Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Stanley the Koosh Ball!

This post is for all of you that have a SMART Board or other brand
of Interactive Whiteboard in your classroom.
Did you know that you can use a "Koosh Ball" to activate your
board and, thus, create a kinesthetic learning opportunity for your students?
Before I graduated with my B.Ed I spent a lot of time substitute teaching
in a Kindergarten class near our home. As part of their morning
calendar time, students reviewed months/days/years by activating review
prompts on their SMART Board with a "Koosh Ball".
These rubbery balls are the perfect sensory tools if you have students
that need "fidget toys" but they also work perfect for this activity
because they activate the SMART Board but are so soft that you won't
damage it by throwing them at the screen!
I got used to this activity while substitute teaching and then promptly
forgot about it because I didn't think my Grade 7-10 students
would want anything to do with it. Then, however, I came across "Stanley".
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Ball Toys. (2011). Uploaded by Heidi Ferrer. Available online at: http://girltomom.com/mommy-mistake/stop-thief
Now I don't have an exact picture of Stanley but he is blue, has a cute little face, and looks
just like the "Koosh Ball" in the photo above.
I purchased Stanley from our dollar store for $2 & thought I'd give it
a try because I felt like I was having a hard time building in enough
kinesthetic activities in our math classes.
Surprisingly, my Grade 8 students LOVE Stanley!!
They bought right into Stanley as a "character".
- He only likes math so that is the only time we see him
- He lives in the bottom drawer of my desk because he is scared of the outdoors
- He lives off of pickles, broken pencils, and chewed up loose-leaf
I've used Stanley as an activating strategy to reveal new information
as well as a review strategy to quiz students.
What is even better, is that SMART Exchange has 100's of
"Koosh Ball" Review Templates that you can use and modify
to suit your class needs and subject area!
Tips/Tricks That Have Worked For Me Using "Koosh Ball" Activities with Middle/High School
- Create a story to go behind why you are doing the activity.
  It can be funny or crazy but a story helps students at this age
  buy into the activity.
- Have an "x" on the floor to mark where students can throw from.
- Build in an underhand throw rule if your students throw TOO hard.
- If you have bigger class sizes, incorporate an activity so that students
  are in groups or completing another aspect of the activity so they have
  something to do while another student is throwing.
Do you use "Koosh Balls" in your classroom?
If you have any activity ideas or tips that you want to share, leave them in the comment section below!

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