Have you played Silent Ball? If so, you know why it’s an awesome tool to have in your classroom-management toolbox. If not, listen up—we’re about to change your life.
The directions for Silent Ball are simple. Use a squishy or soft ball and have students pass it around to one another. Students can stand in a circle, sit on the carpet, or even sit on the tops of their desks. There are only two things they have to remember: 1) They can’t drop the ball and 2) they must stay silent.
If a student drops the ball, they’re out of the game. Your class keeps playing until there is one student left standing (or sitting).
Even though the rules are simple, Silent Ball can promote some powerful lessons in your classroom. Here are five reasons why every class should play Silent Ball.
1. It teaches students how to stay silent.
The object of Silent Ball is to be silent, so it’s the perfect game to play when you just need your class to have some quiet time. Students love this game so much that they’re willing to stop talking just so they can play. A perfect time to get your students quiet is right before dismissal. Entice students by telling them you can play a round of Silent Ball before they go home, only if they can clean up and get packed up within a certain amount of time. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you see how quickly your students will move.
2. It supports fine motor skills.
You need to be quick and ready to catch the ball when you see it flying your way, especially when there’s no verbal warning. Students need to use their hand-eye coordination, as well as their dexterity, to catch the ball without dropping it. Using a smaller ball can help students with their grip and reaction when catching the ball.
3. It creates a positive community.
Some rule variations when you are playing Silent Ball can involve students needing to pass the ball to students outside of their table arrangement or to students who they may not normally hang out with at recess. Creating these types of rules can encourage students to interact with others and build a positive relationship with new classmates.
4. It fosters friendly competition.
You can take this game to the next level by having students compete. Divide the class into two groups and see which group can keep the ball moving without dropping it (and in silence) the longest. Make sure students are in groups that help them build new and positive relationships.
5. It boosts nonverbal communication.
The best part of this game is seeing kids communicate with one another without using their voices. The head nods, over-exaggerated eye contact, and subtle arm movements show how committed students are to winning. It also proves that students can communicate using more than just their voices.
Silent Ball is one of those games that can be played at any time, anywhere. Play it during indoor recess, right before dismissal, or when you have a quick three minutes before transitioning to the next lesson. It’s an easy brain break and can help give your students that mental reset they need to stay focused during their next task.