Balloon Tennis

What do students who have got twelve lightning bolts do?

They play balloon tennis. That’s what they do.

Room 13 students are learning to listen to and follow instructions. This can be as individuals, in a group, or as a whole class. At times, this was taking too long for the whole class to respond to instructions. Together we came up with a reward system that we could record when the students were being responsive. The lightning bolt was chosen as a symbol as collectively there is a lot of POWER (Pride, Opportunity, Whanau Excellence and Respect) in the room. 

Some students suggest ideas for rewards and these are voted on. When the class has collected twelve lightning bolts to receive their reward. There is a lot of excitement when they are getting close to their target and co-operation levels are high.

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One of the rewards the students chose was to play Balloon Tennis. A big bag of balloons and a box of cardboard tubes was all the equipment that was needed. Oh, and my good set of lungs. 

As soon as possible after getting the last lightning bolt the students received their reward. They had the choice of playing individually or in pairs. The goal was to see how many times they could hit the balloon before it touched the ground. We watched some students demonstrating different techniques and compared these with their scores. 

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Benefits from this activity include:

  • physical exercise

  • developing well being (making connections to the people around you)

  • key competencies (skills for lifelong learning) - participating & contributing, relationships with others, thinking, and problem solving

  • goal setting (aiming to reach a higher number of hits)

  • student agency  (students voice and choice in how they learn) 

  • fun

Room Balloon Tennis video here

Room 13 has decided to play Balloon Tennis at regular intervals. We are going to keep a tally of our scores and see who the champion is at the end of the year. Mrs Farquhar came to check with Room 13 to ask how the Balloon Tennis had gone. Next time we play we will have to invite her to join us because she likes to have fun too.

It’s fun hitting balloons because you have partners. You have to hit the balloon and see who hits it the most. Sabian

It’s fun because you get to count how much hits you can hit. I counted to one hundred and ten. Emmy

It's fun because you can hit the balloon to another person and then they can hit it back. Austin

It’s fun to play a game with each other. Shyre

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Keywords:  goal setting, student agency, well being

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