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April 23, 2014 Go Nuts With GoNoodle: A Free Classroom Favorite! By Erin Klein
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    I am so excited to share my favorite new site with you: GoNoodle! My kids L.O.V.E it! I first found out about it from a friend who shared it on his blog. He raved about how much his fifth grade students were enjoying it. Then, fellow Scholastic blogger Kriscia Cabral shared how much she loves it in "Brain Breaks With GoNoodle." So, I had to try it out for myself. I couldn't believe it. They were right . . . this was one of the most amazing sites I had stumbled upon in a while.  

    GoNoodle is at the top of my list because kids love it. I know a site, game, app, program, curriculum, project, or activity really becomes a success when the kids buy in and enjoy it. GoNoodle is also free and easy to use. Those two aspects are very important to me. It was super easy to get started and continues to be just as easy to use each day. It is changing the way we transition from activities and how my kids focus and participate during lessons. All I have to do is select the type of brain break we need and then start that particular video. The video demonstrates exactly what the kids are expected to do. They instantly follow along.  

    We've had a challenging winter this year in Michigan, as I know many of you have in your states. The constant cold temperatures kept us indoors several days at a time. We used several of the energize brain breaks before we started a lesson that I knew would require a period of sitting. We followed it up with a calm brain break. Let me just tell you . . . they were a total hit! During the lesson period that followed, students were eager to participate and had the stamina to sit nicely during instruction. Everyone's level of focus was improved!  


    Meet Our Class Champ, Freckles!

    As soon as you set up your free account (takes about 30 seconds), your class will be greeted by your Class Champ. He's the real deal. The kids love him and love watching him grow. He's unique because he doesn't grow by getting food and water. The more active your kids are on GoNoodle, the more he grows. Once we reach the end of our level, we get to see "Freckles" go into the machine to transform and grow. How awesome! The kids enjoy seeing the level of their exercise be displayed in a fun way.  

    You Select Your Type of Brain Break

    I appreciate that there are several kinds of breaks to do with your children. Sometimes during a lesson you can tell that the kids need a break but you're almost hesitant to get them too energized because your next activity requires focus. No worries — GoNoodle has calming breaks, too!

    GoNoodle offers the following types of brain breaks:

    • Calm

    • Energize

    • Focus

    The important factor is being able to recognize when the children are in need of a brief break and then doing something about it. With GoNoodle, you can pop on a brief two-to-five-minute break video and allow your students to stretch, release energy, or reduce stress.  

    Here are a few example activities:

    • Students can do a calming activity with "Maximo" by stretching or doing yoga.

    • Try "Run with Us" to release energy and really get those wiggles out!

    • Play "Air Time" to help reduce stress and allow students to channel their focus. 


    A Look Into Our GoNoodle Class . . .

    This is our afore-mentioned Class Champ. You can see that we have worked out for 41 minutes since we've been using GoNoodle. We are on Champ Level 3. The kids love being able to visually see their fitness progress. They understand that we aren't working out to tone our bodies and become an Olympic athlete. They know that the main focus is to keep their brains sharp.  

    One of our class favorites is "Maximo." As a teacher, I love it, too! This is one of the calm brain breaks. As soon as you follow the steps (shown above in the photo), you can get started:

    1. Choose from a variety of brain breaks (we selected Maximo).

    2. For the Maximo brain break, we select "stretch."

    3. Pick out the type of stretch we want.

    4. Begin! Maximo guides you through exactly what to do.

    Tons of Variety — Here Are a Few Energizing Examples

    The energize brain breaks are a blast! Depending on the time you have, you can select the brain break that is "just right." There are also also have fantastic breaks that include skills such as counting by fives.

    My FAVORITE brain break in GoNoodle is "The Continental Drift." It's an easy one to jam out to and really have fun with your kids. You may want to preview this one first though. There is a part in the song where Sid, the sloth from Ice Age, says, "Wiggle Your Rump." I love that it celebrates dance from all over the globe.  

    Sid demonstrates the simple line dance at the beginning of the video. Then the music begins and you can see clips from people all over the world engaging in dance and fun together. We do this one at home a lot. My 5-year-old, Jacob, plays it again and again.  

    What Does the Research Say About Exercise and Learning?

    Without getting into an academic debate, the basics are simple. The more you exercise, the more the blood flows throughout your body. As more blood is pumped to your brain, more oxygen is delivered.

    One of my favorite researchers on the brain is John Medina, author of Brain Rules. If you haven't seen his three-minute video on the power of an active person in relation to brain function, I highly recommend clicking here to view it. I have shared this video with my students. We discuss the impact of physical activity not only on our health but also on our learning.  

    I've also started researching the impact of physical activity in relation to children diagnosed with ADHD. I found this article written by Dartmouth researchers to be fascinating.  

    With the abundance of research supporting the positive benefits of exercise, why not allow for increased amounts of it throughout the school day?  

    What Are You Waiting For? Try GoNoodle N-O-W!

    Signing up for GoNoodle really is easy. Once you're on the site, click the "sign up for free" button. Just fill out your name, email, and school information. Then you are all set! It takes about 30 seconds. You'll LOVE exploring the numerous brain breaks. I'd love to know what you and your kids think about GoNoodle. Please leave a comment and share!


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Susan Cheyney