Socially distanced brain breaks

Has your district announced plans for the fall yet? We’re expecting our big announcement next week. While I’m waiting, I’m mulling over the things that will probably need to change for our new normal,  whatever that may be!

My guess is that we’ll likely have some sort of  hybrid model, and certainly we’ll need some sort of social distancing in the classroom, which will affect many of our procedures, games and brain breaks. Patty Cake, Muévete si, Teléfono and The Lucky Reading game are out…or at the very least they will need some serious updates. 

Socially Distanced Brain Breaks:

Here are a few things that we can do to give our students a break, keep the target language flowing…while keeping them apart! Of course all of these breaks are great opportunities to explain in slow and comprehensible language! Don’t fall into the trap of being so excited to play that you explain it in English to get it done quickly…Explaining a new game or break is Prime Time for giving them input! They have to listen carefully so they understand what to do 🙂

Levántate si

In my classroom, I frequently use Muévete si when I need to get my kiddos up and moving. Muévete si is fun because it feels wild and chaotic as students dash around the room to get into an empty chair. It’s much tamer third cousin, Levántate si isn’t as much fun…buy hey, teaching in the times of COVID isn’t as much fun either. 

If you’re not familiar, here’s a quick run down:

Teacher writes on the board: “Levántate si” with its translation, and makes sure everyone can see it. Then the teacher adds a verb with it’s translation:

Teacher says Levántate si…tienes…hermanos and students respond by standing. Teacher starts again, slowly and pointing to the board Levántate si…tienes…perros. Teacher gets as many reps out of “tienes” as she can before adding another verb and beginning again. 

Modified Rock Paper Scissors 

The class stands and plays Rock Paper Scissors against the teacher. All at once everyone says uno, dos, tres dale   and makes their choice. Students compare their choice to the teacher’s choice and if the teacher beat them, they sit down. Students who beat the teacher remain standing and play again. Play until there are 2 or 3 students left standing, then have everyone predict the champion by pointing at the last student they think will be standing. Play until you have a winner (and everyone who pointed to him is the winner too!)

Más o menos

The teacher has a deck of cards and the whole class stands. (I love using these jumbo cards so everyone can see, but any old cards will do!) Teacher reveals a card and students predict if the next card will be higher or lower, and signal their prediction with a thumbs up or a thumbs down.  Teacher revels the next card  and students  correctly predicted remain standing, and students who are wrong sit down. Then standing students make another prediction, if the following card will be higher or lower than the card the teacher is holding. Annnnd repeat. 

1-2-3 Miren

Everyone stands (generally in a circle, but I think it would work with everyone standing at their chairs) and the teacher instructs students to look a their feet.  When the teacher says, Uno, dos, tres Miren the students look up and look at one student. If two students are looking at each other, they are out and sit down. If a student is looking at another student, who is not looking back at him, he remains in the game. Then teacher asks everyone to look at their feet, and begins again. 

Mira Señala

I wrote about Mira Señala last year and I think it would work fine to partner students up and have them stand a safe distance apart. Since I teach in a Sweet Portable by the soccer field, we’ll  probably go outside for this one. 

Con el ritmo de los pies

My dear friend Rita Barrett taught me this chant that she learned in Spain. I teach it every year and my little darlings (even my not so little seniors!) love it!  Here are the words and here are the motions:


Quiet Snapping Brain Break

Mi amgiga JJ Epperson shared this fabulous and quiet snappy brain break on her blog that will be fantastic when we’re distancing in the classroom. You’ll want to start practicing it now…it is so tricky and I swear I can feel my brain growing (or groaning!) while I am concentrating on my snaps! 

That’s all I’ve got now, but stay tuned, I have a Socially Distanced Input Games post in the works. And here’s another post that might interest you as you think about heading back into the classroom:Socially Distanced Fun. 

And on a serious note, I hope you’re doing OK. This is such a weird and uncertain time in our country…especially for our teachers. I’m thinking of you and praying for you! And praying for our leaders and school boards and administrators too, who are tasked with making very tough decisions right now. Be safe!


  1. Gracias, Señora Chase! Yet again, you have brightened my day with your smiling face watching “Con el ritmo de…” We will be SIMULTANEOUSLY doing live and remote teaching, and are expected to take attendance for and engage all students, all while handling the tech side. To say I’m overwhelmed is an understatement. These brain breaks will help! Thank you for your prayers and encouraging words!


    • Awww thanks! Oh man, the simultaneous sounds ROUGH!! I’m hoping to do input with my kids in class while the kids at home are doing some sort of extension activity. I have no idea how anyone could engage both groups, teach and run the tech!!


      • I don’t know either! Guaranteed it will not be happening perfectly. Praying for grace!


      • Yes! Prayers for grace, and give yourself grace too!! My new favorite quote is “you can do anything but you can’t do everything!”


  2. Thank you so much!! We use brain breaks every day and I was running out of “socially distanced” ones. The students and I need some new ideas! Gracias por todo!


    • Sorry it took me so long to get back to you… crazy start to the school year! Here you go:
      Pies- stomp stomp
      Manos- clap clap
      Boca- Aaah- ah
      Nariz- ta-lee ta-lee
      Orejas- talone, talone
      Ojos- Clis-clas
      Cabello- Sweesh
      Cabeza- Wookie wookie


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