News Article Details

Fidget spinners: Kids love them, teachers not so much

Newton Daily News - 5/18/2017

May 18--Fidget spinners, which are toys branded to help kids with autism and attention disorders, are taking the nation by storm this spring.

Questions remain unanswered about the toy's effectiveness in helping kids to concentrate, but one thing is for sure -- kids love them.

Stores are having trouble keeping them in stock, and a recent gander at Amazon's best-selling toys revealed the spinners own the top 15 spots.

Fidget spinners have invaded Newton, too. They seem especially popular among the middle school crowd. There are no formal school policies in Newton for the spinners yet, but some teachers are enforcing rules in the classroom.

The toys are made of plastic and metal. They spin and softly but audibly hum in a person's hand. Although they are intended to help certain kids focus, the spinners have become a distraction, according to some teachers.

Berg Middle School teacher Nicole Lampe said she's seeing a ton of them. She is aware of the supposed benefits to kids with attention disorders, but she sees the spinners helping students very little.

"I've had them fly across my room like a boomerang, students rolling them on their noses and foreheads, buzzing them in other students' ears," Lampe said.

Lampe has taken a few away, but she said she is pretty tolerant. She allows students to use the spinners if they keep the toys under their desks.

At Newton High School, Principal Bill Peters said he has seen a few fidget spinners but not many. There have been no reports of class disruption, Peters said.

Newton's elementaries don't appear to have much of problem with the spinners, either. Woodrow Wilson Principal Todd Schuster said a few kids have them, but they are required to keep them in their lockers until recess.

Similarly, Emerson Hough Principal Jolene Comer said staff at the elementary are just starting to see more fidget spinners. Students are asked to keep them at home or in their backpacks, and they've done a great job of following that expectation, Comer said.

It's a different story with the middle schoolers, however. Berg teacher Tyler Stewart sees many of the spinners. Most of the time, the gadgets are a distraction in the classroom, he said.

"Most kids use them because they are cool, but they usually sit there and stare at the spinner while it spins," Stewart said. "It usually just distracts the person using the spinner."

Stewart does not allow fidget spinners in his classroom unless a student has a doctor's note to use them. He said he understands that the spinners actually help some students, but the vast majority of kids at Berg use them solely because it's a popular trend.

"We just need to make sure the right kids are the ones using the spinners," Stewart said. "I would hate for the kids using the spinners for fun, or because they think they are cool to cause a policy to be put in place that would prevent kids who actually would benefit from the spinners from having them."

Contact Justin Jagler at 641-792-3121 ext 6532 or jjagler@newtondailynews.com

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(c)2017 the Newton Daily News (Newton, Iowa)

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