Take Breaks and Be Active! An Important Digital Message for All Students

 “[A]t some time in the day we need to disconnect, reconnect, and look around us.” – Laurie Colwin 

One resolution my elementary students and I are setting is to be more healthy with our digital use. I teach technology to 450+ second to fifth graders. In class we reviewed and discussed the article, Computers and Your Health. Although the article only mentions computers, I let students know the information also applies to using mobile devices, game consoles, iPads and tablets. This article is awesome to use with children, because the information is illustrated with colorful drawings. The article lists how staying on the computer too long can lead to several health issues, such as muscle and joint pain, lack of creativity, eye strain, and more.

After students share their experiences with some of these health issues, we come up with tips for staying healthy with our digital devices. We compare these tips with the ones listed in the article. Then students used 3D paint to illustrate at least one tip. I’ve added a collage of a few of their digital posters below.

The main message I want students to take away is to take breaks from their digital devices frequently and do something active like playing outside, dancing, or stretches. In class we take breaks and stretch our hands and fingers and legs. My hope is students will begin to do this outside of class. Below are some wonderful videos and resources to motivate your students to take breaks and learn how to maintain mental and physical health. If you enjoy these tips, then register for my upcoming Fully Accredited online courses (In-Service and Graduate course options) that begin on January 20th. Choose from several different classes, such as Connected Educators: Harnessing the Power of Social Media and Methodologies for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Go Noodle is a wonderful resource with several short videos geared for brain breaks! Find dance-alongs, yoga videos, mindfulness activities, and other ways to move!

Get students moving with icebreakers, warmers, and fillers! Find tons of templates, activities and ideas here.

With the Move It Chrome browser extension, you can set notification intervals on the students’ computers, and the screen will present a random brain break and exercise to complete.

The Move to Learn video channel has several short video that gets students out of their seats and learning. Some videos are as short as 30 seconds.

This Classroom Breaks Pinterest Board has several posters and visuals to engage students.

The Active Learning Active Play Brain Breaks Guide categorizes their brain break activities. Find activities to learn vocabulary, spelling, math, social studies and science.

UNICEF Kid Power describes different brain breaks, including ones with play dough.

Action for Healthy Kids provides tips, ideas, and lists several resources. 

cross posted at teacherrebootcamp.com

Shelly Terrell is a Technology and Computer teacher, education consultant, and author of books including Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions in Your Classroom. Read more at teacherrebootcamp.com.

Shelly Terrell is an education consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at teacherrebootcamp.com