BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A second grader at Richardson elementary school told a blue ball yesterday that there are 12 months in a year and his voice was amplified throughout the room.
The new microphone ball was a $200 gift to Kim Fullenkamp’s 2nd grade class from the Renegade Pigs Motorcycle Club in Fort Madison. Fullenkamp had put out the word that her classroom on the second third floor south side of Richardson Elementary is still very hot and windows and fans are running to keep the students cool.
She said the ball helps overcome the outside noise and fan motors, a situation that was causing her students learning difficulties.
“It’s called a QBall, it has a microphone in that’s hooked up to a TV sound bar. You can toss it, but we don’t bounce it because it’s expensive. The kids can catch it and they speak into it so I can here them and they can hear each other, which is huge for second graders because they speak very quietly except at recess,” Fullenkamp said.
Fullenkamp said she has to keep the windows open most of the time due to the heat which causes hearing and learning barriers in the classroom.
“You have to keep the windows open and the fans on at all times. And when it rains, the wheels roll on the wet pavement and you can’t hear at all. We had people in for observation and said ‘How do you hear what’s going on. How do the kids learn,’ and we I just tell them we do the best we can,” she said.
The ball is helping some kids come out of their shell because the ball is fun to talk into.
“The kids ask for it all the time and we’re still learning appropriate ways to do it,” she said. “There’s rules that we toss underhand and not one-handed. It isn’t dodge ball. They love it so we’ve been practicing with it and it helps in the classroom.”
Renegade members Adam Benda, Randy Strunk and Adam Cartwright came up on the classroom playground on their Harley-Davidson motorcycles and talked with the kids about the club and the motorcycles and took pictures with the students on bikes with the ball.
A video of Fullenkamp’s class using the ball can be found by clicking here: https://youtu.be/QggI3qU1RbM