✔ Rules (DEA & CWB)
✔ Routines (Routines, Student Jobs, Interjections & Rejoinders)
__ Brain Breaks
As a student in middle or high school, do you remember asking to leave the room to get up and move around? Did you ever REALLY need that drink, or did you just want to kill some class time by strolling down to the farthest water fountain (we called it a “bubbler” where I grew up)? You needed breaks, and your students need them, too, so let’s stop pretending they don’t. In a CI classroom, we ask students to focus intently on listening, so breaks are critical for MGMT. There’s been research on this, but common sense tells you it’s something to take into consideration.
A good rule to follow is doing a Brain Break every 10-15min. I admit that this seems insane if you crunch the numbers. Let’s say your Brain Breaks last a few minutes each. That means you’re left with only ~40min of CI from a ~50min class. Brain Breaks that take a little longer will leave you in the 30s of CI minutes in a class period, and I’ve had classes that need a break closer to every 8-9 minutes. On the other hand, some classes have been so active that no one needs a Brain Break and the bell rings to the surprise of all. So, if you stress over CI minutes, this sort of thing will give you an ulcer, but the truth is that no one cares how many hours of CI you’re able to deliver if students hate coming to your class because it’s exhausting. Remember, Input is only Comprehensible if the student understands the message, and if they’re unable to sustain focus because you’ve been speaking for 20min in the Target Language, it’s bad news bears. If anything, students will love you for getting the breaks they’re being deprived of in other classes
The jury is still out on whether to do Brain Breaks entirely in Native Language (L1), or Target Language (L2). Whichever you choose, it’s safe to say that anything in the L2 must be easy, else there’s no real break occurring in students’ brains. I like to mix it up. I’ve had students request an L2 Brain Break like Crazy Ball because they liked the competitive nature. Who knows, you’ll have to read the room. Here’s a list of some Brain Breaks with brief descriptions: