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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The "Ball Chairs"

I have been wanting stability balls from my classroom ever since I was in undergrad. However, when I was hired I thought that we would not be allowed to have them. Our school is very strict on not bringing outside furniture into the classroom if it is not approved by the county. So, I just put the idea on the back burner.
Then, my partner teacher went to a PTA meeting where the principal discussed these stability balls. I practically screamed when I heard! I jumped on the opportunity, pulled up the research I had on them, and went into the principal to request them in my room. I currently split a class set (20) with my partner teacher, so we each have 10 balls. I use 6 at my small group table and 4 at my writing center (both pictured in the back in the picture above).

Needless to say, I was extremely excited...except for the fact that you have to blow each one up with a hand pump. It takes for.ev.errrr! 

Pros over regular chairs: The balls are suppose to increase oxygen flow to the brain when students are working, and allow them time to move. Sometimes we teachers forget that they are only 6 years old. Children NEED movement throughout the day. The balls have helped with this tremendously. They are also used to help students with ADHD focus throughout the day.

Cons: Some teachers say that they get sick watching the kids bounce up and down all day. I haven't really found that to be a problem in my classroom. After the first day or two, the kids work and bounce lightly. I tell them, "If you're bouncing like your at Jump Zone, then we have a problem." :) They seems to connect with that and understand that the balls are to help them while learning.

But there are some rules:
Usually, the only one that has to be enforced is #3 - Keep TWO feet on the floor at ALL times! I do have a few little ones who like to hug the sides of the ball with their legs and balance during reading groups...so they get one warning and then its off to a chair!

But overall, I have very few problems. I love the stability balls. I can't even remember what I did with chairs at my table anymore!
These stability balls are from WittFitt. I have found them to be the most bang for your buck. They are very high quality and only about $25-30 per ball depending on the height of your students. Witt Fitt balls also have the four little feet on the bottom. BEST THING EVER! There are no balls rolling through my classroom during the day! Check them out at www.wittfitt.com.

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