Teacher Helpline: How How Can I Help to Refocus a Student With ADHD?

Megan writes: “Three of my third grade friends have ADHD this year. They have been doing SO well but I[…]Continue Reading

Megan writes:

“Three of my third grade friends have ADHD this year. They have been doing SO well but I feel like springtime restlessness is settling in, for all my students but these kids in particular. I would love to hear any focusing tips or tricks from other teachers.”

Ahh, springtime—tis the season for kids to wiggle in their chairs, run to the window and count down until the bell rings. For students with attention disorders, as you point out Megan, this time of year can be particularly rough. Thank goodness for the Teacher Helpline—our community members had plenty of ideas for keeping students focused and engaged until the last day of school. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Build in scheduled brain breaks. They don’t have to be long. Just five minutes of movement. Look into “Brain Gym” or any other brain-based movement activities. —Andrea V.
  • Allow students to work anywhere in the classroom, as long as they aren’t a problem for anyone else. —Carma C.
  • Try chewing gum or sucking on a Tic Tac. —Sarah R.
  • Break up activities, include a kinesthetic element, list each stage of tasks with tick boxes for students to complete independently, and offer lots of praise! —Anna T.
  • Yoga balls make great chairs. —Jeremy B.
  • Talk with the parents or school counselor about the students’ medication. Sometimes the dose is no longer appropriate after a growth spurt and we all know that third graders are much bigger now than they were in the fall! —Kim N.
  • Put a bottle of water on their desks. When they notice they are getting restless, a sip of water can help them refocus. —Kristianna D.
  • Find a solid counter for them to attempt to lift up with their fingertips as their heels stay firmly planted on the ground. It’s a magic trick that works for grown-ups, too. ­—I Am Bullyproof Music
  • Change the ratio of your outside to inside time, so that your time outdoors (beautifying your campus by picking up garbage, weeding flower beds, etc.) is equal to your time indoors when you are expecting quiet and focused activity. —Kristi R. 

Do you have any more tips for Megan? Please share them in the comments.

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