So much is available to primary school educators to assist them in providing effective ‘brain breaks.’


Sadly, by the time our students reach secondary school, we rarely encourage them to take the time to transition.  Students race from lesson to lesson, with little chance to switch gears.  It isn’t uncommon to see fatigue in the faces of our secondary school students, but if we don’t teach them to reboot, we are doing them a disservice.

As an MYP and DP facilitator, I am often looking for better ways to embed the IB Learner Profile within the context of my class.  You can access my profile slides here.

It isn’t enough to provide the signage.  We must authentically embed our values in what we do, and how we do it.

Over the past few weeks, I have been attempting to provide a safe space to take creative risks.  At the same time, I’m trying to help my busy students take a brain break.  I’ve been doing this through a month-long doodle challenge.

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Students arrive to the lesson with the doodle challenge already posted.  They have eight minutes to work on their doodle.  When the time is up, I encourage them to share their doodle to Twitter. This allows for students across classes to see the doodles of their peers.  If we don’t allow our students the time to take and share creative risks, how can we blame them for ‘playing it safe?’

There is an amazing resource available here from TED, which reminds us of our duty to keep making creative space: “The thing I most wanted to do was to help as many people as possible regain the creative confidence they lost along their way.”  Creative confidence is developed, not simply recovered.  We have to play a part in providing the tools to develop it.

My UbD unit plan on unpacking this concept is provided below.  I would encourage secondary school teachers to come up with their own subject specific doodle challenges.  I’ve spent a good deal of time helping students and teachers work on visual note taking.  A transition time brain break activity is a wonderful way to reinforce visual note taking.


Creative time benefits the curriculum that we plan.  It also always our students to work as caring, risk-taking, balanced learners.  When this doodle challenge is complete, I will be prompting students to blog about the experience, as well as their thoughts on the creative risks that their peers took.  If I want my students to see themselves as prosumers, I have to check in and ask them to blog-out their findings. Why do I need them to construct this round-up blog?  How will I know how to construct better brain breaks without their feedback?  If I want to foster a connected learning atmosphere, I need to first and foremost be connected to my own learners. You can access the rubric we will use to peer moderate and self-assess these final posts by clicking here.