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Classroom Grants

Bouncing Toward Success: A Teaching for Excellence Grant

Every year, our educators are continuing to look for ways to help their students learn and retain knowledge. Some come up with innovative and ingenious ways to achieve this goal and the Pinellas Education Foundation is pleased to be able to assist these hard working teachers with their missions.

Kerry Giordano, a sixth grade teacher at Thurgood Marshall Middle School, did some research on the learning styles of boys and girls and determined that boys especially need movement and action to stay focused. So, as an experiment, she decided to buy a giant exercise ball and on a rotating basis had students sit on it during class. She discovered that students used all of their excess energy to keep from falling off the ball and therefore stayed focused on what they were learning.

Kerry applied for a Teach for Excellence grant of $500 to provide 25 giant exercise balls for each one of her students and the results have been phenomenal.

“The balls themselves do not provide the student with knowledge, but they enhance the learning environment because they allow students to focus excess energy in a positive manner. This energy release does a couple of things: It keeps the student from causing a class disruption and allows them to focus on the task at hand therefore helping them acquire more knowledge,” Kerry stated.

In addition, students have begun to view sitting on the exercise balls as a privilege and comply with the class rules in order not to lose the opportunity.

“I’ve tried other strategies to help students with the issue of focusing, but none have been as successful as my ball experiment on a class wide scale,” Kerry concluded.

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