I am a 6th grade Special Education Teacher in an urban school district in a Wisconsin classroom. My class consists of special needs middle-school students who are learning disabled. Many have behavior problems, too. My students are below poverty level and many come from single-parent homes. I have great kids in my classroom who are very eager to learn, have great ideas, and contribute a lot to everyone's learning process.
Because a number of my students are below poverty level, they often don't have electricity at their home, food or sometimes even a consistent place to sleep. Bringing school supplies is not a priority to them - getting through the day without wondering where they'll sleep or getting some food may be their number one job. I like to feel my classroom is a safe, welcoming place where they can forget about their homes for just a little bit and learn to love learning.
With my students' disabilities, their developmental ages and their home situations, having lots of opportunity to move is an important part of their day. Growth plates need to develop and that takes movement, brains need to be stimulated and that takes movement, restlessness from the uncertainty of where they'll be sleeping takes movement to calm. I believe ball chairs (exercise balls) can provide all the stimulation they need in a classroom-friendly manner.
I would like to use one myself at my "teacher desk" and if a student is having a particularly rough day, having a ball chair would be wonderful. Unfortunately, one is not enough to go around! These exercise balls would also be used by the other special needs students in the building. Every grade in our Middle School would be provided the opportunity to use these ball chairs to assist in their education.
Your donation will help my students get the socially acceptable kind of large muscle input they need to stay focused and learn. Being able to lightly bounce in a chair, roll around a little bit or wiggle will help their bodies get that movement that it sometimes needs for the brain to stay focused.
Think of how many times you've rocked back on your chair, pumped your knee up and down during that boring meeting or wanted to get up and stand instead of listening to the boss talk while seated. Same thing with kids...! I've seen the difference the ball chairs (exercise balls) can make with the kid who cannot sit still and is bothering everyone else and taking away from learning. When they sit on the ball, they instantly are focused. Thank you for your consideration. Any donation toward my proposal will make a valuable difference.
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