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ADHD in the Classroom


Since I’ve started writing this blog, it seems like the topic of ADHD comes up in nearly every conversation I have. Everyone knows someone with it, and once they find out I write about it, they feel free to share their perspective of it with me.

I love it.

Tonight, my family and I went out to dinner with my parents (the grandparents of a child with ADHD and several other diagnoses), and ended up having a family friend join us, too. He’s a 6th grade teacher. He asked me how work was going, one thing lead to another, and we were in a full-blown conversation about ADHD and how the school setting affects it.

He said that all his students with ADHD ended up in the same hour class of the day. The last one.

He doesn’t know if the administrators did that intentionally or if it was just a fluke, but he said it makes for a hard last hour of the day (for him and the kids).

Not only do these kids have to sit still for 7 to 8 hours each day, but they also only trade classes four time, meaning they have 70-minute periods. And they only get 20 minutes of “outside time” each day!

As this teacher so accurately stated… “I know a lot of adults who couldn’t even sit at a desk that long.”

It’s true. I’m a full-grown adult and I despise sitting at a desk for more than four hours straight. I need a few hours to take off and reset. I need to feel the sunshine for a while. I need fresh air in my lungs. I need to skip around and let my body loose.

Add those things into the fact that sixth graders are usually only twelve years old, they have tons of pent-up energy, and they have inherently shorter attention spans than adults do anyway… and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Now, add ADHD to that and you’ve got absolute misery.

Why are twelve-year-olds only getting 20 minutes of recess time each day? That seems crazy to me. The year before (when they were in elementary school) they were getting closer to an hour. Why the sudden drop?

Studies have repeatedly shown that changing your scenery during intense homework/studying time can drastically improve productiveness.

There have even been recent studies where some schools around the nation have tripled the amount of recess time their students get, and everything within the school has improved. There have been less incidents to report, higher test scores, longer attention within classes, and boosted creativity.

Why are so many schools depriving children of that, just for the sake of teaching them to be more like adults?

In reality, how many adults actually have jobs where they sit on their butts for 8 hours a day? Not that many to be honest. Daycare workers run constantly. Photographers. News reporters. Artists. Teachers. Professional athletes. Scientists. Conservationists.

There are about 3 million occupations I can think of that do not require someone to be able to sit in one chair for 8 straight hours while staring at a book full of words. Even people who love to sit down and stare at books (like readers, writers, editors, or publishers) don’t always like to work from desks. People love working in different sceneries sometimes.

And what boosts productivity for one person won’t always boosts productivity for another person. Why must there be such a stiff line of what is acceptable and what isn’t?

Another story that’s been going around the world of social media is that of the teacher who installed “busy bars” on all her students’ desk to help them focus better. The busy bars are a swinging bar that the children can rest their feet on while learning, which allows them to better focus on their work instead of focusing on their fidgeting.

You can read the full story of that here.

I also noticed in the video of that teacher that she allowed some of her students to sit on medicine balls. That’s fantastic. I love that. Who ever said kids could only pay attention from a seated position on an uncomfortable block of wood and plastic?

Certainly not me. And not many teachers around the world, either.

In fact, it makes me wonder who does actually set the standards for these types of things. I hope they catch wind of all the amazing improvements being made in recent years.

What about you? What experience do you have with ADHD in the classroom? What ideas do you have to improve it?

And you found any methods that have worked so far?

Tell us! We want to know everything in your brains so we can increase awareness and help more students with ADHD.

As always, thank you for reading!

ADHD in the Classroom

W. R. Cummings

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APA Reference
Cummings, W. (2016). ADHD in the Classroom. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Mar 2016
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