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Whither to Fidget

—Carlos Osorio/AP

Blog of the Week: Teaching Now

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Are fidget spinners helping antsy students sit still and concentrate on their lessons, or just driving kids (and teachers) to distraction? Depends on who you ask.

Some schools have banned the twirling gadgets, or allow kids to use them only if they follow strict rules. Yet some teachers have leveraged the craze as a way to teach writing, science, technology, math and other subjects.

Amy Garay, a 3rd grade teacher at Canopy Oaks Elementary in Tallahassee, Fla., uses fidget spinners as a jumping-off point for lessons, reports the Tallahassee Democrat. In a science lesson, she guides her students to make hypotheses about how they work.

"We're having them compare and asking things like, are the weights different and as a result, do some spin faster than others? Does the circumference and the size make a difference?" Garay said.

Her students test out their hypotheses and record the data in charts and graphs. They students write opinion pieces arguing for or against the use of fidget spinners in the classroom. And they even dabble in their own design mock-ups and write up marketing strategies.

Vol. 36, Issue 33, Page 5

Published in Print: May 31, 2017, as Whither to Fidget
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