Weird things make me happy.
For some reason...ok for several reasons...toys make me happy.
I can fidget with the best of 'em.
Honestly, I am the most distractible person I know...
and I work with teenagers.
I work with many diagnosed ADD and ADHD teenagers.
I am still, by far, the most distracted person in the room.
Actually, I might also be the biggest distraction to others in the room.
I have always have.
When I was kid, I had this conversation with my mom or a teacher or someone. I don't remember who.
The description that person gave me of my thought process, though, that I remember vividly.
It went something like this:
If you picture a wagon wheel with all the spokes going in every direction, that would be all the trains of thought in my head.
Give said wheel a good hard spin.
Watch a single bug or ball bounce from spoke to spoke while spinning,
That is what is happening in my head. All. The. Time.
I don't know, it works for me.
Or I work with it?
Either way, toys are one of the ways I cope.
Being surrounded by distractions is the only way I can concentrate.
Otherwise, I tend to get bored and wander off and leave things incomplete for hours on end.
At home, I keep the tv on to keep me sane.
When I get distracted or bored, I just look up.
A few seconds later, I get right back to work (or whatever I was doing).
In my classroom, that tactic is not so much a viable option.
Instead, I surround myself with toys.
My desk is littered with doodads and silly pens and little plastic figurines.
I have an entire drawer of squish balls...or stress balls if you prefer.
I let students borrow them sometimes.
During finals, I let one particular young man borrow my favorite, most squishiest football.
He forgot to return it.
I emailed him asking for the return of said football the next morning.
He promised to bring it.
So I sent him an email that said "Grrrrr."
And nothing else.
I never got a response.
On our first day back from winter vacation, he brought it to me with the most adorable, chagrined expression.
Since I was only pretending to me mad (mostly), I forgave him immediately.
It was pretty funny.
Recently, I acquired a new favorite toy.
It is a hard plastic ball.
But it isn't solid.
When you throw it, it turns itself inside out.
Pink wavy side, smooth blue side, pink wavy side, smooth blue side, pink wavy side, smooth blue side.
Toss, catch, watch.
Because it is hard plastic, it is super satisfying to play with. It is solid, tactile, textured. It thunks.
I had to hide it.
I kept picking it up and tossing it while students were working.
With the unsurprising result of distracting half the room.
The best moment, though, was when I showed it to Freshman AP.
Dude seriously took a picture of the sticker, looked it up on his phone, and ordered one off Amazon right then and there.
The point is, I love toys.
They help me cope with my crazy hop skip brain.
Plus, they are fun.
And fun is a good thing.