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Why should I do it?

  • To provide students with a cool down time
  • To allow students time away from a stressful or potentially stressful situation
  • It can help avoid a power struggle between you and the student
  • Helps students with poor attention and focus
  • Gives kids that need sensory input
  • Gives fidgety kids and those who have trouble sitting still for periods an opportunity to get up and move

When should I do it?

  • When a student gets off task and is beginning to be disruptive but not problematic
  • When student is beginning to be argumentative or confrontational
  • When a student is refusing to follow a directive
  • When a student is excessively fidgety or moving around a lot in their seats
  • When a student has significant ADD/ADHD
  • When a student needs the sensory input
  • When a student seems to have lost focus and attention
  • When a student needs help redirecting or refocusing
  • When a student seems sleepy, bored, tired, etc
  • When a student seems overwhelmed, anxious, or overly frustrated
  • When a student is having trouble following along, following directives/directions, etc
  • When a student seems to need a break from the current activity or student they are working with
  • When a student seems to be over-emotional, upset, etc

How do I do it?

  • Make a laminated card with the word “BREAK” on it
  • Provide student with hand held timer setting the timer for no longer than five minutes
  • Identify a safe and non-disruptive area to go (by or in office works)
  • Student returns when timer goes off
  • Thank the student for leaving and returning so cooperatively. Give encouragement to student upon return
  • Explain the process to the student and have them practice it before implementation
  • Either the student or teacher may initiate a break, though it is best when the students can identify the need for and take breals appropriately
  • If the students abuses the break card intervention, set limits on the frequency of use to deter this

Alternative Methods:

  • Breaks may be less formal and simply involve getting a snack
  • Breaks may be as simple as a student moving to another spot in the classroom
  • Breaks may include sending a student on an errand, taking a note or paper to another teacher or the office, or some other task that gets the student up and out for a short break