Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Invasion of the Fidget Spinner

"At first glance, everything looked the same. It wasn't.
Something had taken 
possession of the town."
Dr. Miles J. BennellInvasion of the Body Snatchers
One of the best things an educator can do is build a strong rapport with students. What are students interested in, watching, and listening to? What games or toys are popular? When you have invested in your students you can then use the answers to these questions to build a bridge to educational content or life lessons. Enter the fidget spinner!

Like most schools around the country, our campus has been invaded by these spinning alien type objects... fidget spinners. Some students are using them to help them focus. Some students are just having fun with them! That fun, without a purpose, can often lead to distracted students and frustrated teachers. Since these little spinners have captured our student's interest, how can we harness that fun and enjoyment in a positive educational way? 

If you have spent any time on social media or curation sites, you no doubt have run across posts about fidget spinners. There have been many great ideas created for integrating spinners into the classroom. A few of my favorites involve spinning then practicing upper/lowercase letters, letter or blend sounds, math facts, or sight words until the spinner stops. Other ideas involve analyzing the spinner itself through STEM or STEAM projects. 

One of the members of my amazing online PLN, Ryan Read, created a 3D paper app dice that has grown and evolved over the last few years into an amazing app smashing tool for classrooms.  You can check out Ryan's various app dice creations and read about his two year app dice journey here...  Inspired by and spinning off of (I couldn't resist!) his app dice, I created a spinner version which I am calling #appspinners. 

My first app spinner attempt, Show What You Know Apps #1, is a compilation of the most popular apps students and teachers used on our campus this year with the addition of a few that we need to try this next school year. I began putting things together in Google Drawings, using free image resources. My original idea was a design that could be printed and laminated, but a nice design result is that the app spinner can also be opened on a tablet for a paperless environment. To select a single app, use a corner piece of a sticky note as a pointer on one of the spinner sides. Or better yet, app smash by using all three sides of the spinner and the three apps where the spinner stops. 

Show What You Know Apps #1

The creative bug took over and I continued creating with another app spinner, Show What You Know Products.  This one is product and task oriented rather than focused on specific tools.  Giving students more voice and choice is so important and this way they can select their own tools and media whether is be tech, no-tech, or a combination of both.  

I can't wait to see what new app spinner ideas come together over the summer! Let's change the classroom mindset of fidget spinners from alien invasion nuisance to integrated rapport building tool. 

Where will your creative compass guide you?

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