Fidget Spinners learning activities

Fidget Spinners made out of Lego

Fidget spinners are the latest trend in my class, in fact in the whole school. Most probably in every school at the moment. Wondering, how we can get the most out of it.

Fidget spinners gave me the following ideas that support learning, critical thinking, creativity and 21st century skills.

Have you got the fidget spinner madness in your school? To be honest, it annoys me to death. But on the other hand I love the idea to give these “fidgeters” something that they can use to channel their energy somewhere instead of rocking their chairs, clicking their pens, kicking their neighbours’ ankle under the table. At least fidget spinners don’t harm the others, at least they don’t make too much noise.

So I don’t see why not to use it in a controlled way in the classroom. Popular and attractive for students, as long as they don’t focus their whole attention on it and they don’t use it as a toy in the classroom.

I usually try to incorporate students’ interest and obviously the latest trends in my teaching practice so this is how I planned and accommodated fidget spinners in my class.

First of all, we were having a talk about it the other day as we needed to have an essential agreement on when, where, how they can use their beloved new toy. Essential agreement is an important part of the PYP philosophy. Teachers and students have to sit together, brainstorm a bit, take it to consideration the pros and cons, see different points of view. So we were sitting in our Speakers Corner and talked about it. The ideas were the following:

We cannot use fidget spinners when we are having our practice of “community exam” (which comes up in two weeks time) as it might annoy some of the others.

Fidget spinners shouldn’t be seen flying across the classroom.

When we are working they should be placed in bags, pockets or teacher’s cupboard.

At the end of the week we can have a “Show and tell” session where kids can show each other their latest tricks.

These are basically the main points. These we all needed to agree on, sign it and respect our decision after signing the “pact”.

Someone raised the topic why don’t we have a  weekly competition where anyone can participate in a challenge to complete. So I started to think… First I could only come up with a simple activity. Then more I thought about it, more ideas have come into my mind.

Use your balance, use the force

Week 1. Starting with an easy one, find balance. Let’s see who can spin it on their nose. Well, be careful if you wear braces!

Think and create

Week 2.  Create your own spinner out of Lego. This activity definitely helps with critical thinking. Improving thinking skills and creativity is an essential element if we want to raise kids ready for 21th century challenges.

Critical thinking and creating fidget spinners

Relax and have some fun

Week 3. Do the hot potato trick. It’s a fun activity to practice in break-time, to relax or to compete with friends. It helps to improve social skills, I saw kids having new friends, new relationships only practicing tricks together.  It is also useful when they need a 2 minutes brain break.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Week 4. Create a spinner out of any material (recycle, upcycle) you find at home. Nowadays recycling is in focus. Any recycling idea is more than welcome.

Inquire, persuade and practise writing

Step by step. Persuade and debate.
Week 5. Getting deeper into the topic. Let’s inquire… The challenge of this week is to practise and improve our persuasive writing skills. Meanwhile students have their inquiry on history of the fidget spinners, facts and reasons of using them. In their persuasive writing kids tell their opinion on this new trendy toy. They have to choose side, reason and defend their side why they should or shouldn’t have it in or out of class. Compare and contrast. Lists the pros and cons, facts and summarise their point of view. List their sources and cite correctly.

Inquiry and persuasive writing about fidget spinners

Express ourselves through digital creativity

Week 6. After the persuasive writing students can use everything they have found out about their beloved gadget to make a tutorial video about fidget spinners. Explain characteristics, tricks, why it is useful to have, etc…

Well, this week we have just started our inquiry into fidget spinners and we are at the beginning of the persuasive writing. Up to now students are really into it. Let’s see how far we can go.

I have planned up to this point. Week 7. is still a mystery. At the moment out of ideas… Do you have any activity you have already done with your class? Any comments, new ideas are appreciated.

Back to school

Back to school time is always full of hopes and curiosity. It’s that time of the year when new beginning, new kids, new challenges are in front.

Back to school is an exciting time when you want to have a good first impression to start the new adventures in a great form. Teachers wonder how new classes going to be like, students come with full of hopes, wishes and dreams. Parents worry, well most of them do… 

We have the responsibility to teach their kids, to make them feel happy, valued and help them to explore. We have their future in our hands. Isn’t it scary? Sometimes it is. Well, I’m lucky enough to teach in a great school with fabulous teachers surrounding me and they let me teach the way I want to. 

Most importantly I’m allowed to SEE the child. Not his exam results but THE CHILD! Behind the scenes. They let me shape them. So children will be growing up asking questions, challenging themselves, exploring, researching, collaborating and having the continues curiosity growing inside them as they grow. 

But obviously we have to start it somewhere. So first day challenge, meeting the new kids, introductions. 

I have a little bit of knowledge about the kids as at the first parent meeting I asked parents to help me a bit, write their child’s name on a piece of paper with any five words that describes them to give me a heads up. They were all happily staying and writing. One of them asked what was the point as obviously everybody would give me a positive description. I thought that also helps as in this case I can also see what they want me to know about their kids. Anyway, I love supportive parents. 

It seems like I’m going to have a lot of creative, sport loving but stubborn students this year. I look forward to know them better and surely we are going to learn hundreds of things from each other. 

With this knowledge in my head, I decided that instead of boring name tags only with students names on I’d ask my new students to design their name tags with symbols and pictograms that would represent them. 

After sitting and creating their names it was time to stand up and walk around. Introducing themselves to each other, explaining the drawings on their paper. 

To make the day less formal we also played a collaborative game in groups with cups, a rubber band and strings. It was a lot of laughs and screams. But they saw how important is to work together. 

In the afternoon we all started to work on our Essential Agreement. 

When all the groups have finished with it they presented their agreement to the rest of the class. We had a great discussion, debate on some of the rules that finally groups modified, changed or completely discarded. 

This is how we finished our first day.

How was yours?