Brain Breaks Part 16: Hachi Pachi

This Brain Break has SO many names but in the last couple of months I’ve learned that Hachi Pachi is most common. I knew it as Music Man or Rhythm Keeper before CI in the Mitten but then Darcy Pippins and I were polishing our presentations at midnight and she told me she called it Hachi Pachi and she taught me a way to amp up the version I had learned from my students this year!


I haven’t played this version of it with kiddos yet but I have with adults!!! We played it in my workshop in Savannah last month and it was SO much fun…. Normally it doesn’t last as long as it does in this video (the group was HUGE and Julio was not so good at guessing who Hachi Pachi was! HAHAHA! Julio made the whole workshop more fun!) Remember, in my opinion, Brain Breaks should NOT be longer than a minute at most, if it is longer than 60 seconds it becomes a game…. (which is fine, especially if language is involved but you can’t really consider it a Brain Break).

So now that you’ve seen it let me explain…

  1. First, get students to stand in a circle
    • You can split large classes into two circles
      • I have systems for this in my class so that it is FAST… kids know that students to the left of a specific poster  in my class get in a circle on the left side of the classroom and students to the right get in a circle on the right that way I can just say “cí­rculos” or “cí­rculo” and my students know whether to form one or two circles
  2. Next, QUICKLY send a student (or two if there are two circles) out of the classroom
    • They should shut the door so they cannot hear what happens next
  3. Then, choose a student (or one in each circle if there’s two) to be Hachi Pachi
    • This student is responsible for changing the rhythm (and sound if they want) that the circle does
      • For example, they pat their legs or tap their heads and rub their tummies
        • ALL students in the circle copy what Hachi Pachi is doing
    • They must change it at least every 10-15 seconds
      • Students should do their best to quickly change the rhythm to match Hachi Pachi WITHOUT making it obvious that they’re looking at them
  4.  Have the student(s) who is Hachi Pachi start the rhythm and then invite the student(s) that you sent outside back in the class
    • Once you’ve done this brain break once, all of these steps up til now, should only take 10 seconds or so… it is quick once they know it
  5. Now that the student(s) is back in the room, they stand in the center of the circle(s) and try to identify who the Hachi Pachi is.
    • If you’re doing this at the VERY beginning of the year in a novice class, they can just point to guess who it is
    • If you’re doing this with a more advanced class, they point, then can ask (in the target language) “what is your name?”07b7c840-c303-4262-9ffc-a7b4ae30d862-a8480ca3-a4aa-48ce-ac66-482430bc9753-v1.png
  6. As the person in the center identifies who they think is Hachi Pachi, the student that is selected has to respond
    • If you’re doing this with a novice class, they just say their name
    • If you’re doing this with the more advanced class they say “my name is _______” in the TL
      • Either way it is a great way to learn names at the beginning of the year
  7. If the person points to the WRONG student
    • that student says their name and then the whole class says “¡Qué lástima!” (what a pity/what a shame!)
      • This was the part that Darcy introduced to me!!!!!
      • I love it because they will acquire this expression SO fast this way!
    • then the person in the center guesses again and again until they find the Hachi Pachi
      • If you want to guarantee that the Brain Break is short and sweet you can limit the “guesses” to 3
  8. If the person points to the CORRECT person
    • That person says “my name is …. HACHI PACHI!!!”  and the person in the center “wins!”

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Your students who fit into the “musical intelligence” category will LOVE this, and it certainly is one of my student’s favorites. They ALL want to be Hachi Pachi or the person guessing so if you’re like me and you can’t keep track of that in your head, then have a roster of all your kids in class on hand, like a spreadsheet, with 2 columns designated for this Brain Break… one labeled HP (Hachi Pachi) and one G (guesser) then you can just put a quick check mark in the column by the student’s names that you choose. (Trust me it pays off, and I use this to track other things like who’s been Mafia, Doctor, Police… etc. you get the idea)

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I hope most of you are off for the summer, and if you’re not, I hope that you enjoy trying this Brain Break!!!! El Esposo Loco (Paul) and Baby Loco helped me clean out my classroom the last two days…. Took FOREVER (until Paul arrived and then it was done in an hour)…. but it feels good to be done!

Until next time,

Happy Teaching! (or summering)


La Maestra Loca



  1. Love both activities – high five and hachi pachi. Can’t wait to try them next week – classes for one more week (sigh!) Baby Loco is growing big and is adorable ( of course!) My “esposo loco” helps me with my classroom stuff too! Lucky us with esposos locos!

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