Fidget Spinners. I get it, teachers. I get why you want to take this fad and throw them out, burn them, and ban them. I truly, truly understand your frustration and annoyance. They can be distracting, many kids who don’t need them have them, and they’re just everywhere. Kid fads can be so annoying and seem so pointless (remember pogs?). But I am very, very much of the camp that if you can’t beat them, join them and make it educational! We often complain that it’s so hard to engage students, and I believe that this is a fantastic opportunity to engage students with something they’re already interest in. (This post contains affiliate links.)
So, here are 5 ways you can use fidget spinners to engage your students in your K-2 classroom!
If you don’t already follow Erin from erintegration.com, she’s pretty much a tech genius. She also has an amazing way of turning annoying trends (bottle flipping, blow cup challenge, fidget spinners) and turning them into engaging, educational activities! This template is available on her blog here. You simply use washi tape or a permanent marker to add an arrow to one arm of your spinner, write your options on her spinner template, and then you can complete just about any activity with these! (She includes a ton of different spinner templates from 2 choices to many!)
I used them with my Dab & Learn packs instead of paper clip spinners.
I also used them with my Bowl and Learn packs. If you don’t have bowling pins, you could use bottle caps, cover up the circles, and instead of bowling, spin, and then students remove the number of pins or caps they land on! It’s a perfect quiet activity and so much fun!
Fidget Spinner for Group Discussion
I have always been a fan of utilizing classroom discussions in lower elementary. We would sit on the carpet and discuss a topic. During these discussions, and also during morning meetings, I didn’t want students to feel like they needed to raise their hand to speak, so we would often using a talking stick or some other, fun object for the speaker to hold. How fun would it be to use a fidget spinner for this purpose? It would definitely keep students focused on the speak, and it would definitely encourage students to participate in the discussion!
Fidget Spinner Small Group Timer Games
Small group work is always a hit in my classroom, and one of my favorite activities during the end of the year is to use small groups to review different skills we’ve learned. Similar to the hundredth day of school challenge game, you could use the fidget spinners as timers for the small group activities! For example, how many addition sentences can you write before the spinner stops? How many sight words can you write? How many rhyming words? How high can you count? Students can record their answers on a recording sheet and take turns operating the spinner.
Fidget Spinner On Task Reward
Any time of the year, but at the end of the year especially, I like to reward on task behavior by placing something fun on students’ desks when they’re really rocking it. Sometimes I do stickers, sometimes a small stuffed animal, or a fun sign from the dollar tree. What about using fidget spinners to reward on task behavior? Place a spinner on a student’s desk who’s on task, and they can keep it for a set number of minutes or until you decide to pass it on to another on task student!
End of Year Fidget Spinner Gift
If all else fails, you can always buy some spinners from Amazon here in bulk for super cheap, give them as end of year gifts, and let parents deal with them. 😉
Love them or hate them, right now, fidget spinners are grabbing our students’ attention, and I think that it’s worth taking the time to make them a useful tool in your classroom. As the saying goes, make lemonade out of lemons, or engaging instructional tool from fidget spinners. 😉 And, if they are still driving you crazy, don’t worry. In a few month there will be a new trend that will probably be even more annoying.
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