Thursday, November 17, 2022


Another question, on an education forum that I participate in, was asked:

“Hi, I am a student teacher in a kindergarten classroom. A student in my classroom struggles with focusing and sitting still during class and tries to seek my and my cooperating teacher's attention during instructional times. She will call out in class and is unable to keep her body still, such as whipping her head around and stretching her legs and arms on the carpet. She also will touch anything around her such as her pencil box, basket, chairs around her, the carpet, and more. This is also a problem when the class goes to specials, as well as walking in the hallway. My teacher and I have tried providing her with a fidget tool however she did not use it properly so it was taken away from her. She distracts the students around her with her behaviors and her disruptions deprive the other students of their learning. We try to keep her seating close to us and use positive reinforcement with her as well. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know, thanks!”

As I’ve mentioned before, I think a token economy for the class would work effectively with this student and others. At first, you may have to really look hard to catch her acting appropriately but that is the time to reward her. Giving her frequent rewards at first may help her show appropriate behavior more often and then she can be weaned to more infrequent rewards. I would give all the students a blank index card with their names on it at the beginning of each day. I carry a hole puncher and each time I catch the students acting appropriately, they get a hole punched in their card. If students are acting inappropriately, I can decide to ignore it or circle one of the holes with a red pen. At the end of the day, we count how many holes are punched and subtract any circled hole to get the total reward points.

I would have a prize box set up so students can buy items with their points.

I would also try different fidget tools because not all of the tools are a one-size-fits-all type tool.

I have also used wobble stools that have helped active children. These were extremely helpful during whole-group instruction. I just made sure the stools were at the back of the group so they didn’t distract others.

Last, I would call the parents/caregivers to see if they see this behavior at home. If so, they may use strategies or tools that would also work in the classroom.

What advice would you give this teacher? Please share.

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