#10 Are fidget spinners and other similar toys a distraction in the classroom?

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Oh my!!! All I can say is that I wish I would’ve invented fidget spinners! It is crazy how some things can be so popular and have such a high demand and other things never stand the chance. In my opinion, fidget spinners are a great toy but DO NOT have a place in the classroom. I don’t even mind them on the playground. As well as students can get along; I encourage them to spin away. I have even played with one myself and find them intriguing.

In the article, Schools Ban Fidget Toys as Classroom Distraction it states, “The aptly named fidgets are supposed to enhance concentration, reduce anxiety and stimulate learning. But some educators aren’t buying the spin. They say the toys have become a major distraction to teachers and students, and, in some cases, they’re being banned from classrooms.

As an elementary 2nd Grade teacher, I couldn’t agree more with this statement. I am all about helping my students be the best they can be and offering tools and tips to tap into their best learning potential. For years I have fostered students needs to help them stay focused. I have had students use velcro under their desk, rubber bands or band-like stretchy devices, alternative seating, and the list goes on and on. I have even had students use a small stuffed animal that gives them comfort and helps with sensory needs.

All of these ideas have quietly helped students and go relatively unnoticed, especially when most of them are used under a desk or quietly in the palm of their hand. I stress the important of quietly and non-disruptive to the student or other students in the room. I have no problem teaching and sharing with my students a statement that I truly believe in, “We do what’s best for every child and this is what’s best for _______”. They understand and accept this statement and therefore don’t mind seeing others use various things in the classroom. Over the years my students have come to know that we are all uniquely different and that’s what makes us special in our own way.

I did find one article that gave the suggestion that fidget spinners were welcome in the classroom during designated times. In the article, Fidget Spinners in the Classroom states, “However, unless a student has a documented need for a fidget, I suggest having spinners in backpacks except for designated times. I have a brain break corner of my classroom with puzzles, stress balls, and STEM materials for building where a fidget spinner would be right at home.” It has a STEM activity packet available for printing that I think would be fun to try in my classroom. Check out the article for some great suggestions.

I will continue to meet the needs of every student in my classroom. I know that fidget spinners are a lot of fun but I encourage them to be played with outside or at home. I do think that I may allow them during designated times to try the STEM project and see how it goes. I know that there is probably more to come with this issue and more fidgets to be invented. Here’s to a new school year, great learning, and new inventions to come!

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