Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thumb War or Peace: Energizing Brain Breaks

Brain Breaks are helpful in the middle of class to help get students refocused and energized.  They are great when they break up an hour long class right in the middle.  They are excellent breaks in a meeting or presentation.

Thumb War or Peace is a brain break done with a partner.

1.  Thumb War is easy:  Simply lock fingers together and then tap alternately with your thumbs to the chant:  "One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war".  Then you can get started with the war.  The first person to pin the others thumb down for three seconds so they can't move it is declared the winner.

2.  Thumb Peace:  Lock your fingers together.  You will try to work together to outline the numbers 0-9 with your thumbs one at a time.  Your thumbs will need to work together while making each number.  So You will have to decide who will be writing the number forwards and who will write it backwards.

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Energizing Brain Breaks by David Sladkey    Click here to get the Book NOW


  1. I have a question for you. I teach high school English to some very rowdy Freshman in Brooklyn, NY. I have one for 100 minutes (!). I am trying to integrate more movement and breaks into my class, but I'm just getting started. How do you address those teens who refuse to participate or who stop halfway through the "brain break" claiming they feel silly or the activity is stupid?

  2. This is a valid question. I have this from time to time. I ALWAYS require my students to stand up when we all do a brain break. I do not require the students to do a brain break if they choose not to. (These are usually the students who don't like to do ANYTHING, so it doesn't bother me too much) I try to do the Brain Breaks that are the most fun with this kind of class. Here are my GO TO Favorites: Gotcha, Slap Clount Say 21, I bet you can't do this, The hand shake #1 and #2. Rocks Paper Scissors Math. Remember that you can tell them the reason that you are doing these are to help them. I often just have my class stand and stretch. The diversion of a brain break is so that they can have some fun at the same time as having a break. I hope this helps.