If you are the teacher or parent of a child aged five to fifteen, you are well aware of fidget spinners. They’re the most recent fad; the new must-have!
I’ve always loved using these fads – loom bands, yo-yos, Pokemon cards, whatever is the popular craze at the time, because it immediately captures my students. They are interested!
There are divided camps of teachers, pushing the benefits or harm of fidget spinners. Dedicated, experienced professionals, all with valid points of view. I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know or care about the benefits of fidget spinners on concentration and ADHD students .
My expertise is teaching, and to do that well, I need to interest and engage my students! And at the moment, I won’t fail with spinning fidgets!
Paul Jennings, a successful Australian children’s author, mentioned in an interview, he suspects he has about twenty words to grab the young reader’s attention: if, in the first twenty words the child isn’t interested, then the book goes back on the shelf.
Twenty words, a small window of opportunity, and I think a teacher has even less words to grab students’ interest for a lesson, task or worksheet. We need to perform, trick, conjure and spin!
A Math worksheet with a fidget on it, at this right time, is priceless! As soon as students see the image, they are hooked. No words needed: simply one image! The fact that the work has little or nothing to do with fidgets is irrelevant, the child is already approaching the work in a positive, interested frame of mind.
They are already engaged!
So now I can use their interest for so many learning opportunities:
- Put an image on a Math worksheet
- Discuss the design, materials, science
- Use fidgets as writing prompts, both fiction and non-fiction
- Have a session to show off skills and achievements, so great for self-confidence and peer-support and recognition
- Talking and listening opportunities
- Create posters, advertisements, video
- Reading reports, debates, advertisements
- Consumer education, comparing prices, models, percentages, sizes
I also like to grasp the opportunity to change roles with the students. These fads make them the ‘teacher’ and I’m the student: they know much more than I do about fidgets. If they have the chance to share their knowledge and teach me facts and skills, I think it builds on our rapport and respect. This can only be good!
Grabbing and holding students’ attention isn’t easy nor consistent, so if these fads do the job for us, as teachers, shouldn’t we jump at the chance?
Our job is hard, we need every advantage and fad that comes along!
Of course, this interest in fidget spinners won’t last long, so to get you started, I have a freebie to share.
And, of course, products to sell!