What to do about fidgeting? - Nancy Teaches

A Teacher Who Loves to Learn


Wednesday, May 19

What to do about fidgeting?

I live in the real world.  Although I think of my classroom as a magical place where children are valued and made to feel their voices matter, I need to make sure I prepare them for the world outside my four walls.  This is not to say that I am usurping the role of parents, but there are certain areas that parents occasionally over-look. 

Most parents do not address fidgeting.  I do… usually on a daily basis.

As many of you have seen from reading my blog, I don’t care about labels.  I look at each child individually.  I also recognize that sometimes, everyone needs to fidget.

So what do I do?   Here are some of my tricks.  (The goal is self-awareness.)

The Tapper:  This is the sound of the pencil hitting the desk in rapid staccato - incessantly.  Most times, the student doesn't know he or she is tapping.  I show them how to roll it instead. If that proves to be too noisy, I show them how to roll it in their hands.

The Knee/Leg Bouncer - I show the student what it looks like and show them how to transfer the energy to their toes and wiggle them.  It takes some practice and sometimes it manifests as a foot tap. Sometimes I suggest holding their hands together and squeezing.  I tell them about the transference of energy.

The DropperThis is the student who cannot keep anything on his desk.  Easy fix.  Put everything on a chair next to him.  We use a minimalist approach.

The Jumping Jack - This is the student who seems to always need to get something or go somewhere.  (See my last blog: Do Not Sit Still in My Classroom) Sometimes empowering a student with choices removes the desire to wander aimlessly. 

The Total Body Fidget - Greatest invention ever – stress balls.  This is for students whose bodies seem to move whether they want it to or not.  I only use this as an extreme measure.  It must be used carefully because the desire to have one can act as a catalyst for others to start fidgeting. 

I’d like to think that my teaching is so entertaining and riveting that my students would sit spellbound and motionless.  However, as a life-long “fidgeter” with more energy than most teachers knew what to do with when I was a student, I empathize with anyone who is forced to sit without motion. 

Everyone needs to fidget sometimes.  The goal is to find a way to do it without intruding on the  concentration/focus of others.

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