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.
Wednesday, May 19
What to do about fidgeting?
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 Dropper – This 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.