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10-20 seconds






To change classroom vibe by either decreasing stress response or increasing the energy level

Co-create a list of activities that increase and decrease energy levels. This should be done ahead of time. Examples to consider when co-creating the list:

  • To decrease energy levels:
  • To increase energy levels:
    • Jumping jacks (with or without jumping)
    • Squats or an isometric hold position
    • Get up, turn around, sit down
    • Marching in one spot

Next, post the list in the classroom.

Regularly use the practices when needing to shift the energy level in the classroom. Students can either select their preferred activity, or you may choose one for the class to do together.

NOTE: It is possible that not all students will need the same level of activity, but everyone will need to participate.

Complementary practices:

Research suggests that incorporating short physical activity breaks within the classroom not only benefits adolescents physically, but also increases their mental health by boosting self-esteem and cognitive functioning, while reducing stress hormones and depression (Embry & Biglan, 2008). Activities such as daily stretching or jumping jacks can be done within the classroom to energize or calm a classroom. Students who engage in physical activity and/or breathing exercises during the school day are better able to focus, and maintain attention throughout the day, as these tasks stimulate executive functions, and allow students to regulate emotions experienced in the classroom (Diamond & Lee, 2011).

Diamond, A., & Lee, K. (2011). Interventions Shown to Aid Executive Function Development in Children 4 to 12 Years Old. Science, 333(6045), 959-964.

Embry, D. D., & Biglan, A. (2008). Evidence-based kernels: fundamental units of behavioral influence. Clinical child and family psychology review, 11(3), 75–113. doi:10.1007/s10567-008-0036-x