Friday, May 12, 2017

Fidget Spinners and the Lazy People Who Ban Them

Can everyone just calm down for a minute. Honestly, the country is in the middle of serious issues of Health Care, Constitutional Crisis, and impending teacher shortages. Despite these very real issues taking place, schools and districts are going out of their way to ban little plastic spinners. 

I'm not going to waste time explaining why ADHD kids may or may not need them or how they can be great instructional tools for students interested in design. That doesn't matter. What matters is that educators are wasting time obsessing with the spinners. 

My students have them in class. Instead of freaking out over them, I told them they can use them as long as they were not disruptive to the learning environment. That means they are not spinning them on their desk making noise and tossing them to friends. This is the rule I have for everything in my class. 

Tell the students to use this tool, like any other tool, appropriately in class and everything will be fine. It's that simple. Banning things you do not like because you are too lazy to take the time to instruct kids about the proper use in the classroom is one of the varied reasons kids do not like coming to school. Let them have their short fad and move on to the next thing. 

I'm sure some of the teachers so annoyed by the spinners where huge Pog fans and brought them to school t trade with their friends in class. They were also annoyed when they were dismissed by their teacher as annoying. Don't be those people. Be the teacher you hoped you had while you were hoping to convince your friend to trade you that ALF Pog. 


  1. That's my rule. If it distracts me or those around you, it's mine until after class. No big deal. Easier for me and my students to grasp!

  2. Hey Pal,

    First, hope you are well and happy! It's been too long, that's for sure.

    Second, you are right about this. Regardless of whether or not fidget spinners have value for ADD students or not, the solution to "their disruption" isn't to ban them. The solution is to remind students that in a shared space, their own needs don't trump the needs of the group. If we had that conversation, we'd not only stop disruptions with spinners, we'd raise students who were more aware of the impact that their actions have on others -- and that's sure not a bad thing!

    I've been thinking this, too: If kids in your classroom are more engaged by their spinner than they are by your lesson, the spinner isn't the problem. Your lesson is.

    That'll piss a bunch of people off, but I think it's the truth!

    Dug thinking with you this morning,

    1. Yes and no. I agree in principle with your "if they're more interested in the spinner" statement, but this also ignores the reality that novelty is a huge part of what gets a brain's attention. Your lesson might simply be more routine than the spinner at the moment, so the spinner gets the attention even if there's nothing wrong with your lesson.

      In the adult world, if someone were fidgeting with something but able to interact and hold a conversation with us, we'd probably ignore it. But if their fidgeting made it hard for US to concentrate, we'd probably say, "I"m sorry, that's distracting to me. Would you mind putting it away?"


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