Seating Swap Helps Students Focus

Finding a way to get students to focus on their work is a challenge for any teacher. A Ralston educator is trying out a new method that might just work.

At first glance, Mrs. Meader’s first-grade classroom looks like any other but a closer look reveals that the chairs are missing. They’ve been replaced with stability balls.

Sarah Meader said, “Being able to use the core ball to bounce or roll within their area is allowing them to be able to continuously stay on task but able to move at the same time."

Staying on task is a challenge for just about any first-grader but it’s especially so for some of Mrs. Meaders students. Some are hearing-impaired, others have ADHD and one youngster has cerebral palsy.

Sarah has discovered the constant bouncing has a special effect.

“That excess energy is not as high as it was. Because they're able to get their excess energy out on the ball they're able to focus for a lot longer,” she said.

They also do exercises on the ball during breaks, and first-grader Sophia Hardy sees it helping her in the future.

She says, “They help me keep my balance and I can have a nice core when I get older."

Meader tells us, “My hope is that everybody will catch on to this; that they will see that it's something that is working."

It’s working well enough that Sophia isn't interested in chairs anymore.

Mrs. Meader plans to test her students every few months to see how they perform at a desk chair versus the ball. She plans on publishing the results at the end of the school year.

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