Brain breaks at Excel Academy

In the video clip below, you’ll hear a description of a “Bring It Minute” from Darren Benedick, the athletic director at Excel Academy Charter High School in southeast Boston. Excel Academy is a network of tuition-free, public charter schools that had the best performance on the Massachusetts MCAS exams 6 years in a row. While researching this top-performing school, we were hardly surprised to find they had formalized their own spin on a brain break!

We all can agree that brain breaks are a good thing. Even more so for kids! But if you’ve struggled with how to implement such breaks at your school or in your classroom, take a few minutes to watch Darren’s presentation. He covers the benefits of exercise on the brain, what a “Bring It Minute” looks like at Excel Academy, and demonstrates a few of his favorite exercises. He also outlines three principles for successfully implementing a movement program. They are:

1) Any teacher in any subject at any time can lead a brain break

2) Having clear instructions and expectations will improve transitions and prevent unruly behavior

3) Introducing variation and fun into the practice will make it unpredictable and sustainable for both teachers and students

An educator wanting to take their brain breaks to the next level will inevitably need ideas for new exercises to try. In the video clip, you’ll get a few of Darren’s go-to movements. One of our favorite resources to use is the Nike Training Club App because it also includes video demonstrations of each exercise (the link is provided below). We’ve also included a few other resources to look at for potential ideas. Finally, don’t hesitate to use exercises from your own workouts or get suggestions from students. Enjoy!

Resources and Links: