Integrate Brain Breaks at Your School with Technology!

As the evidence supporting the integration of physical activity grows, movements such as Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAPs) are becoming mainstream. With this, the role of the physical education teacher is expanding and many physical educators are capitalizing on this chance to promote physical activity during the school day.

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In the last ten years, ideas for integrating physical activity or brain breaks in the school day have exploded. There are books, programs, websites, products, curricula, and countless other strategies geared towards getting students moving. 

One strategy that is cost-effective, fun, and easy to implement is the good ole fashion homemade video. While technological advances mean you don’t have to get out the camcorder (if you are younger than 30 ask an old person what a camcorder is), you can use your phone to record a video and BAM, your students can be moving to it in less than 10 minutes.

The best strategy I have seen are videos such as those on the YouTube channel, Mr. Noble’s Fitness World. Billy Noble is a physical education teacher at Rosa Parks Elementary in Lexington, KY. During his 10+ year teaching career, he has generated countless videos such as the ones posted online. He even has his student teachers create their own characters as a part of the student teaching experience.

There are two reasons I like this approach:

  1. The videos are cost-effective, or cheap. They don’t cost a dime. Well maybe if you need the knee high socks and some Chuck Taylor’s, you might have to spend a few bucks.
  2. They can be made quickly. Just turn on the music, move to the music and hit stop. No editing, no rehearsing.

The videos you see took Billy less than 10 minutes to make. Just a bit of creativity to come up with the characters. Thematic (Halloween, School festival, etc.) videos can also be easily created. Videos highlighting upcoming physical education lessons or reviewing previous lessons can be made. The possibilities are endless.

Once the videos are made, they can be used in several ways:

  1. Morning Movement Time:
    • The first way is for a morning, school-wide movement time. Most schools have morning announcements. These videos can be a part of the announcements and used to get the days started actively.
  2. Activity or Brain Breaks:
    • Even if school announcements are not used, the videos can be made available to teachers through a video system or DVD. If the teachers have access to the videos at any time, classroom breaks can include the teacher clicking on the link to YouTube and letting the video play. Ideally, the teacher will engage in the activity with the students, but if he/she won’t, a video is still a great strategy. That is, some teachers might want to integrate physical activity in the school day because they don’t want to lead an activity. However, they will let their students be active if they have a video to turn on.
  3. Activity with Content:
    • Another idea might be working with the classroom teacher to make videos that are active reviews of academic content learned in the classroom. The idea of working with classroom teachers brings me to my final idea…
  4. Get students in the videos:
    • Students can work together to create their own video. While this might not be feasible during physical education time, I have worked in afterschool programs that allowed groups of students to choreograph and perform a dance for their video. This dance was then used during the morning announcements. I have also worked with a PE teacher who used the video as a behavior incentive. Essentially students who were having behavior issues were given behavior goals. Their reward for meeting these goals was getting to appear in the videos. They became stars in the school….for positive reasons.

Homemade videos add a local, personal touch to classroom physical activity time. They are cost effective and fun ways of integrating physical activity and brain breaks into the school day. Give it a shot.


For additional ways to get your students moving during the school day, check out Moving Minds by Gopher!


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