Here is a fun full body movement song that you can use as a brain break: Sing the children’s song “Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes” in the target language with different verbs and actions attached.  Even my high school students enjoy singing and acting it out.

Here’s how to do it:  Teach the body parts to the song with classical TPR. Do not let them know what’s coming. Teach the body parts in random order over the course of two days. Instead of the normal TPR command of “touch”, mix it up a bit by using “grab” and “point at” too.

When students are fairly confident with the 8 body parts in the song you can sing the traditional version of it. I suggest using a guitar because you can control the tempo and react to the class much better than with a recording and it is more commanding than just singing it a cappella.

The first time through the song sing each part with “toca” (touch): “Toca la cabeza, toca los hombros, toca las rodillas, toca los pies” (Touch your head, touch your shoulders, touch your knees, touch you feet).

The next round use “agarra” (grab). Make sure they know they are grabbing parts of their own body. I tell them to “grita” (yell) when a part that would hurt is grabbed.

The final round is the MMA version, or the self-defense version. Use “le pega” (punch). Have them pretend to punch their own body first. The next time they can pretend to punch an imaginary opponent. On “rodillas” (knees) and “pie” (foot) they can kick.

Oh my! Isn’t that a bit too loud and rowdy? Doesn’t it just encourage violence? Shouldn’t our students just sit in their cages, er, desks all day with hands folded, staring straight ahead with a slight smile on their faces, nodding benignly? Yea, that’s probably right, kids don’t need to move when we just medicate them into submission. Your pharmaceutical-industrial complex thanks you.


This song and many others are in my book Songs for Spanish Class, available at