I am lucky enough to work with a Broadway Star. The Meredith Long (Dieth)Â is our theatre guru/teacher/mentor/GENIUS at St. Martin’s Episcopal School. She is such an incredible inspiration. She loves what she does, and she LOVES introducing ALL children to the powerÂ and magic of the theatre. I can’t imagine my life without her. I have about 8 blog drafts about various “theatre games” or strategies that I have added into my classroom thanks to her coaching and idea sharing. We taught a theatre club together last year and I stole many of her improv games (Spolin inspired) and made them games and Brain Breaks for my classroom. I’ve mentioned before that some of my classes, thanks to Meredith’s enthusiasm and passion, choose “theatre games” as their fiesta when they earn enough points for a party.
It has been a while since I’ve shared a Brain Break idea and I have SO many on the back burner…. (not kidding when I say I have 68 blog drafts right now…) One of the kids favorite “descansos” (how I say brain break in Spanish) is Zip Zap Zoom. This theatre game, like so many, was created to help focus on EYE contact, and annunciation. You stand students in a HUGE circle (deskless is bestest, but you can do this in a classroom with desks just make your circle around the desks) and instruct them that EYE contact is the most important thing. Assign a student to “start” and they look at someone, and using TWO outstretched stiff arms, they point at the person that they are making eye contact with and say LOUDLY and CLEARLY “ZIP” then that person that was pointed at, looks at ANOTHER person (or the same) and with their arms outstretched they point at the person while making strong eye contact and says “ZAP” then that next person does the same thing and points at someone while saying “ZOOM”.Â Then this repeats…Once in the groove, this should go very fast. Since I treat this as a BRAIN BREAK 98% of the time, we just stand up quickly, form our circle and play for about 40-60 seconds.
This is a video of us playing during a “fiesta” and the kids wanted to play with “outs”. I don’t normally play with outs because “there are no OUTS in Spanish class” (it keeps everyone standing up during the Brain Break and fully participating). As a party game, if they want to play outs, I allow it. If someone takes too long to “pass” the zip zap zoom on, or if they don’t make clear eye-contact, or if they make eye contact with someone but then point to someone else, they are out. I just have them sit where they are standing.
Here is another time I filmed it when it was a fiesta (I have other videos on my YouTube channel) but this time we were in the final “round”. This is a great example of how fast it gets! SO FUN!One of my student’s nicknames came from zip zap zoom. “EXPERTO” because every time we play in his class he is the one who wins. He is normally a quiet introvert, but he LOVES these theatre games!
Remember, if you’re playing it as a BRAIN BREAK, you shouldn’t make it last more than a minute. The purpose of brain breaks is to give your students a break in the rigor of listening to you speak 90% of the class time in the Target Language. As soon as the Brain Break is over, sit them down, do your transition, and get straight back into delivering that compelling comprehensible input! 🙂
Until next time,
La Maestra Loca