In 2013, I was invited to lead a professional development workshop for Turnaround Arts (TA) - a program of the President's Committee on the Arts. Using the arts to create success in struggling schools, TA is a deeply effective program succeeding in 68 schools and 15 states. The leaders of TA strongly urged me to create a curriculum of dance exercises that teachers can implement themselves in their classrooms to break up the day and to inspire focus and creativity.

These Break Time Brain Boosters (BTBB) are a result of the Turnaround Arts' urging and my work with brilliant professionals from both Celebrate the Beat and National Dance Institute. Last February, I was joined by extraordinary artist educators Jerry Korman and Ellen Weinstein to lead a two week arts infused residency to introduce these BTBB to teachers at Bethune Community School in Minneapolis, MN, where the population is rife with the challenges that poverty brings: intense anger, wild emotional swings, learning disabilities, and 5th graders at a 2nd grade reading and math level.  

We worked with all the K-5th grade children and teachers, teaching four dance classes to 4th and 5th graders, and four or five 20-minute “Break Time Brain Booster” classes to K-5th graders each and every day. The experience of working with teachers inside classrooms with full classes was amazing. We shared exercises that the teachers can lead themselves that give all the children an opportunity to refocus and move during their days. The children and teachers were extremely receptive because the BTBB engaged each child with rhythms and accessible movement. The children were inspired to get their hearts pumping and faces smiling and the result was an ocean of positivity that changed the fiber of the classrooms.

I’m now sharing them here for teachers and parents alike:

Download the PDF version HERE.



Tracy + The Bija Beat Family