“How do you think that will go?” “Good luck with that!” These are just a few of the most frequent comments we heard when people (mostly fellow educators) saw that our third grade students would be sitting on yoga balls instead of chairs. (All in a doubtful tone.) This major decision about the furniture in our classroom was not made on a whim. We spent our own money changing this important aspect of our classroom. There are a plethora of reasons for students sitting on yoga balls all day including, but not limited to, improving the focus of all students. By keeping their bodies busy, their minds are more able to focus.
In the first month of school, we have had two popped balls and we have maybe one small fall every few days. We did a lot of interactive modeling the first week on how to use the balls appropriately and have specific rules to using the balls.
1. Both feet on floor at all times.
2. Only small bounces.
3. If you fall off or are not safe on the ball, you use a chair for the rest of the day.
We reinforce these rules every day and do not make exceptions. Students are allowed to choose a chair if they would like, but only one student out of twenty-six chooses to use a chair regularly.
So far, I would say these “chairs” have been a huge success! Students are thrilled and responsible. Parents are receptive and supportive. And we have become accustomed to talking to children and seeing their little heads moving up and down!