Mr Kemp NZ

The Ultimate Brain Break for your Class or Workshop

This is a short post to give you something a little different to add to your January/February toolkit. 

We all know that our kids need brain breaks (adults too). As humans, we are not designed to sit, work, or do anything for a long period of time. Our brain needs a break!

Image source: http://www.teachingwithtlc.com/2013/09/brain-breaks.html

There are plenty of brain break ideas out there, including this great list (and this one too). But this idea is my favorite.

Ultimate Paper, Scissors, Rock (Stone) is a brain break I have been using in my classroom and my professional development sessions that I run for educators for the past 4 years. I use it as a way to give the brain a rest from the onslaught of information and learning happening and a way to re-engage my audience (whether it is kids or adults).

Basically, it works like this:

  • Introduce it as a brain break (a way of helping your brain relax, recover and prepare for more learning)
  • Tell your audience that they have done such a great job that you want to give them a break and you are going to teach them a game
  • Announce the game “Ultimate Paper, Scissors, Rock (Stone)”
  • Explain the rules of paper, scissors, rock (stone) and clarify rules for the game (I always do a 4 touch rule and say “paper, scissors, rock (stone), SHOOT”. On the “SHOOT” they choose which one to do …….)

Image Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-503337/Scissors-psychological-winner-rock-paper-playground-game-scientists-say.html

  • Explain the added catch on how we make it “ULTIMATE” –> We make it ULTIMATE by having a “fangirl” type experience.
  • Ask for clarifying questions and then get your audience into pairs, ready to start
  • You are ready to start:
    • Play your first game and the loser becomes the winners biggest fan
    • The “fangirl” shouts, cheers and supports the winner as they go on to play another winner.
    • This will occur several times with the “fans” growing rapidly until you have just 2 people left for the final showdown!
    • I often make the final a best of 3 series and stop everyone before the FINALE to build some hype (and to make sure everyone knows the person’s name)

That is it! Nothing fancy, nothing tricky but one of the most engaging and fun brain breaks I have ever used with such a diverse group of people

Click here to see a video of Ultimate Paper, Scissors, Rock in action from a conference I recently spoke at in Hong Kong.

Image Source: https://www.thejapanguy.com/janken-the-ultimate-rock-paper-scissors-game/

This brain break is a really good way to get people talking to each other and learning names.

Set the rules and outcomes to be whatever you want and see the engagement, fun and smiles role! It can also be a really good icebreaker for a new class or workshop. Of course, with any activity, you need to think about your audience and whether this is suitable.

Have a great and engaging 2018 – take videos/photos of your #ULTIMATEBRAINBREAK and share them with me here or via Twitter/Facebook

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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