I am a couple of months ahead of schedule on this fitness ball idea. I had applied for a grant and still have not heard anything, so I was going to ask parents to buy one for their own child and then I would buy any that didn't have one. Well, on Friday morning, a parent showed up with ten balls and five others kids came with their own. We just need 4 more!!
Having taught for 8 years, I have always known that the fitness balls would immediately help children with ADHD. The ability to fidgit helps them to use up their energy and help them to focus on learning and practice instead of focusing on sitting still to please the teacher.
After attending a teacher workshop where I sat on a fitness ball, I was sold on the idea for ALL people. Sitting in a chair is uncomfortable and lazy--the sitter can become bored and feel tired. As I sat on the fitness ball, I realized that I was alert and tracking the speaker better that I normally would. I also felt energized. Further research tapped me into the results of the study done by the Mayo clinic about allowing children to move and encourage them to be fit and strong throughout the day.
The fitness balls made for a bouncy math lesson, but the students were more alert and focused--and QUIET when I was presenting direct instruction. During guided practice they were all involved--no slouching or disengagement. I noticed the students who seem to take a while to wake up and get involved in the morning, were surprisingly active and engaged in the learning. I guess sitting on a ball forces one to wake up and get with it--or you roll/fall off fast.