Thursday, July 11, 2013

Having a Ball While Learning!

Back in February, I embarked on my first Donor's Choose project! I had thought for some time as to what I needed in my classroom that I would not be able to access myself.  This year's class was very, VERY, energetic and so I decided to put my year's worth of research into action.  I decided that I wanted to ask for ball chairs to replace the regular chairs in my classroom.  Think I'm crazy yet?...A lot of people did!  I had read research articles, blogs from other teachers, and watched videos of the ball chairs in action before making my decision to give it a try!  I am always looking for new and innovative ideas for my classroom, and this is something I truly felt passionate about!  It only took ONE week, 17 wonderful donors, and the support of my husband, parents, and family to reach $938!  My students and I were completely ecstatic!

I started out the ball chairs in my room with only a handful of students.  I gave it to the students that I thought would benefit most from the new chairs.  We established "Rules for Safe Sitting" and did a lot of modeling before the small group was able to use them.  Within the first few days, I saw HUGE improvements in their stamina to sit, or how I like to call it, they had "less ants in their pants!"  After the ball chairs were given to the rest of the class (with the help of a wonderful student that helped blow them up with the pump) the real observations began!

When you are trying to balance, both sides of your brain need to work together to allow you to balance.  When both sides are working together, it causes you to focus more!  Some of the improvements I saw were posture (which produced neater handwriting), stamina for reading, writing, and learning, less getting up out of their seats, and an increase in focus!  All of the students absolutely LOVED the ball chairs and were sad to hear that they were not going to have them in 3rd grade (I am the only whole-class in my district with ball chairs).

The students knew that if they were not sitting appropriately, that they were given a warning, and then after, they were given a regular "boring" chair for the rest of the day.  I did have the occasional fall off, but it happened with regular chairs too.  Some students would bounce to high, but then were given a motion to slow it down.  Most students adhered to the rules and everything worked out great!  I cannot wait to use them in September!!! Thank you Donor's Choose, my family, and anonymous donors that helped make my dream become a reality!  You are all a part of a game changing process in Room 202!

If anyone has any questions about the ball chairs, please feel free to ask!! =)


  1. I love Donors Choose! I got my classroom rug that way. I love your blog. Too Cute. Hi! My name is Portia Pitts and I teach 2nd grade. I have nominated you for The Liebster Award. It is an award given to blogs with less than 200 followers. Please go to my blog to see what steps you will have to take to complete the process. I am exited to share the blogging world with you

    1. Hi, Portia!! I am extremely flabbergasted, honored, excited, and thankful that you thought to nominate me for the Liebster Award!! I am totally new to the blogging world, so this is such an honor! Thank you so much!! I am heading over to your blog now! Thank you so much! <3

  2. Hi Mrs. McGrath,
    I too won a classroom grant for a set of stability balls and had a couple of questions for you. Do you have your students the entire day? How long did you do a "work up to full day of ball sitting" schedule? Did you have the kids swap out chairs and balls? Where did you store balls and chairs? Also, did you have any intentionally harm the ball? Please let me know.
    Erika 【ツ】
    Wild About 2nd Grade

    1. Hi! I am not sure why I am just seeing this now! I gave them out in waves of 5, eventually giving them to the whole class. The kids earned them with behavior (but my first group to get them was a group that my principal and I felt needed them, per my principal). I had them at my group table for a while so the kids got experience with them and new the rules to sitting on them, so when they got them, they got them for the whole day. I don't have the kids at their seats all day, however. I do a lot of work around the room. Since my ball chairs have legs, the kids kept them on top of their desks at the end of the day, but at the end of the year, I had the kids help deflate them and they are now in a big bin in my basement. I did have someone not in my room write a curse word on the ball, and another student scraped it with scissors, but that's it, knock on wood!

  3. I just googled "second grade" ball chairs and came up with your blog! Yay for me! Love it and thank you!
    How did you determine where to order and what size is best for second graders? Are you still loving them? This is exactly what I want to do for my class! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi!! I am so glad you found me!! Since I'm a tad OCD and wanted all of the ball chairs to be the same color, the only way to do it was to buy all the same size (they don't have orange with legs in other sizes). So to have the ball chairs properly fit the students, I had them sit on them and then added or released air so the students legs and knees had a 90 bend. I got the 21 1/2 inch ones since I had a yoga ball that I brought in that was a similar size to test out. I absolutely LOVE them! This is year 2 with them and I have seen so many benefits. I have one child that is not on a ball because he purposefully took the plug out and deflated it 3 times, so 3 strikes, you're out! Other than that, my students do very well on them. We do have the occasional fall off, but I had that with chairs too! If you have any more questions, feel free to email me: I suggest you do a donor's choose for it, because they are expensive!!!

      Thanks for stopping by!