Mindful Classroom

Epic Just Dance Brain Breaks for Your 21st-Century Classroom

In our last post in our Ultimate Guide to Brain Break Activities series, we took a look at calming brain breaks in the classroom. These particular brain breaks help students achieve a sense of regularity amongst themselves and help bring down an unnecessarily high energy level in the classroom.

What about when students need a little pick-me-up?

Just as much as brain breaks can be calming, they can also be energizing. While we’ve mentioned before that anything that gets the blood pumping and oxygen flowing to the brain is effective, there are still ways to increase those energy levels when they really need a boost. A great way to do this is with Just Dance brain breaks.

if you are unfamiliar, Just Dance Is a video game that was released in 2009 that gives players choreographed dances to complete, and, in the spirit of the game itself, their skills are rated.

However, if you go onto YouTube you can find a number of Just Dance video performances that do not have the competitive element to them.

Students dancing to just dance brain breaks; dance breaks

Instead, there are all different songs, many of which your students will know and love, with dances that go along with them. You can play the video and your students can follow along and learn the moves.

Of course, you can add a competitive element to this if you perhaps use the same video for a week and at the end had some type of a dance-off with your students. You can completely ignore the competitive element and just do it for fun.

However you choose to give them a whirl, these movement activities are so much fun. Who knew such a simple dance would make a significant difference in the school day?

Justifying Dance Breaks

Incorporating dance breaks into the classroom is a great way to boost students’ mental health and reduce stress levels. Taking a few minutes to move and groove to some of their favorite tunes can give students the perfect opportunity to release built-up tension, increase energy levels, and improve their overall well-being.

Whether it’s a solo dance party at their desk or a group dance floor extravaganza, the benefits of dance breaks are numerous and well-documented.

As someone with years of experience working in education, I can say with confidence that incorporating dance breaks into the school day is one of the best ways to promote mental health and create a positive classroom environment.

Not only are dance breaks a great way to promote mental health, but they are also a fun and engaging way to break up the day and provide students with a much-needed brain break. Whether it’s a quick two-minute dance party or a longer dance floor session, students of all abilities can benefit from a little bit of movement and physical activity during the school day.

And with the best dance breaks often accompanied by a catchy music video or an upbeat playlist, students are sure to have a great time dancing to their favorite tunes.

Dance brain breaks are the best way to improve behavior management in the classroom because they offer a fun and engaging way for students to take a break from academic tasks and release pent-up energy. These breaks are worth watching as they not only help to improve focus and attention but also promote physical activity and a positive mood.

Introducing new dances every now and then helps to keep students interested and engaged. Going the extra mile to incorporate popular or culturally relevant music and moves can further increase student engagement and motivation (even for complete beginners in the pop culture world!). It’s important to encourage students to put on their dancing shoes and participate, regardless of their abilities. This promotes a sense of inclusivity and belonging in the classroom.

By incorporating dance brain breaks into the classroom routine, students can experience the benefits of physical activity without sacrificing valuable academic time. Next time you’re looking for a way to improve behavior management in your classroom, consider implementing dance brain breaks to create a fun and engaging learning environment for dancers of all abilities.

Why Just Dance Brain Breaks Make Sense

Just Dance kids’ brain breaks can be an excellent form of stress relief for students. They are able to relieve some of the pressure they feel when in the classroom environment. It’s also a great way to help them burn off excess energy they may have built up during the day. Another bonus is that Just Dance breaks are free or very inexpensive for classroom teachers, depending on the Just Dance game you choose to play.

The fact that you can access so many of them on YouTube is also extremely helpful for the classroom environment. Whether you need the students to calm down or “rev up”, you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for with Just Dance brain breaks. Just Dance brain breaks are also great for increasing focus among students.

Whether they can dance freely without following along with lyrics, or choose to follow along with lyrics, the movements of the routines help increase their focus by allowing them to concentrate on something other than sitting in class.

And no, you don’t have to teach physical education to rock this!

Additionally, Just Dance brain breaks can help develop social skills. By choosing to dance along with someone they know, such as a friend, students are able to increase their interpersonal skills.

Just Dance brain breaks can also be used as an introduction to new content or activities that may need to be taught in the classroom. For example, if you’re teaching about a topic that requires students to do some kind of movement, such as learning about plants and then having them walk as plants sway in the wind, you can use Just Dance brain breaks to prepare your students for this type of activity.

In addition to all the reasons listed above, I’ve found that Just Dance brain breaks are a great option for adults who want to burn off some excess energy throughout the day. Just Dance brain breaks are also great for students of any age who need to remember basic choreography or just want to follow along with their favorite songs.

The best part about utilizing a brain break dance is that the Just Dance franchise takes into account those following along with their dances and offers many routines for different levels of “rhythm”.

Regardless, you’re going to have an experience where your students are able to get up and move around in a short period of time, yet an extremely effective amount to really increase the energy level in the room.

Below are a few examples of some of the great YouTube videos for Just Dance brain breaks.

Dinosaur Stomp Koo Koo Kanga Roo

This is fun for the younger crowd. Bryan, Neil, Liz, Brinna, and Rose walk kids through how to act like a dinosaur in a fun, quirky dance.

Before you know it, your students will be singing, “Pick up your foot and stomp it, stomp it…open up your jaws and chomp it, chomp it” and, most likely, you’ll find yourself humming along as well. A well spent 3 minutes and 14 seconds.

Ding Dong Song’ Crazy Frogs Video

Oh boy; if you want to see your students break out some crazy dance moves, this one is for you. These frogs are super cute and can bust a move. Your students will love joining in on the fun. This one is a bit shorter at 2:19.

Cha Cha Slide’ Instructional Video

Who doesn’t love the Cha Cha Slide? This video version (and there are many), walk students through all the moves to be able to master this line dance favorite. Left foot, two stomps! (3:39)

Boom Chicka Boom

This “repeat after me” favorite will certainly help get the wiggles out of your younger students. This timeless classic will have everyone chanting “I said a boom chica boom!” over and over again. A little longer, this one is 3:45.

Can’t Stop The Feeling

This one is great because it has a lot of popular elements that the kids will love. Number 1, it’s from the movie Trolls, which seems to be timeless. The song itself is also a popular Justin Timberlake song.

To boot, a lot of the dance moves are trendy dances that the kids are doing anyway.

This creates the “perfect storm” of entertainment for younger students (and older ones who may be willing to let their guard down and reminisce a little) which creates some nice buy-in….and it’s 3 minutes.

Apache (Jump On It)

Ahhhh….anyone who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s will also want to “jump on” this one! The Apache dance is also timeless and this will also give your students some life skills when they’re at a wedding later on to know some stellar dance moves to a classic song.

Plus, introduce them to some Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and they’ll be excited like the rest of us. This one is 4 minutes.

Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)

Another extremely popular dance, “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) will certainly have your students get into a dance-off. The nice part about this one is that you can be almost guaranteed that some of your students know this dance already….but since it shows the moves, no one feels left out for not knowing the moves to this dance already. This dance is 3 minutes and 30 seconds.


Here is another popular, mainstream song, Despacito. Bonus points that this one can be used in a Spanish class or other multicultural studies class as the song itself is in Spanish. The speed of this song is a bit slower, which is good for classes that may need a dance that is a little less intimidating. This one is also 4 minutes.

Just Dance Brain Breaks: A Recap

What I have given you here are just a few quick options for Just Dance brain breaks that can be found on YouTube. I tried to find the ones that might pique the most students’ interest in this list. However, if you go on YouTube and just type in Just Dance, so many options come up.

A fun option before you start this may be to poll your students on what their favorite songs are. I’m not guaranteeing that there is a dance for everyone, but you might be able to find some of them, which certainly would help with some student buy-in.

We’ve all been there when “ our jam” comes on and it just creates a better mood and atmosphere. Being able to do that will certainly help, if possible.

You may want to find your own songs without asking the students, and that is perfectly fine too. You might find a song that somehow connects to what you are doing in class, the time of year, or any other number of options. Again these are only three or four minutes, so even if you find a song that you think is going to go over really well and it ends up being a dud with your students, you can certainly just try a different one.

You could also purposely find one from a different era or one that the students are just not familiar with to add that dance-off challenge aspect. it wouldn’t be terribly fair to add a competitive element when half the class may already know the song or dance and half the class is not. The opportunities are absolutely endless.

So when you notice that your students need an energizing brain break, have your playlist ready and spend three or four minutes getting them up and moving around. Dancing helps on a number of levels. Since the entire purpose of a brain break is to get the blood flowing and oxygen pumping,

Just Dance brain breaks are a perfect option when you really need to perk up your students. Frankly, you may want to participate yourself if you also need a little boost. A word of warning, try not to get lost in the city of YouTube videos (as that would be easy to do!).

I would certainly suggest as mentioned creating a playlist that you can jump into at any time. you can always add or delete videos from that playlist, but having it ready to go at your disposal makes it easier than having to try to find a song when the moment strikes.

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This article was originally published on April 15, 2019

After moving from a teacher-dominated classroom to a truly student-centered one, Jenn found herself helping colleagues who wanted to follow her lead.  In 2018 she decided to expand outside of her school walls and help those out there who were also trying to figure out this fantastic method of instruction to ignite intrinsic motivation in their students.  Read more about her journey with Student-Centered World at studentcenteredworld.com/about

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