Take Breaks and Be Active! An Important Digital Message for All Students

“[A]t some time in the day we need to disconnect, reconnect, and look around us.” – Laurie Colwin

One resolution my elementary students and I are setting is to be more healthy with our digital use. I teach technology to 450+ second to fifth graders. In class we reviewed and discussed the article, Computers and Your Health. Although the article only mentions computers, I let students know the information also applies to using mobile devices, game consoles, iPads and tablets. This article is awesome to use with children, because the information is illustrated with colorful drawings. The article lists how staying on the computer too long can lead to several health issues, such as muscle and joint pain, lack of creativity, eye strain, and more.

💡Discover more ways to integrate technology effectively by taking one of my fully accredited online courses. New session begins on January 20th! 

After students share their experiences with some of these health issues, we come up with tips for staying healthy with our digital devices. We compare these tips with the ones listed in the article. Then students used 3D paint to illustrate at least one tip. I’ve added a collage of a few of their digital posters below.

The main message I want students to take away is to take breaks from their digital devices frequently and do something active like playing outside, dancing, or stretches. In class we take breaks and stretch our hands and fingers and legs. My hope is students will begin to do this outside of class. Below are some wonderful videos and resources to motivate your students to take breaks and learn how to maintain mental and physical health. If you enjoy these tips, then register for my upcoming Fully Accredited online courses (In-Service and Graduate course options) that begin on January 20th. Choose from several different classes, such as Connected Educators: Harnessing the Power of Social Media and Methodologies for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.


  • Go Noodle is a wonderful resource with several short videos geared for brain breaks! Find dance-alongs, yoga videos, mindfulness activities, and other ways to move!
  • Get students moving with icebreakers, warmers, and fillers! Find tons of templates, activities and ideas here.
  • With the Move It Chrome browser extension, you can set notification intervals on the students’ computers, and the screen will present a random brain break and exercise to complete.
  • The Move to Learn video channel has several short video that gets students out of their seats and learning. Some videos are as short as 30 seconds.
  • This Classroom Breaks Pinterest Board has several posters and visuals to engage students.
  • The Active Learning Active Play Brain Breaks Guide categorizes their brain break activities. Find activities to learn vocabulary, spelling, math, social studies and science.
  • UNICEF Kid Power describes different brain breaks, including ones with play dough.
  • Action for Healthy Kids provides tips, ideas, and lists several resources.

Challenge: Try one of these resources to give students a brain break this week!

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💡If you like these ideas, take one of my courses or check out my books. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations

One comment

  1. I think that a lot of people are digitally unhealthy. The amount of people that spend their lives on technology are missing out on the incredible things that this world has to offer and I think that it is important to teach our kids that there is more to life than just technology.

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