Ah, the new craze of fidget spinners. Just the last couple of years have included bottle flipping, thinking putty, slime, and rainbow looms. Many of our Barrows Shining Stars have become interested in this newest fad (They are not alone! Google “Fidget Spinners” and you will find many postings, news articles, and blogs about these items.)
If you consider “fidget spinners” a calming, stress-reducing, attention focusing item, then you can equate it to other learning equipment (let’s say a technology device.) Just like that device, we have to establish our expectations for them with our students to ensure we can all find a positive learning environment.
- If used as a tool, it helps students to focus on their work (not be distracted away from their work)
- It is used subtly and as intended (i.e. one device in one hand)
- It does not have noises, lights, or sounds
- No child requires more than one at a time while in class (a stack of 3 spinners is a toy collection)
- It is used at times when it is appropriate (i.e. while working on an independent task) and is stored in an appropriate place when it is not being used
- As with any tool, if it is used inappropriately or in a way that creates distractions for the student or those around them, the staff will ask that the child put it away
The appropriate timing for the use of the fidget spinners and other calming/fidget tools continue to fall within the discretion of the teacher’s classroom.
If you child wants one because everybody else has one, you might recommend he/she uses it during play times/free times like snack, recess, etc. If your child benefits from the fidget tool as a way to calm and focus, set expectations for their use at home to help establish expectations for use (i.e. not at the dinner table.)
As with anything – we want to make sure we support our students getting what they need, but we also want to help provide a thoughtful learning environment for all our students. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions!