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
My students do a “quiet three.” I turn the lights off for three minutes. It’s almost like meditation.
I read them a novel, one chapter a day. We learn new genres, authors, and reading techniques.
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.
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.
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!
I play three soft, soothing songs after recess, before I start teaching. It really works!
Together, we do the daily calendar, weather, temperature, etc. It settles us in, starts conversations, and provides a smooth transition.
I like to integrate sensory activities into the class after recess: MeMoves, blowing bubbles, even yoga.
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.
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.
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!
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.