Saturday, March 4, 2017

Brain Break: Sticky Step

Hello again!

Today's post is a quick one - it's just about a single Brain Break. Brain Breaks are an awesome classroom management tool that can provide all kinds of wonderful things - a switch from sedentary mode into something physical, a way to transition from one type of activity to another, a chance to adjust the mood of the class in any direction, just to name a few. If you're interested in the topic, check out what the super Martina Bex wrote about them here, and dig even deeper into her references for other sources of inspiration.

Here's how the Sticky Step works:

1. Students need to have a 'used' sticky note (Post-It Note) that they will not need anymore. Rather than simply throw it away, put it on someone's back, or have it get stuffed in the bottom of a pencil pouch, we'll use it one last time.
The Activity:
Step 1:
Attach sticky note to the bottom of one foot, but in a way that only half the sticky is under your foot. The other half peeks out between your feet.

Step 2:
Try to transfer the sticky note back and forth between your feet by simply stepping from one foot to the other. Each time you transfer, lift the sticky off the ground.

Step 3:
Count each lift.

Here's a quick video demonstration:

Sometimes students just enjoy a brain break because it is a change of pace. Other times, they need a way to measure or compete. If that's the case, I use two different ways to frame the competition:

  1. Count how many steps you can get in 10 seconds.
  2. Count how many steps you can get before the sticky note gives up.

With these, I don't declare winners for the class or anything. It's simply to encourage students to try their own personal best.

Some notes:
  • Students will try to switch feet without lifting, which takes away an accurate count and some of the challenge.
  • Students will try to 'cheat' by standing both feet on the sticky at the same time.
  • Students will also try to use their hands.
Unlike a lot of Brain Breaks, this one does require some prior planning as far as classroom materials. It is a little easier for me to incorporate in my classroom because we use sticky notes (Post-It Notes) a lot and students generally have one on their desk or in their binder from a previous warm-up or temporary note-taking activity. I have a post coming in the future about all that sticky noting.