Having a ball in the classroom

Children in Michelle Blalocks’ third grade class at Edwins Elementary use the exercise balls as chairs.

Some students at Destin Elementary may soon have a ball in the classroom — literally.

Local resident Lindsay Cannon is trying to bring exercise balls or stability balls into a few of the classrooms at the elementary school.

Cannon, who serves as a substitute teacher in the Okaloosa County school system, got the idea after walking into a classroom at Edwins Elementary in Fort Walton Beach that had students sitting at their desk, using the balls for chairs.

“I thought, what are they doing,” Cannon said. “I thought the kids were going to be jumping all over the place, but I honestly couldn’t believe the difference of the attitudes and the concentration.”

Cannon was substituting for Michelle Blalock at Edwins, who instituted the balls into her classroom.

“Michelle said their grades have even improved,” since bringing in the balls.

Since Blalock brought them into her third grade class, other classrooms have them as well.

“I just love the idea,” Cannon said.

“I thought if Edwins could do it, why not Destin Elementary.”

Cannon brought the idea to her daughter’s first grade teacher, Liz Nissley, as well as Principal Janet Stein, and both were receptive to the idea.

“I think it’s worth a try,” Stein said, noting the childrens physical well being is very important in the learning process.

At Destin Elementary, “we are interested in teaching the whole child,” Stein said, including music, dance, and physical education.

And if sitting on a ball lets them figit a little and still learn, Destin Elementary welcomes the exercise ball.

“I’m eager to see if it works,” Stein said.

Cannon is trying to raise enough money to bring 45 balls into the school, starting with Nissley’s first grade class and possibly some in Gail Woodham’s second grade class and Lee Barkely’s third grade class as well.

“I want to help bring them in to whatever class rooms I can, that want to try it out.”

Right now, Cannon has 15 balls. The cost for a ball is as low as $5 and they come in small, medium and large.

“The balls also help with posture. You can’t lean on those ball, you’ll fall off,” she said.

“It also helps I think with behavorial issues,” she said, noting if a child is acting up in the classroom they could have their ball taken away. “It could be an incentive to be better and get their ball back.”

The balls also help with concentration.

“Kids are figeting sitting in those chairs all day long. Just having that extra bounce, stimulates their brain somehow,” Cannon said.

“I saw a big time difference,” at Edwins, Cannon said.

“And what’s cool about  the balls is they fit at the desk. We’re not taking the chairs out, just stacking them to the side.”

If interested in contributing to the exercise balls for the classrooms, contact Cannon at