Bouncing helps kids study…no, really
Kids. They have what most doctors like to call, “a butt-ton of energy.” (Seriously, ask any doctor. They’ll confirm this.) So when a teacher finds a way to keep kids’ bodies busy while they sit in class and try to learn, we are all for it. One teacher in Arkansas has found a simple and effective product to help with this: they’re called Bouncy Bands, and we’ll take an order of 300, please.
Last week, Becky Rangel, the public relations officer of Gravette Public Schools in Gravette, Arkansas, posted about an experience she had while visiting a fourth-grade classroom.
In literacy and social studies teacher Jennifer Merriman’s class, Rangel noticed students bouncing their feet on rubber straps attached to the legs of their desks. Wrote Rangel: “I watched the students calmly & quietly reading as their feet bounced away, releasing energy that could have been a distraction without these bands.” Merriman told Rangel that the product was called Bouncy Bands and that in the short time she had been using them they had already had a positive effect on her student’s ability to focus on their work.
Much to her surprise, Rangel’s post has gone viral. According to 40/29 News, the post has now reached over 1 million people and her video of the bands in action has been watched over 8.8 million times. “I wrote a simple post about something one of our teachers did for her classroom. I never expected to hear from people around the world,” Rangel said.
Most of the comments on Rangel’s post are from people who applaud the idea — many are educators and parents who are sharing the post with others, wondering if it’s something that would benefit their students or their children. There are a few, however, who think the whole thing is ridiculous. “Or you could bring back P.E. and let kids release energy that way,” wrote one woman. “And that just might reduce the childhood obesity that is very high.” And that’s fair — some of us remember having PE every day when we were in school, and there is no doubt that that would help with both focus and childhood obesity. Currently, however, we don’t make funding our public schools a priority, and therefore all those “extras” like music, art, and PE, get cut back. It’s awful, it’s sad, and it’s a shame, but it’s where we are right now.
We should all fight for more funding for our schools, but in the meantime, why not look at ways to help the kids who are currently dealing with these issues? Why not look for outside-of-the-box ways to give these kids — who are going nuts sitting still — ways to use their bodies while they’re in class that will allow them to focus on their studies? It doesn’t have to be one or the other — we don’t have to have five days of PE a week or students who are crawling out of their skin while trying to read James and the Giant Peach. If we can find a simple, low-cost way to help these kids out, why not go for it?
“The bands have definitely helped minimize students’ fidgeting and off-task behavior during class. Our school is wonderful in that we have not just one, but two 20-minute recesses plus a 40 minute PE! So we give our students as much physical activity time as we possibly can. These bands are for the in-class time when we must sit in seats and learn and do schoolwork. Mindlessly bouncing or even just resting feet on a rubber band helps keep little brains focused, engaged, and attentive.” Merriman paid for the bands with a $450 grant from Donors Choose, a site that allows donors to choose from among thousands of projects presented by public school teachers across the country. Anyone can donate, and you can give as little as $1 or you can choose to fund an entire project. Amazon.com is also offering a temporary 20% discount on the bands by using this link and the code: “Gravette to make this even more affordable for teachers/individuals.”
Teachers have a tough enough job as it is. We say that if a little foot-bouncing will help, then let’s get them some freakin’ bands, please.
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