The PBIS World Book

Have Student Take Frequent Breaks Or Activity

Why should I do it:

  • To provide students with a cool down time
  • To allow students time away from a stressful or potentially stressful situation
  • It can help avoid a power struggle between you and the student
  • Can help students to “reset” and return to a task fresh
  • Takes student’s mind off what may be hindering them
  • Helps break up monotonous tasks, assignments, activities, etc
  • Can improve motivation and effort
  • Helps students to refocus on the task at hand
  • Helps rejuvenate student energy and enthusiasm
  • Helps get students blood moving and metabolism active

When should I do it:

  • When a student gets off task and is beginning to be disruptive but not problematic
  • When a student is distracted
  • When a student is slowing down on the task at hand and losing interest/motivation
  • When student is beginning to be argumentative or confrontational
  • When a student is refusing to follow a directive
  • When you are aware of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis
  • When student seems fidgety, moves a lot, cannot sit still
  • When student is becoming frustrated or agitated with the task at hand
  • When two or more students are engaged in conflict, argument, or are just getting annoyed with one another
  • When a student seems to be getting bored, sleepy, or their eyes are glazing over
  • When a student’s emotions and/or behaviors need to be deescalated
  • When a task is long and drawn out

How do I do it:

  • Identify the student(s) in need of the break or have the whole class participate
  • Ask the students to stop why they are doing, stand up, and do 10 jumping jacks, stretch their arms and legs, roll their necks, jog in place for 10 seconds, dance for 10 seconds, etc
  • Ask students to stop what they are doing and look out the window while seated for 30 seconds to see how many birds they see flying
  • Ask students to stop, take off their shoes, and wiggle their toes for 20 seconds
  • Etc
  • On days or during tasks that are longer and more monotonous or tedious, have students stop and do a break or activity every 25 or 30 minutes to keep them fresh

Alternative Methods:

  • Breaks may be less formal and simply involve getting a snack
  • Breaks may be as simple as a student moving to another spot in the classroom
  • Breaks may include sending a student on an errand, taking a note or paper to another teacher or the office, or some other task that gets the student up and out for a short break