Thursday, January 31, 2019

Brain Break - Do Nothing for 2 Minutes

Here is a brain break which I learned from my colleague John Foulk. It is one now which my students request ALL the time - it is called "Do Nothing for Two Minutes." Like the title implies, students do NOTHING for two minutes. It is an actual website, which count downs from two minutes, and the point is simply to do nothing during that time. 

I have been doing this particular brain break once a week for the past couple weeks, and it is not as easy as it sounds. Doing nothing for two minutes can be very difficult, because:
  1. students are unaware of how long two minutes can be.
  2. students are not accustomed to doing nothing for a certain amount of time.
When we do this brain break, I will project the Do Nothing for 2 Minutes website on the screen and tell students that they are to do nothing for two minutes. This means no phones, no doing other work, no moving, no talking, no laughing, no listening to music, no non-verbal communication with anyone in the classroom, i.e., doing nothing. I have a deskless classroom, so students can lie down on the floor if they wish. They can sit in their chairs and close their eyes. However, if during those two minutes, a student does "something," then the time is up, and we go back to work.

  1. I am not one into mindful, focused brain breaks, since I am more of an active "brain breaker". However, I can see the benefits of doing them.
  2. The website plays wave sounds during the two minutes - very calming and soothing.
  3. In the beginning, it does take some "training" for students to realize that doing nothing means doing nothing. The first couple times, students will last around 30-45 seconds, because they will start looking around the room, make eye contact with someone, and start laughing or communicating non-verbally. Once I call out students for that and announce that time is up and time to get back to work, they learn quickly.
  4. Students really do like this one, because it gives them a chance to "rest up" during class. I always get students asking "Can we do nothing for TEN minutes?"
Give this one a try, and do nothing for two minutes!

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