Balls replace chairs at Whitethorn Primary School - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Balls replace chairs at Whitethorn Primary School

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PRINCETON (NEWS RELEASE) -- When Whitethorn Primary students get together to "bounce around a few ideas," they literally bounce.   In several classrooms, conventional four-legged chairs are gone, replaced by large stability balls that require what researchers call "active sitting."

First-grade teacher Teresa Guill says the research into stability balls shows a clear interplay between brain and body.  "The balls," Guill said, "subconsciously satisfy the neurological need to move, engaging both the body and the brain.  Movement is essential to learning." 

Last year, Guill experimented with using the stability balls in her own classroom.   She shared her results with colleagues and subsequently won a $2,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Virginias to purchase enough for other teachers who wanted to use them. 

 "Watching the students bounce up and down while reading, writing, or problem solving is truly amazing," she said.  "It's funny because when they are not bouncing they tend to respond more slowly. Suddenly, momentum increases and I see, ‘Aha! Moments' occur."

Whitethorn Principal Greg Furrow says the project is just one of several ways in which his faculty is thinking outside the box in order to better reach young learners.  

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