|Posted by anonymous on August 20, 2014 at 3:05 AM|
Does continuous pen clicking/tapping drive you batty?
It was the last period of the day and I had a class of mainly boys. The fidgeting was at an all-time high, as the class were supposed to go through their field booklets and source the answers for any questions that were blank. Thankfully I was in the Science block and had access to a myriad of cool things (sssh ... just between you and me) including modelling clay. If you've ever used our 'ancient' modelling clay, you'd know that it was hard as a rock, but eventually, with enough manipulation, you could do anything with it. I quickly sourced the clay (brightly coloured), cut a section of it and quietly gave it to the student who was incessantly clicking their pen and then told him to continue his work. You should have seen the instant transformation, amazing. As I found the location of the other fidgeters, I did the same for them. Before I knew it, most of the class had a small ball of modelling clay and they happily rolled it and manipulated it while writing in their books. Some needed reminding that if it was too distracting, I'd look after it for them and I only needed to mention that once.
Have you ever had a class that this would work in? In a study, Stalvey & Brasell (2006) found an increase in writing performance when students were given a stress ball to work with. Lengel and Kuczala (2010) also reported that after 20 mins of inactivity, neural connection decreases. At our school, each lesson is 70 mins long! Since we know that giving students an alternative activity to put energy (but not focus) into, helps minimise stress and anxiety in the classroom, I wonder why this is not done more prolifically? There's a tonne of research out there to back up this simple concept, so perhaps we need to take it out of the 'alternative' teaching methods category and shift strategies like these into mainstream teaching.
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While I was having a look around the internet about this problem, I came across this awesome website that caters for exactly this market - Silent Classroom Fidgets! I'd love to know if you checked it out and particularly if you have tried any of their products, they do look cool!
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