I always find that keeping prolonged attention in the classroom is a difficult task. One of the best tools I have found for keeping classes engaged over extended periods of time is the concept of a break break. Brain Breaks are simple 1-2 minute mind and body challenges that release focus for a short period time to allow for longer more productive periods of learning.
Credit to the Website http://brainbreaks.blogspot.co.za/ as a lot of the material below is just reinterpreted for my context.
Pen Flipping Brain Break:
Use the following steps:
1. Stand Up.
2. Take a pen and flip it ONE REVOLUTION. (Imagine a piece of tape on one end of the pen, then throw the pen from the tape side. Have the pen go one full turn around to get to the tape side again)
3. Now do the same thing with your other hand.
4. Now get a pen for both hands and try to do both pens at the same time.
5. If you really are good at that, then try to throw the pens up into the air and catch them in opposite hands. This is tough.
Thumb War or Peace:
Thumb War or Peace is a brain break done with a partner.
1. Thumb War is easy: Simply lock fingers together and then tap alternately with your thumbs to the chant: “One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war”. Then you can get started with the war. The first person to pin the others thumb down for three seconds so they can’t move it is declared the winner.
2. Thumb Peace: Lock your fingers together. You will try to work together to outline the numbers 0-9 with your thumbs one at a time. Your thumbs will need to work together while making each number. So You will have to decide who will be writing the number forwards and who will write it backwards.
Ear and Nose Switch:
Do as follows:
1. Stand up.
2. Take your right hand and grab your left ear. Keep your right arm close to your body.
3. Now take your left hand and touch your nose.
4. Uncross your arms and move your left hand to your right ear and your right hand to your nose. Your left arm should now be closest to your body.
5. Switch back and forth as fast as you can.