All 42 elementary campuses will have structured brain breaks built into their 2019-20 master schedule as an expansion of a program piloted across select campuses in 2018-19.
The goal of the structured brain breaks is to make students more well-rounded by exposing them to social and emotional learning opportunities that are best learned outside the classroom. It gives students a chance to leave the instructional space and engage in physical activity, which increases focus and attention when the students reenter the learning environment. These brain breaks are designed to occur outdoors, weather or space permitting.
The 10-15 minute brain break will be built into the daily master schedule without taking away instructional opportunities or experiences.
Borchardt, Fisher, McSpedden, Norris and Pink elementary schools participated in the pilot with positive results in the 2018-19 school year. While teachers, students and parents reported an increase in focus and attention, there was also no decline in academic achievement on these campuses.
Positive data from the pilot included an analysis of discipline records, nurse visits and attendance records. Data was also derived from surveys of parents, teachers and students from pilot and non-pilot campuses.
“We structure our brain breaks to include team-building activities that get students physically active while building their social skills and problem-solving abilities,” said Borchardt Principal Jodi Davis. “These short breaks from academics make school more enjoyable for students and it improves their ability to focus when they return to the classroom.”
The daily master schedule for elementary students will include three key components in addition to core academic curriculum opportunities.
A rotation of specials classes including art, music, physical education and health/wellness
10-15 minute structured brain break
As the pilot expands, the District will continue to gather data regarding the experiences of the students, teachers and parents.