Students At PA School Leave Class With A Little 'Bounce' In Step - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Students At PA School Leave Class With A Little 'Bounce' In Their Step

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Teacher Jim Duey sings the apostrophe sing to his 6th grade class at Phoenixville Middle School. Teacher Jim Duey sings the apostrophe sing to his 6th grade class at Phoenixville Middle School.
Duey says these "stability balls" help with posture and with developing core strength. Duey says these "stability balls" help with posture and with developing core strength.
PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. -

A quick peek inside Jim Duey's 6th grade writing class makes it clear his methods are unconventional.

When FOX 29s Bruce Gordon visited Phoenixville Middle School, Duey's class was learning about apostrophes by singing lyrics Duey wrote to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face."

But to really see what's UP in Duey's classroom, you have to look DOWN.

There are no chairs in this room.

Each and every child sits—perched-- on an exercise ball!

Duey says he first saw them used in a classroom three years ago.

"And I was like, 'oh my God! This is just perfect," he told Gordon. "I went out to Five Below that day. I bought five of them!"

The idea took off, and Duey used a grant to buy a room full of durable "stability balls" from a company called WittFitt.

What's the benefit?

Well, these things require some balance- some attention- to staying in place and upright.

"This really helps with posture," says Duey, "and with developing core strength."

Improve your posture, he says, and you get more oxygen to the brain.

"And so, when you're feeding the brain the correct stuff, it's going to respond better."

The kids have responded.

They're the envy of the school!

"The spheres make me stay attention more in class," says Cole O'Neill.

Jessica Hen agrees. "They're just enjoyable and they're a break from boring old chairs."

Andrew Holmberg says, "Usually the chairs kind of get uncomfortable sometimes- they don't exactly feel good on your back and stuff."

And Madison Trimble says the benefit was immediate.

"I don't lean back as much, so my back feels better."

Because these are more fun than chairs, the kids spend less time asking to get up for a trip to the bathroom or water fountain.

Duey knows this strategy doesn't "sit" well with every educator.

But it works for his kids.

"You have to teach within your comfort range, because if you don't, then the kids are going to perceive that it's not real. And if you're real, the kids are going to learn more."

In class, Duey does his best to encourage referring to these as "spheres," not "balls." These are, after all, middle school kids, with a sense of humor to match!"

Call them whatever you want.

Duey's kids leave class, with a little extra 'bounce' in their step.

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