Posted: Sunday, December 20, 2009

Though Mendenhall River Community School teacher Jane Canaday's kindergarten class became the first to use inflatable ball seats when she incorporated them into the classroom last February, Janalynn Ferguson's second grade class at Glacier Valley Elementary has been using the balls since October.

An A1 story on Friday implied Canaday was the only teacher to incorporate ball-seats into the classroom regularly. All those with whom the Empire spoke for the story, including the school district, said as far as they knew that was the case.

Ferguson incorporated the balls, which are on loan from the gym, with the help of physical education teacher Susie Denton. They incorporated two different sizes of balls into the classroom and inflated them to the point at which each child's legs are at a 90 degree angle.

"She and I had been talking about trying it for two years, and we decided we wanted to give it a go," Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the class has experienced similar behavioral improvements, with students speaking out of turn less. "This cut dramatically the number of times they would call out in class," she said.

She also said students fall off the balls less often than they do chairs.

Rules also are important in her classroom; children had to earn the right to use the balls with good behavior.

"Sitting on the ball provides enough stimulation for kids that are wigglier," she said.

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