One Christmas, my husband Eric bought me a Q Ball for my classroom. We had just seen the Q Ball on Shark Tank, and I was excited to see if it was something that I could use to build my classroom community. Like anything else, I wasn’t sure if it was worth the cost. But since it was the amount we budgeted on Christmas gifts for each other, this was perfect for my wish-list!
What Is A Q Ball?
- If you’re not sure what a Q Ball is, imagine a microphone inside a kick-ball. Students speak into the ball, then toss it to the next student or back to you. The ball is soft, so it won’t turn into a painful game of dodgeball in your classroom. It is also durable to keep the microphone from being damaged.
How Did My Students Like It?
I’ve had microphones in my classroom before and never found them to be effective. They would either be too heavy or the cords were in the way. I also didn’t want to invest too much money on a good quality wireless microphone. But I LOVE the Q ball.
All you have to do is plug it into a portable speaker (I had one in my classroom that I used for music or brain-breaks) and the sound is loud enough for everyone to hear. The only drawback is that you can’t get too close to the speaker or you’ll have a terrible feedback sound, but that is an easy fix.
Toss underhand. You’ll want to practice throwing imaginary Q Balls first. Another good tip is to say the person’s name you’re throwing it to. This avoids confusion or arguments over who gets to catch the ball. This is also perfect at the start of school if you want icebreaker games for kids.
And teach your kiddos to speak into the Q Ball, but do not put your mouth on the ball. Germs. Ew. More on germs in a bit…
It was also helpful to discuss your expectations ahead of time. Before my kiddos even touched the ball, I told them that using it was a privilege and they only would get a turn if they worked hard, participated in class, and listened to their classmates.
Using The Q Ball To Build Classroom Community
Here are some helpful tips to use the Q Ball to build a positive classroom community.
- Restorative Circles: Talk about issues that come up on the playground.
- Social Emotional Learning: Share feelings about happy, or unpleasant circumstances.
- Confidence Building: Shy students who typically don’t like to speak loudly in a group gain confidence.
- Listening To Each Other: By setting up the rule that you must listen to the person with the Q Ball, your class will learn how to respect each other’s words. You can use the Q Ball as a classroom community building activity! Read more here.
- Ice breaker games! Use as a getting to know you exercise at the beginning of the school year. You can find a list of icebreaker games for kids here!
Surprise Benefits I Didn’t See Coming!
I saw the benefits of my students wanting to share their answers to math problems, of course. And I noticed that my author’s chair was suddenly popular again. But what I didn’t notice was that it really improved my classroom behavior. Students WANTED a turn to use the Q Ball, and they knew that they needed to be invested in completing their work to earn the privilege.
Here’s another benefit that I wasn’t expecting. Pre-covid, I caught the worst cold ever and lost my voice. It took a good week before I could speak normally. I removed the microphone from the ball and clipped it to my lanyard. Problem solved!
Social Distancing Guidelines
Your school may have social distancing rules. If this is the case, I would keep the microphone on your lanyard for your use only, and bust out the Q Ball again when it is safe to do so.
Where Can You Buy A Q Ball?
You can order a Q Ball here. I don’t receive any compensation or considerations for this product, I use it and think it’s something you might love to have. Occasionally, they will have codes for free shipping. I found one by following them on Instagram.