, interesting, and NOVEL. Again! NOVELTY in your classroom is your BEST friend!

Variation 1: Play music, when the music is on, students dance. When the music is off, students find the person closest to them and play the game. You can see that version here. Please observe the KILLER dance moves of my 6th grade student. The others seem almost terrified of his super sweet moves.

Variation 2: Form two lines of students. They should face inward.img_6564 Pair them up, one by one. I do this in Spanish quickly by saying “uno, dos” and touching the shoulders of
the people that will be “partners”. On my count they play the game. When I say “switch” in Spanish, ONE row rotates. The person on the end of that row will run to the opposite end to where they were standing and everyone else moves down one person. This way, if people were with their friends, or perhaps with a student they don’t particularly want to work with, they are constantly switching it up. You can do this as many times as you’d like.

Variation 3: Stand the students up and have them do the game with the person right next to them. Count them off and have them start slow and do it 5 times, each time increasing the speed.

Variation 4: Stand in a circle. You should be in the center of the circle. Pair the students up, one by one. Again, I do all of this IN SPANISH. Then I stand in the circle with them (if possible) and we play the game. After one round I shout “reverse” in Spanish and the students jump to face the other direction, and therefore they face a new partner. Then I start the count off for the second round. Finally, I ask all students to face the center. We put our fists out next to us and play with the people at both sides.

Variation 5: Have students stand and form groups of ___ many students and have them play once or twice, or as many times as you feel is needed.


Variation 6: Announce to students in a hurried fashion that they need to find 5 different friends in the next 30 seconds and complete the hand-jive with each of them individually. (Pretend to count for added effect)

Variation 7: Change the word/words used. You can use “chocolate” or “vale vale sí sí vale vale no no vale sí vale no vale vale sí no” My students also came up with using “cucaracha” “cucurucho” “no me digas” and “aguacate” . They are geniuses…. <3

Remember! Keep it novel, keep it quick and keep it fun!!

If you are interested in hearing more about Brain Breaks, transitions, and how I use them for classroom management, you can sign up for my webinar, which will be this Thursday the 10th of November, 2016. A link to the registration page can be found here. I will also speak in the webinar about a plethora of other great Brain Break ideas and transitions. I am so excited!

Until next time,



La Maestra Loca


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