Inside: Brain Breaks in Spanish Class. Get your classes moving and have your Spanish students more engaged with brain breaks.
Brain Breaks in Spanish Class
I have been very intrigued lately with all of the teachers using the primacy/recency method of lesson planning. Basically, it is a way to plan a lesson using research to get the most out of the prime student learning time.
Sara-Elizabeth shared a lesson plan template last school year that she and Amy Lenord developed with her digital Google Docs plan book using this method. Wendy just shared how this method has been working for her so far this school year. Here is how Wendy breaks down her class time using this lesson plan model:
input activity –> processing activity –> administrative activity (if needed) –> brain break –> input #2 –> interactive activity/formative PBA
Since I am currently not in the classroom on maternity leave, I can’t just try this method out tomorrow as I would usually do once I get a new idea (perks of being a #deptof1). The biggest change that I need to wrap my head around is noticing how class starts, and input.
Thoughts on Brain Breaks
It does not start with “para empezar” bell ringer. Some of my most popular posts ever revolve around para empezar, which as someone recently posted on Twitter, is more of a management tool than a student learning tool. Ouch. It may sting a little, but I kind of agree.
At the same time, as a new teacher, it was the management tool that helped save my sanity teaching four separate preps. Am I saying that as a new teacher sometimes management has to come before optimal student learning? Yes.
As a fresh teacher effective management leads to teacher sanity, which leads to the teacher returning the next day and year, which leads to the teacher finding better ways to provide optimal student learning. I guess that as a now fifth-year teacher I am past the new teacher phase and have management more under my belt (I like to call that student relationship), and can officially move into an optimal environment for student learning.
Using Bell Ringers as Brain Breaks
So how is this going to look in my classroom? Instead of always starting class with my para empezar activities, they sometimes become brain breaks!
Music, dance, jokes, memes etc, all make for a perfect way to break up class. I have actually used many of these activities as brain breaks in the middle of class for years, but without using the fancy lesson planning template.
When I see that a class needs a mental break or to get up and move, my go-to has always been to put on a baile viernes song. I have even used being able to dance as a “reward” for completing an activity.
I am going to stick with the particular days for brain breaks with música miércoles and baile viernes, for continuity’s sake, as I think I would have some upset students to lose these special days. On the other days I hope to mix it up using these activities for novice or intermediate students, and some of the new brain breaks (to me) I have listed below.
Brain Break resources from others
- Brain Breaks – Fun for Spanish Teachers
- 20 Brain Breaks – Martina Bex
- Brain Breaks – Profe Hanson
- Brain Break Balloons – Cynthia Hitz
- Brain Break Posts – Annabelle Allen
- 7 Brain Breaks – Musicuentos
My question for those of you well versed in primacy/recency lesson planning is where does SSR/FVR free reading fit in? Can I start class with it as input #1? These are just some things to ponder as I snuggle baby boy while watching more Netflix than necessary during middle-of-the-night feedings.