Alternative Seating to Enhace Focus and Attention

BY Christy Castleberry

North Falmouth Elementary School/headline]

Project Description

Kinesthetic learners move their bodies in order to learn something new. These learners have a hard time sitting in a typical chair for extended periods of time. In the past these students have been labeled as hyperactive or difficult to teach. The alternative chair project is intended to help seven and eight year old second grade students be more focused during writing time. It is predicted that second grade kinesthetic writers will produce higher quality and increased quantity of writing while using a ball seat instead of a typical seat. Student writing samples will be evaluated and compared for quality and quantity. The grant funding will be used to purchase ball seats for each student that can be used for years to come. Education in the proper use of the ball seat will be completed in the classroom to ensure safety for all students. The outcomes hope to show an improvement in the quality and quantity of writing produced by second grade kinesthetic learners using ball chairs properly throughout the day.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

Writing samples were taken the week of September 20th and the week of September 28th while students were seated in typical seats. Samples will continue once a month for October, November, and December. If the grant is approved and ball seats are purchased, sample writings will be done once a month January through June and compared to those taken in the first three months of school. It is hopeful that children are able to increase their writing content, length, as well as legibility. We also hope to see an increased tolerance for time children are able to sustain the act of writing or writing stamina which is being tracked monthly as well during the samples taken. Ball chairs will also improve sitting posture and thus causing letter formation to improve due to better positioning as compared to earlier writing samples.

Benefit to the students and the school

A problem in education exists in that not every second grader is successful in writers workshop. Students have different personalities, learning styles, and means of accessing curriculum that must be taken into account when planning a writing lesson. Students learn by verbal/linguistic, musical/rhythmic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal intelligences as identified by Howard Gardner. The theory  believes we possess all eight intelligences and some are stronger than others in each individual child. The bodily/kinesthetic intelligence for many children can be quite prominent requiring them more frequent movement breaks, they may be more fidgety than others, and more inattentive then their peers due to their need for kinesthetic input. The ball provides this input. Kinesthetic learners tend to have a lack of focus and inability to sit or stand for long periods of time. An average writing block in second grade is forty five minutes of consistent writing by the end of the school year. For these hands on learners this can be a daunting task while sitting in a typical chair where they cannot move. In addition to not being able to complete the required work these students confidence decreases and they are often labeled with ADHD because of their need to move and fidget. They find it stressful to sit, attend, and listen for extended periods of time. However, with the addition of the ball seat they use large muscle groups to sit properly in the ball helping to increase focus, attention, and writing output.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)

Assessments are already being conducted to obtain baseline writing samples as well as writing stamina times that can then be compared with the same data taken ( writing samples, stamina time) if ball chairs are purchased. Ball chairs will be used for years to come as they are durable and can be transitioned to different classes each year. Ball chairs can also be used among the entire grade level for students who need them to best meet each child’s individual needs.