Brain Breaks Part 9: Extreme Rock Paper Scissors, Part 2!

My go to Brain Break is definitely Rock Paper Scissors. I love that I can line students up, and have them paired in less than 10 seconds and tell them to play. We can play and be seated again in 30 seconds and they are happy as clams and their Brains are totally rejuvenated and ready for more rigorous input! It is also my go to Brain Burst for when I need 10 seconds to transition between what we are doing in class. I stand kids up, yell “descanso” (what I use for “Brain Break” in Spanish) and then say in the TL “play 1,2,3, dale with 3 different people” and students run around the class while I get set up for our next thing. I do Brain Bursts or play music in the background whenever I am transitioning (or them) because it avoids any moments of silence where English side conversations can emerge.

While in Colorado for CCFLT this past February, I led a huge session on Brain Breaks and we spent our time learning and playing 40 Brain Breaks! After the session a teacher came to me and shared this “variation” of Rock Paper Scissors. I wrote her name in my phone and a week later on vacation my phone broke and I couldn’t recover the note. Hopefully she reads this and tells me her name so I can give her credit. She said she led her school through a presentation on Brain Breaks and this is consistently a favorite for adults and kids. I have found that to be true.

It is really important to model the steps while everyone is sitting down so they can see your feet. Once you’ve shown them the “moves” for Rock, Paper, and Scissors, pull up one student to model playing it with you. I have ALWAYS taught this Brain Break IN THE TL! Even on the third day of Spanish! Simple language along with your visual demonstration makes it totally comprehensible!

To play you jump three times in place, saying “one, two, three, ok” or the equivalent in your TL and on “ok” you land your feet in the position of rock, paper, or scissors. If we are in two lines, my kids just keep jumping until I say “SWITCH” in the TL and then the person on the end of ONE of the lines, runs to the opposite end of the line and the whole line shifts down so they are automatically paired with someone else. If I am using this as a Brain Burst, I might just say “Brain Break, play 1,2,3, dale, with your legs with 2 different people” and after they have done that they know to sit down and we move on with the input.

There you have it! DeAnna Murillo  spent two days with me in Oregon this summer at Cascadia and then again at iFLT in Denver. She had to play this A LOT in my sessions and she and her students have come up with some amazing variations of it now!

I hope you enjoy your labor day weekend and spend some time doing what you love with the people you love!

Until next time,



La Maestra Loca

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