Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Brain Break- Moving Statues

#brainbreak #warmup
This is one of my favorite brain breaks for all ages. It gets kids up moving. It also makes them think about how the hold their body and present themselves onstage.  The other great thing about this game is it give focus to the students and you can play for as short or as long as you want.

This is a game I made up that is based on the game "Red Light Green Light." In this game I have the students find their own space in the room (or you could have the kids stand at their chairs). When I say so the kids move in their space any way they want to. I am pretty liberal with this, kids can sit, stand, lay down, jump whatever as long as they don't touch anyone else and they don't leave their area.

When I say "Freeze!" all the kids must Freeze in whatever position they were in. Let the students think about their pose for a few seconds. Then ask a few students who have great poses "What are you?"  The student then has to describe what type of statue they are "I'm a statue of someone break dancing" or "I'm a statue of someone shooting a boy and arrow" whatever they can think up that looks like their body.

After you have asked a few students what they are tell everyone to move again. Then freeze again pick students who have interesting poses. In the younger grades especially they like to copy each other and you don't need 12 kids all throwing a football. Highly praise the kids who give creative answers but remember all answers are correct and we want to encourage kids to make choices about their bodies and characters. This also helps build confidence about being silly and going big with their actions.

Continue around the room allowing kids to move and freeze until you have either run out of time or asked all the students what type of statues they are. If you have students constantly copying each other allow them to give two answers. "That's great, what else could you be?" This will force them to think about their body position in a new way.

This is the basic game, short sweat and easy. It helps get the kids up and moving, it encourages creativity, and it helps focus students. They really like freezing when you say freeze. Encourage kids to move in pantomime (silently) to minimize noise.

Alternative versions:

Dancing Statues: Play music while doing this game have the students move to the music then freeze when the music stops. Great preview for musical theatre where you want to teach how music affects the body. Play different types of music so and explore how the music makes you move in different ways (fast music, slow, hip hop, ballet etc).

Feelings Statues: Tell the students move like they are feeling different emotions ("move like you are frightened" "more like you are excited" "move like you are mad") then have the students freeze. Ask them to make choices of "Why are frightened?" "why are you excited?"

Speaking Statues: Play the game normally until the end. Instead of asking students "what are you?" ask them "what would you say" Students then have to respond in character. For example if they are a football player they might say "Hut Hut Hike"If they were a singer they might start singing a song, if they were a dancer they might start talking about moving into first position. This is a great way to transition students into a character state of mind and allow them to explore talking like several different characters.

Silly Statues: This is where you can really work on getting kids to be silly (great for the older kids who think they are too cool). Tell the students to move in very silly situations "move like you are in a bag of popping Popcorn" "move like you are on mars" "move like you are a penguin" When they freeze have the students tell you what their character is thinking. "Man that oil is HOT" "I can't believe there is no gravity on Mars" have fun and be as silly as possible we want students to become comfortable with getting laughed at and being silly.

These are some of the statue games I play. What games do you play that are similar? Do you have any advice for teachers using this game as a brain break?