Madison Middle School students using Bouncybands to relieve tension and not distract others

Kirk Wilson’s feet rest on the Bouncyband stretched across the front legs of his chair. The Bouncybands are being used in Heather Harvey’s sixth grade math classroom to give students a means of expending nervous energy without distracting other students.

NORTH PLATTE — Every parent knows that kids get fidgety when they are nervous, and that is evident most often in the schoolroom setting.

Heather Harvey, a sixth grade teacher at Madison Middle School in North Platte has found a solution that does not cause more distraction. Bouncybands were created in 2014 by Scott Ertl, a school counselor in North Carolina. The bands are designed to stretch between the legs of students’ chairs or desks.

Harvey received a John Russell Applegate Grant from Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation to purchase the bands for her classroom, and she says they are effective.

“Kids move constantly in the classroom,” Harvey said. “They tap their pencils, mess with papers, they have fidget (spinners), and it’s kind of distracting sometimes to other kids around them.”

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With the grant, Harvey purchased 33 Bouncybands for the classroom.

“I have seen a difference in my classroom,” Harvey said. “A lot of the kids are commenting they want them in the other classrooms.”

Sixth grader Roman Ochoa said the bands help a lot.

“It gives me something to do when you’re, like, bored so you’re not tempted to talk,” Ochoa said. “It really helps me to focus and gives me something to do while the teacher is talking.”

Danyale Zheng agrees the Bouncybands are working.

“I like the Bouncybands because it’s a great way to fidget without distracting others because it’s under your chair,” Zheng said. “It’s so convenient and there’s so many ways to use it. You can use both feet tapping or one, or you can kind of like kick at it.”

She sees a lot of benefit when taking a test.

“It’s a great way to release energy so when you’re trying to work on a test and you’re a little nervous and you just want to tap your pencil or fidget,” Zheng said, “you can just use your feet while you take your test.”

The bands don’t make noise, so students can focus on the task at hand.

“It’s a great way to kind of pass time because you’re doing something active and time flies a little faster,” Zheng said.

Harvey said it might be a little early to assess the results.

“We also saw, and I don’t know if it’s the Bouncybands because it’s kind of early to tell, but there has been a 10- to 15-point increase in their last test scores per class,” Harvey said.

She said the Bouncybands help with focus and anxiety.

“A lot of kids use it for anxiety, ADHD, and kids with autism find it effective as well as general education kids,” Harvey said.

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