Sunday, August 18, 2013

Stablility Balls in Fifth Grade

Classroom Library with 3 balls
After spending the summer relaxing and hanging out with my family, I finally started to feel the itch to get into my classroom. Since I couldn't, I started to stare at Pinterest and looked through tons of other teachers' classrooms.  One caught my eye, and after reading the blog post I got super excited!  Mrs. Smyth from New Adventures in First Grade wrote about how she replaced all her chairs with stability balls.  Intrigued, I read more about it. 

After reading over her post and doing some of my own research on it, I was sold.....kind of. One, I knew that at my school replacing ALL the chairs in my classroom with a stability ball just isn't feasable. I know my principal would be very supportive but we simply don't have the space to store the chairs anywhere. Plus, we have so many books and items that my kids need their chairs to store the hardcover books underneath and their chairpockets for other things. However, I thought if I could incorporate even just a few that it could still be beneficial. Especially since I knew some of my kids could REALLY benefit from these.

After thinking about it I decided to get ten balls and contacted a parent who seemed very excited to donate things to my classroom. Thankfully she was on board and knew about the benefits of it already.  She placed the order immediately. :-)  Before ordering, I made sure I was getting the correct size for my kids. I ended up going with ten purple 55cm balls from Amazon at only $10 a pop! Not too shabby in my opinion.

The balls arrived and I couldn't wait to blow them up. Thankfully I read the directions before doing so and learned that I had to follow the 80/24 rule. Blow them up to only 80% of their capacity and wait 24 hours before filling it up the remaining 20%.  This helps the ball stretch before you fill it too much.

Our back table. Three balls on each side.
I placed six of the balls at the back table for when we do group work and three more are in our classroom library.  The final ball I have at my desk area. I figure I can use some major core strengthening myself especially after having two kids. ;-)  I plan on going to the Dollar Store and getting either frisbees or some other object to help keep the balls from rolling all over the place when we aren't using them.  However, I can say that they don't roll too badly in my classroom since I have carpeting. They do a little if pushed but for the most part they have stayed where I placed them.
Rules poster (right above the back table)
I'm eagerly awaiting the students to arrive in a week to see and start using them.  I did put together a little rule poster for the balls but I plan on also creating a poster with my students as to what we should and should not see when a student is utilizing the ball.  If they can't follow directions, they will love the privilege for a week. I plan on having a three strikes you're out policy per semester.

I did have a Pilates Certified Instructor make a recommendation to only have my students sit on them for short periods of time (max 20 minutes) as many kids these days don't have the proper muscles developed for longer periods.  This is good to know and since I only have them at the back table and in my library the kids wouldn't be using them for longer than that anyway. 

I will keep you all posted as the year goes on.  So tell me, do any of you have stability balls in your classroom?  How is it?

P.S. Stay tuned. I'll have my classroom tour up soon. :-)


  1. This is awesome! I just decided on my next DonorsChoose project. Thanks! I also appreciate you including information on the 80/20 bit as well as the 20 minute periods. I look forward to definitely seeing your follow up posts on this. :-)

  2. You're braver than I, Katie! Good luck! I can't wait to see how your kids react to them. I have had so many kids in the past who would have loved them - I have contemplated them a few times myself. Never took the plunge, though!


  3. Did the 55cm size work at the desks? I am debating which size to get for my class.

    1. Yes, the size I got was fine for their desks too. However, you are supposed to get the size that goes with the person's height which is why I did the 55 cm.

      4'11" to 5'4" height: 55 cm ball
      5'4" to 5'11" height: 65 cm ball
      5'11" to 6' 7" height: 75 cm ball

      However, if you haven't seen these disc, check them out. If I was to do a full classroom set, I think I would keep my chairs and do these instead.

  4. I got stability balls as chairs for my 2nd grade classroom last year and they LOVED it! They use them all day and didn't seem to have any problems. They always knew they could switch to a chair if they wanted.

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Katie! So many times I hear younger grade teachers saying that their kids "could never handle it". I know that's not true!

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