It has happened.
My kindergartner came home from school and said, “Mom, can you buy me a fidget spinner?”
My gut response was You are absolutely not taking a fidget spinner to school!
Some of you may be wondering what a fidget spinner is.
In case you haven’t been in the school scene in the past couple of months, a fidget spinner is a toy that’s been marketed as a tool to help kids focus and relieve stress. Sites are specifically marketing them as tools that are great for kids with ADHD and autism.
I was once in the dark and didn’t know what one was. I was subbing in a middle school classroom, and a student was supposed to be doing work, but instead was spinning a toy between his fingers, showing his friends. I took it and told him that I would give it back to him after class.
Then a few days later, I saw a picture of one of these contraptions online and discovered exactly what I had taken away from the student.
They are a LEARNING TOOL?!
To help kids focus?!
So I felt a little dumb that I took it away. Maybe this kid was supposed to have it?
Now, I am not an expert with students who have special circumstances, so perhaps these fidget spinners do provide some benefit to those kids.
However, as I’ve been subbing in more and more middle school classrooms, the number of kids who bring this to class is astonishing. And distracting.
These are supposed to help students focus?
I recently had a room full of 6th graders. They were in groups at tables, and their assignment was to answer questions in literature circles about the novels they had just read. Many, many students were more focused on showing off their tricks that they could perform with their fidget spinners, while other kids watched. One even had a fidget spinner with flashing lights.
So these are supposed to help with focus?
As the teacher, I had to constantly walk around and remind the groups to put the spinners away and get back on task.
Then, when they were done with their questions, their assignment was to continue reading the next chapter in their assigned book.
What do you think happened?
The students got cozy in their reading positions, their books were in their laps, and out came the fidget spinners, which they paid more attention to than the pages of their book.
So if you think you are buying one of these to help your child in class, I don’t think it is worth it. Fidget spinners are way too distracting in a regular classroom.
So when my 6-year-old came home from school wanting one, I told him, “I don’t think you should have one in school.”
“But other kids do!”
What he doesn’t know is that I recently did order two (not the overly expensive ones!).
First of all, I am curious about them.
Secondly, they will be in my purse, and I hope to be able to pull them out during times when my two kiddos need a distraction, like when we are waiting for a meal at a restaurant or when they are bored on a car ride.
Because from what I’ve witnessed, these are definitely a distraction, which can come in handy during those moments when the kids need to just sit still.
But for school and the classroom, no. Just, no.
These are toys. A fad. They are obviously attractive to kids, so if you need something to keep them distracted, this seems to be it.
But please, please keep them out of the classroom. All I’ve seen is students choosing to focus on spinning and ignoring everything else that they should be working on in class.
So, Carter, no, you are not taking one to school.
Luckily summer is almost here, and I’m willing to bet that the craze will be over by next fall.
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