September 6, 2015

Wobble, Baby!

If you teach early childhood like I do, you are most likely seeing a push-down of curriculum and pressure for more rigor, which equates to more seat work for little ones.  I try to incorporate as many brain breaks and movement opportunities into my day as possible, but when I heard about Wobble Chairs, I knew I had to find a way to get some for my Kinder darlings.

If you haven't heard about Wobble Chairs, they are a plastic stool with a rounded base that allows students to rock and turn while staying seated.  It also helps promote proper posture in young children.  Much like the yoga ball chair movement, but I preferred the stool to balls rolling all over my classroom.  Call me crazy.

So, last spring I wrote a Donors Choose project for a classroom set of 24 Wobble Chairs.  If you haven't done a Donors Choose yet, you should! So easy to complete and I have had both of my projects funded quickly.  I wrote this project pretty late in the year, and even though it was funded within a week or two (thanks the support of my awesome family, classroom parents, and other donors), the products did not ship until the start of this school year.

Our chairs arrived to my site on a Friday, so I spent the weekend unpacking.  They were so easy to assemble!  They come shipped in a flat box, and are in three parts.  The top and the base snap onto the "stem," and ta-da! They are ready to go!

I grouped them at tables by color, because I tend to be super obsessive compulsive organized, and anxiously awaited the arrival of Monday morning! 

Monday arrived and "Katy, bar the door!" The students were just as excited as I was! There were many unforeseen hiccups, and I found myself saying, "Okay, new rule!" about every 5 minutes.  I run a pretty tight classroom, and I didn't like not knowing what to expect with the chairs.  So here are some things I wish I had known about the Wobble Chairs before my students arrived:
  • Students will try to spin on the chairs, both on their bottoms and laying on their stomachs.
  • Students will try to stick their feet out and balance on the chairs (almost like a reverse plank).
  • Students will want to rest their feet on the plastic base, instead of the floor.
  • Students will "fake" that the chairs are "too wobbly" to stay on.
It took me all of twenty minutes to figure out about every ground rule that needed to be established.  Luckily, that is about the time it takes from the time students arrive to the time we meet for morning meeting.  During morning meeting, we established these rules for the Wobble Chairs:
  1. Bottoms on the chairs at all times.
  2. Feet on the floor.
  3. You may rock on the chairs, and you may twist, but no spinning.
  4. If you can't handle the Wobble Chairs, you get to sit in a regular chair. 
I made sure to keep several "regular chairs" on hand in my room, just in case.  So far, no one has had to move to a regular chair, although it has been threatened at least twice ten times.

I've had the Wobble Chairs in my classroom for a week, and I am already seeing the benefits! I am so excited to see what the year brings.  My students are SO much more focused during long periods of seat work, because they can move.  It's hard to tell movement from a picture, but if you look closely below, you can see some rocking and leaning.

Of course, I still break up seat work with brain breaks, but I have noticed such an improvement in behavior and focus during these times.  Once the "newness" wore off the chairs, they have been such a great addition to our classroom!  I will definitely be doing a follow-up post, but for now, I am in love with wobbling! :)  And, yes, I have tried them out myself! Wobble, baby!

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