Fidget Spinner Follow Up

Fidget Spinners Post = Tons of Great Ideas!

If you haven’t read my most recent #MakeItReal Moment about Fidget Spinners, either look farther down the webpage or check it out here. To make a long story short, I’m against banning what kids love to do and all for finding creative ways to embrace things like fads and crazes in our classrooms.

So I’d like to share with you the AMAZING responses from exciting, innovative teachers and leaders who agree that when a student is passionate about a question or idea, we can use it to help them learn.

John Stevens (@jstevens009), author of The Classroom Chef and Table Talk Math created a lesson involving 3D Printing your own spinner and shared it on his blog here.

I attempted to recreate a fidget spinner on Desmos and after getting into a conversation with Dan Meyer about how to fix it, he reached out to the incredible Desmos designer Chris Lusto (@lustomatical) to finish it with this outstanding design. I’ve since shown it to students and said “Now you try to make one! Have Fun!”

My Attempt                             Their Solution

Amy Radford (@RadfordAmy)  used Flipgrid to create a writing activity for her students, using spinners as focus point for a persuasive writing piece!

Media preview

Joy Kirr  (@JoyKirr)  is using articles written in high profile newspapers and outlets to discern tone/voice/bias in writing!

Aimee Ferguson (@amieejo80) is using Spinners a few ways!

Charlotte Dolat (@cdolat) realized the potential that the spinners have to form a connection that builds relationships.

Gretchen Greer (@treemaiden) tracks the fad itself and has students graph data from it!

Hayley James (@clerk2governors) Stacey Lindes (@iruntech) Curtis Slater (@SlaterPBISMN) are all making their own with their students or own children!


There are more and more examples of creative teachers making creative experiences for their students every day, showing up in my twitter feed at the #MakeItReal hashtag. This is the power of the social media PLN. I encourage you, again, to embrace the fads/crazes/interests of your students and find ways to engage them deeply with what they care about most. It will build relationships, grow their curiosity, and meet them at their best. 

Looking for more ideas? Check out the latest #MakeItReal Chat topic and Archive here

Please share your activities and ideas and great lessons you’ve seen others do in the comments! Together, we grow much faster!


#MakeItReal Moment: Number 6

Pyramid Scheme

For today’s #MakeItReal Moment, I present to you…Yesterday’s Foxtrot Cartoon, by Bill Amend.

Question 1: How many levels of the pyramid scheme are necessary before crossing the Million Stone threshold?

Question 2: How big would each “stone” have to be to actually be able to build one of the Great Pyramids with 1,000,000 stones?

Question 3: Based on the following information, what questions do you have?

The challenge:

What do you read or see almost every day, like this cartoon, that you could draw questions and connections from? Why don’t you?

What are three ways you could use this moment and moments like it in your classroom to add relevance to a lesson?

#MakeItReal Moment: Number 5

Is This For Real?

Do you know who DanTDM is? For my #MinecraftEDU people out there, that’s likely a resounding YES! For other minecrafters, probably a YES as well. But if you don’t follow Minecraft, or especially follow it on Youtube, you might not know who DanTDM is. Here’s a taste of what he does…Don’t watch the whole thing. This is a #MakeItReal Moment, not a #MakeItReal Session.

So DanTDM is a youtube creator who puts out videos of him playing Minecraft and other online games and settings. For some reason, my kids love him. I’ve been in one of those “Why do you like this?” “We just DO, OK?” fights with them for about a year now. In fact, I just found out that my nephew and his dad, my brother-in-law were going to see DanTDM LIVE! How the heck does this guy get a live venue!!! And it’s a big one too! I thought “He’s just going to watch minecraft and talk about it and people will pay ticket prices to see this?” And then suddenly, without warning, I realized who DanTDM is. Not in reality, but who he is to my kids, and to a lot of kids. 

DanTDM = Bob Ross

My kids knew virtually nothing about Minecraft…and then DanTDM came a long, narrating his creations as they came to life. Now they create like never before.
Millions knew virtually nothing about painting happy little trees…and then Bob Ross came along, narrating his creations as they came to life. Now they paint, like never before.

DanTDM just became real to me. He’s one of the most effective teachers my kids have.

What have you been fighting that can easily become real to you…with a little perspective?
And as usual…

What are three ways you could use this moment in your classroom to add relevance to a lesson?