John grips the upside-down tape measure and backs up to what he thinks is the correct distance away from his classmate. The boys cheer him on while Billy yells, “Stop!”, convinced John has already moved 6 feet away. One glance at the tape measure, and John reveals the result at 5.8”. The activity plays in repeat until each student has had his turn. By the time the counselors record their findings, students have already swarmed them to see the point tally. Their excitement is fueled from the anticipation of their next challenge -- due in part, thanks to the Tik Tok posts which have entertained them during past quarantines.
To middle-school boys, this activity may seem like a fun distraction away from their classwork, but in reality, the game is created to help them absorb all of the newly presented information by getting them up and out from behind their desk, otherwise known as a “brain break.” Whether the students are learning remotely, or in-person, the benefits are the same.
Brain breaks are mental breaks designed to help students move so that blood and oxygen is carried to the brain. The breaks create an opportunity to become energized or even relaxed. Achieving this state of mind has become more crucial than ever during the pandemic, and so the need to expand and incorporate excitement, healthy competition, wellness, and camaraderie into the SAA’s upper school was a task that our Counseling and Wellness Team was ready to take on. Enter the concept of the Olympics -- a “Brain Break Olympics.”
Devised as a series of weekly 15-minute games to provide the SAA Upper School boys with an opportunity to take a break from their academics, the Brain Break Olympics (BBO), also allows the students to have a little fun. With social and emotional health at the forefront, the Counseling and Wellness Team incorporated those SEL elements in addition to character traits such as teamwork, courage, and responsibility to ultimately help boys build that bond of brotherhood for which the school is known.
To hype the program, a fun video challenge is shown every Monday in chapel so the “Olympians” have an overview of the new task they will execute at the end of the week. As the points are tallied over the course of the games, the culmination of their effort were revealed during a closing ceremony on December 16.
WATCH the Brain Break Olympics' ceremony and all of the fun challenge videos assigned to students each week: