I dwell in that space between loving the toys and hating them.
I should probably expand on my position a little more; I love the idea of them but hate how the toys perform (for a lack of a better word) in my classroom.
I love fidgets, I even use one everyday to keep my focus. The problem I have with the fidget spinner is the fact that the students don’t really fidget with them. They begin the spin and watch it (or listen to the thing make lots of noise- a whole other problem that I have with them). They aren’t actively using their hands all the time so in my mind, it isn’t a fidget at all. More like a top from my childhood that looks like it came from space.
So Mrs. Keller, if you like fidgets but hate the fidget spinner what kind of fidgets do you like?
That is a very good question! My personal favorite fidget is the spinner ring (also known as a meditation ring or an anxiety ring). I am not going off of educational journals and research, just personal observation. I wear a spinner ring everyday. It rests either on my right thumb or my right index finger. If I am having trouble focusing, am frustrated or bored, I spin the ring. Sometimes I fidget with it while lecturing for the lack of something to do with my hands. I cannot name how many college classes and meetings that my spinner ring has helped me through.
I like the spinner ring for its simplicity and unobtrusiveness. I told some of my students that I have and use a fidget on a regular basis. They were stunned and fascinated that it was my “cool ring” that looks like rope. The first thing one student said to me was, “I didn’t even realize you used a fidget or were playing with it.”
So what other fidgets do you like in your classroom?
Also a good question, I don’t have a personal preference other than that they must address the students’ needs and not be disruptive to everyone else. I find fidgets that make a lot of noise are disruptive to classroom flow and grab the attention of the other students.
I’ve had a couple of students say that they’d love to have a spinner ring or something similar. One student even tried my spinner ring for a period and said it helped him concentrate. I’m not blogging about this to say that spinner rings are the must-have fidget in your classroom, and I’m not saying fidget spinners are the devil. Both things have their purpose and help different students. I just want to share my (personal) success using a fidget other than the much talked about fidget spinner, and to commiserate with those teachers who find their classroom invaded by these toys that look like they came from outer space.
The important thing is that we help our students to achieve the best they can and give them the tools that help them on their learning journey.
If that tool happens to be a fidget spinner, that’s OK as long as my classroom remains on environment conducive to learning. I love that my students have tools to help them concentrate and stay focused. I’m fine with students moving and working towards staying focused. I want my classroom to be a fun-filled learning environment that my students enjoy. If I have a student that learns best by playing with a fidget spinner, then my classroom will be a fidget spinner friendly environment!
On a fun side note- there is a fun fidget spinner STEM activity for those teachers who want to bring the fidget spinner into their science classroom!