Article

How I Do It: Focusing Kids After Recess

Teachers share their tricks for getting kids back on track after playing outdoors.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Quiet Three
My students do a “quiet three.” I turn the lights off for three minutes. It’s almost like meditation.
Kristen C.

Novel Approach
I read them a novel, one chapter a day. We learn new genres, authors, and reading techniques.
Kristin W.

Always a Classic
When they come back after recess, I have classical music playing. They put their heads down and unwind before we start the next activity.
Cindy G.

Deep Breathing
My students and I practice yoga breathing techniques. In through the nose, arms up, out through the mouth, arms down. I find it focuses me as well.
Teri R.

"Chillaxing"
I like to give my students five to ten minutes of quiet or silent reading time. It allows them to finish up any assignments from the morning, and I get a chance to conference with students who need help. It works great, but it took a lot of routine building to get it that way!
Krista H.

Song Cycle
I play three soft, soothing songs after recess, before I start teaching. It really works!
Allison H.

Weather Report
Together, we do the daily calendar, weather, temperature, etc. It settles us in, starts conversations, and provides a smooth transition.
Terry A.

Tiny Bubbles
I like to integrate sensory activities into the class after recess: MeMoves, blowing bubbles, even yoga.
Julie C.

Use the O2
Brain research shows that one of the best times to teach a new lesson is after recess. I start a new brain activity right after some deep-breathing exercises.
Michelle B.

Zen Cursive
My students practice their cursive. I usually turn one set of lights out, and it always calms them down. Practicing penmanship is a very relaxing exercise.
Julie L.

Brain Gym
I love Brain Gym! There are great videos on YouTube if I ever need inspiration. These exercises help refocus my class, and are extremely helpful on test days!
—Rebecca W.

Smart Detox
I either do a story-build game to help students with their vocabulary or a times-table game for math help. I like to detox them slowly rather than expect them to sit down all at once.
Eunice H.  

  • Subjects:
    Teacher Tips and Strategies, Transition Strategies
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