OXFORD — In the library, at the lunch table, in the classroom, students at Oxford Elementary School are all in on the newest craze.

It doesn’t involve video games or fidget-spinners, but hooks and yarn, education technician Joni Gordon said.

Gordon said she’s always looking for ways to connect with students and help them get the most out of being in class. Two years ago, while devising a way to help a third-grade class stay focused, she decided to think outside the box.

“I had read in an article somewhere that crocheting helped calm (pupils) down, and the motion helped keep them focused on things,” she said. “I wanted to try it out, and they loved it. We did that in third grade, and then the next year I didn’t work with their class — we kind of lost touch. Now that they’re in the fifth grade, we did the same thing again,” she said.

Crocheting helps fifth-graders at Oxford Elementary School stay focused. Photo by Joni Gordon

 The fifth-grade class, which is all boys, was noisy and disruptive, she said. Most had crocheted in third grade and were excited to jump back in. A few were a bit apprehensive, but started to come around once they saw the projects their peers were working on.

“They were really excited about it,” Gordon said. “Right now, they’re doing long chains and rows. I thought it would be cool for them to be able to make their own hats and scarves. For Christmas, they can make their family a hat. They’re having a lot of fun with it.”

Teachers are reaping the fruits, as well. Gordon said it’s common to see teachers wearing brightly colored woolen bracelets and necklaces. Outside of class, other students commonly approach Gordon, asking to learn how to crochet.

“They’ll bring in a hook and a thing of yarn and we’ll have lunch, and I’ll get them started,” she said.

Any time they’re listening to a read-aloud or they’re done with their work and have time left over, they’ll pull it out and they’ll crochet,” she said. “Sometimes they’ll bring it to lunch, they’ll bring it to specials, like art class, when they’re done projects, and in the library when they’re listening to the teacher read to them.”

Gordon said about 20 students are crocheting during school hours, and a few have begun to take their newfound skills home.

One girl helped her mother crochet a blanket for her guidance counselor, who was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Gordon said. “She spent two or three months working on this blanket, and it was beautiful.”

Gordon said crocheting can have a calming, meditative effect on students, and helps them — particularity students with attention issues — focus during quiet times.

It is very calming, it’s very meditative, it just helps them get centered and focused,” she said. “They’re listening and making comments about a book, they’re listening and taking it all in, and they’re hands are busy all the time, which is good.”

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