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Stranger than Fiction: Indiana Teacher Keeps Students on the Ball
posted by: Ruthie | November 29, 2012, 09:25 PM   

Good teachers know how to keep students' attention, maintain their enthusiasm, and have them leave the class feeling energized. Sara Wright, a 5th grade teacher in Indiana found a way to accomplish these objectives, and it doesn't involve keeping students in their seats.

Taking inspiration from a study by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Wright switched out desk chairs for bouncy balls. Taking the proof that bouncy balls increased in-seat behavior and legible word productivity for students with ADHD, as well as the findings indicating that teachers and students preferred sitting on therapy balls, Wright applied the theory to her classroom.

"It said it really increased their attention span because their body is engaged and their mind is engaged," Wright told the reporters. "It's also burning calories so they're not as fidgety throughout the day."

Students have responded favorably to the new innovation. Wright reports fewer students are turning in late assignments and there is an increased level of attention.

Fifth grade student Bess Wheeler said, "I think they're really nice because it's really good for your back when you're just sitting on them, and it makes me concentrate a lot and our class has been a lot nicer to people that walk in the room."

Other schools have attempted similar calming approaches towards relaxing students' bodies and minds, like yoga in the classroom. However, despite many studies citing yoga as helpful in warding off anxiety and depression, because of its religious connotation the idea received much backlash.

Yoga and bouncy balls are just a few of the steps being taken towards a more holistic approach to learning. Other measures include the new school lunch guidelines and the safe schools healthy students initiative, aimed at preventing bullying.

In order to foster authentic learning, teachers must take into account not only the academic, but the physical, mental, and emotional needs of students.

What are you doing to promote holistic learning in your classroom?

Comment below.

Comments (1)Add Comment
This stuff WORKS!
written by Tracie, Onalaska, December 02, 2012

I use balls in my classroom, as well, although not all the kids have them (I can't afford it!). We also use upside-down 5-gallon buckets, "wiggle seats" and Me Moves. If you haven't seen or used Me Moves, check it out. They really work! Combining brain breaks with physical activity. My kids love it!

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