Assignment: Education – Alternative Seating

Balance ball chairs help some students focus in the classroom

Long classes and fidgety kids can lead to a lack of focus in the classroom.

A few teachers at Onalaska Middle School introduced a way to solve this problem for some kids.

Ten balance ball chairs were introduced into Mrs. Hunter’s eighth-grade class at Onalaska Middle.

Hunter says she has several students who have movement needs for various reasons, and classes are 84 minutes long which can be a long time for some kids to sit still.

The students have been using the balls for about five months, and Hunter is noticing a difference.

“Especially when kids have individual work time, they seem to be more focused in what they’re doing instead of what’s going on around them,” said Hunter. “So, they’re able to bounce, do that general bouncing, and that kind of calms them in a way and that keeps them focused on what they should be doing.”

Eighth-grader Julian Poellinger says the ball helps him with his posture and is a much more comfortable seating option. He also says he chooses to sit on the ball when he’s feeling tired.

“It helps to move around a little to get me going; keep me awake,” said Poellinger. “But sometimes if I’m feeling alright, I’ll use a chair.”

The ten balls cost $350. They were purchased with a grant from the Onalaska Education Foundation.