Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

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Friday, May 05, 2017

Spinners! All the rage in 2017

These things:

Some people got them for their kids who have sensory processing needs, such as those who have ADHD or are on the Autism spectrum. They are a good thing. Unless....

Unless you are a classroom teacher and suddenly every kid in your classroom has one. Now they're not just a tool, but an annoying toy that has quickly taken over schools across the country. Teachers are throwing up their hands in frustration!
They're showing up in news reports. Some schools boards are banning them and letters are going home to parents.

Is all that truly necessary?

The other night Dean and I were out, and met up with a 4th grade teacher. She happens to have Autism. She also happens to have a couple spinners in her purse. She has done a marvelous job of incorporating them into her classroom.

A friend of mine brought up a good point: Kids don't know limits and boundaries with things like these spinners. I couldn't agree more. It is up to us to teach them what is appropriate at school and what is  not. Does flat out banning them teach the boundaries? Hmmm yes, but I think its a pretty harsh move. It also teaches kids to be sneaky.

What can you, as a teacher, do to use this current fad to your classroom advantage? Here are a few suggestions:

1) Set goals, "When everyone is finished with (insert learning activity) we can have 5 minutes with the spinners." or maybe "if everyone completes X this week, we can have 'Spinner Friday' for the last 30 minutes of class on Friday.
2) Learn from them. Have the class research on how they were developed, why they were developed, how they are made, etc.
3) Use them for math activities. Graph the colors of spinners kids in your classroom have. For older kids, research the money involved, "How much money is the investor earning?" and I'm sure there are lots of other math activities that could be done.
4) Make it a class-wide fine motor activity, "On the last Monday of school we'll have a spinner olympics! Start learning your tricks now!"

What else could teachers do to incorporate the spinner craze into their classroom activities? Please post in the comments.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Great advice! While I see how they can become a distraction if misused, these spinners are such a great focusing tool for kids with sensory needs. It will be interesting to see how these are incorporated into classrooms over the next school year.