Monday, July 25, 2011

3 Ways to Have a Ball with a Beach Ball All Year Round!

Beach balls are an affordable way to have a ball during individual sessions, group sessions, and classroom lessons! I use beach balls many times throughout the day in my work with students. Here are a few ideas of how you can utilize beach balls in your work with students!

Ask a Question
My school counselor colleague, Natasha, had this great idea! After seeing many blow-up balls with questions on them in magazines for counselors, she decided to make her own. Manufactured question balls can be expensive when you do not have a large budget.

Creating your own question-ball is simple and very budget-friendly! All you need is a beach ball with multiple colors or sections and a permanent marker.  You can write any questions you like on the beach ball.  Students take turns throwing the ball up in the air and catching it. Wherever their thumbs land is the question they answer.

The questions in the ball pictured are from the Seeing Red book I used for Anger Management groups. The question ball gets a lot of use even when I am not running a group. I have students come in and pick up the ball and and ask themselves questions and them aloud.

Watch the video I made explaining how to make a question ball.

Taking Turns
Beach balls get the most use in my room during activities that involve students taking turns.  When I run a group session or classroom lesson I explain that the speaker holds the ball and all eyes and ears need to be facing the speaker. I also explain that only the person holding the ball is allowed to speak during that time.

Having a tangible object to hold teaches students to wait their turn to speak. Students are excited to get to hold the ball, which encourages participation.  It is also fun for students to pass the ball to another student by throwing the ball.

Play a Game
One of my first posts ever featured a beach ball in a game of Sneetch-Ball with first graders! 

I love incorporating games into sessions, groups, and lessons I facilitate with students. One of students' favorite games is "Keep it Up." The goal of the game is the title: keep it up! Everyone works together as a team to see how many taps they can make while keeping the ball in the air.

I also facilitate a classroom activity that encourages students to think about all of the different careers that exist. Students name a career that corresponds with the letter in the alphabet. For example A-Astronaut, B-Builder, C-Cartoonist, etc. Students say the letter and career and pass the ball to someone else. I have also done variations of this where the next person has to guess what the person does in the career.

Have Fun!
I mainly use beach balls to incorporate fun into my work with students.  Beach balls are bright and cheery! I have beach balls in multiple sizes, but the ones that get the most use are hand held size. All students K-12 can have a ball with beach balls!

I purchased most of my beach balls at the Target dollar spot for $1. I have also seen beach balls for sale at the dollar store. Companies sometimes give away beach balls with their logo on them.  I have a big beach ball from a conference my husband went to (free!) and a tiny beach ball from my local grocery store (free!). It is also cost effective to buy beach balls in bulk.

How do you use beach balls in your work with students? What questions would you put on a beach ball? What games do you facilitate that would work with a beach ball? Comment below, tweet, or contact Danielle, share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

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