Dear Susan: I have a question about one of the fidget tools that you mentioned in a teaching strategies workshop we attended with you at Henry Wilson Memorial last year. You suggested using partially inflated beach balls on the chairs, so the kids can wiggle a bit back and forth. Do you ever have issues with them squeaking? If so, do you have suggestions on how to dull it? I was thinking maybe hand towels, but those might slide around and hurt someone. Or maybe the things that keep rugs from sliding? I just figured since you’ve used them before you might have had to troubleshoot this before. Thanks for your time! – Sarah Manter
Dear Sarah: I use either a square of carpet—such as samples from a carpet store—or, yes, the non-slip mats that are placed underneath area rugs.
(Note: I received a follow-up from Sarah not long after my reply, and it was such a good suggestion that I wanted to share it with you! Here is Sarah’s follow-up, below.)
Dear Susan: I was able to resolve the squeaking issue with the class—I did this by putting it back on them. I explained that there was a difference between a little squeaking with motion and purposely trying to make “farting” noises. Some decided they didn’t care for them at all. A lot of them have opted to use them as back cushions instead.
The most popular thing in my class, actually, is the stretchy key chain bracelets. One parent messaged me that it worked so well, she went out and bought some for home. The problem is my students like them so much, they honestly forget they’re wearing them and walk away with them. Now I’m down to nine bracelets in my classroom. I may need to put a sign at my door like at the butterfly house at the zoo: “STOP! Check to see if you have stretchy bracelets on your person!”
Dear Sarah: How wonderful! I love your attitude. This is real life… and you are doing a great job.
For more information on differentiation strategies to reach ALL learners, see
Susan Fitzell’s NEW book, Special Needs in the General Classroom, 500+ Teaching Strategies for Differentiating Instruction.
Bring Susan to your campus!
Featured seminar – Differentiation Strategies to Reach ALL Learners in the Inclusive Classroom