GoNoodle – Take a Brain Break

We’ve all experienced those moments in a classroom when the energy levels drop, students’ attention drifts and learning stagnates. The penny drops as the tumble weed floats by: “I’ve lost them”. It’s particularly bad in those weeks before the summer holidays when the sun typically starts to shine and energy levels for both teachers and students can plummet as the school year draws to an end. Brain breaks, brief scheduled moments involving physical activity or alternatively calming focused attention practices such as mindfulness, can be beneficial tools to help work through these sluggish moments; de-stressing the mind and body, rebooting the brain making it ready once more for learning. Built into the timetable in a purposeful manner these energising and mind calming breaks can help students to refocus their attention and keep everyone on the desired learning path.

GoNoodle is a great website offering “movement and mindfulness” breaks for the classroom. It’s American so get ready for high energy web-based dance & hip-hop videos, games and activities designed to get the foot tapping and the heart pumping. It’s a great option for primary school students needing a bit of an energy boost before the next lesson with 5 to 10 minute bursts of fun physical activity. Although it’s US based teachers around the world can sign up and access content in moments. When you first log in there’s an overwhelming selection of content but its very user friendly and easy to navigate.

Teachers are encouraged to setup their different classes, with each class assigned an online mascot, which “grows” and develops every 10 activities. The more activities you do, the more your class can earn points and level up, so you can introduce a competitive element if you wish. It’s the perfect web-based group activity for an interactive whiteboard providing an out of the box solution for those teachers wanting to introduce a curriculum integrated exercise programme to their class. The activities themselves are fun and funny and are linked to the US Common Core State Standards (CCSS). So if you’re teaching the water cycle for instance, you can do a site search and find Water Cycle related activities. Each video is introduced by your mascot and shows the key benefits, e.g. “Workout, Boost Confidence, Gross Motor Skills, Coordination, Body Awareness”.

The search function is a great feature and very simple to use. You can search by topic, category or channel. Categories include:

Curricular
  • Math
  • Science
  • English Language Arts (ELA)
  • Social Studies
  • Health Education
  • Music Education
  • Reading Practice
  • Spanish

Mindfulness

  • Boost Confidence
  • Build Compassion
  • Enhance Focus
  • Manage Stress
  • Practice Self-Control
Sensory and Motor Skills
  • Cross Lateral Skills
  • Coordination
  • Locomotor Skills
  • Body Awareness
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Balance
School Life
  • Holidays
  • Test Best
  • Indoor Recess
  • Class Routine
Movement Type
  • Guided Dance
  • Stretch
  • Breathe
  • Call & Repeat
  • Workout
  • Partner Up
  • Freestyle
  • Competition
  • Brainercise

The basic free version provides more than enough with even additional freebies to extend the programme and involve parents. However you can upgrade to GoNoodle Plus (for teachers or schools) which allows you to develop a more personalised programme for either your classes or for the whole school. Your students can practice spelling and maths with interactive learning games, you can review grade-targeted question sets for any subject or create your own and you can even create printable learning extensions. The school edition also supports metrics with usage reporting and additional training and support. There’s a 30 day free trial available at the moment so it could help get you and your class energised for June and take you right through to the summer break.

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