Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Sally Delta Goin
Lynchburg, VA - When a new fad hits pop culture, sometimes it creeps into the classroom. There were once trading cards, discs called pogs and a host of other toys kids brought to school. The newest is Silly Bandz. Some schools have banned the bracelets saying they are a distraction, but one Lynchburg school believes Silly Bandz are a valuable teaching tool.
On your wrist, they look like regular bracelets, but take them off, they change shape. New Vistas school says playing with these helps students focus so they embraced them.
At this school, students taught teachers to stretch their minds.
"People play with them, like stretch them," said Caroline Kling, 4th grader.
Which in some schools would stretch teachers to the breaking point - not at New Vistas.
"They're here, they like them, let's use them," said Lori Bell, guidance counselor.
Administrators saw the rubbery wristbands called Silly Bandz as a unique solution to students' needs
"A lot of kids have ADHD issues so it helps maintain their focus in the classroom," said Bell.
"It helps me concentrate," said 8th grade student Julia Kling.
Administrators say giving students with ADD and ADHD a toy to twirl while in class actually improves their focus.
"If people are not suppose to be talking and I'm doing my work for a test, I go like this and it helps me zone them out, and it helps me think more about the problem, so I'm not focusing on too many things at once," said Kling.
Before Silly Bandz came around, Kling said she would lock her fingers together and roll her thumbs to help her focus.
"It has taken the place of the stress balls, of doodling," said Bell.
"This is one is a house, dragon, a baseball," said Brittany Blankenship, 6th grade student.
There's a great number of shapes and colors. So teachers even use the bandz in math class.
"With this, they can play with something and still attend to what the teacher is doing," said Bell.
Administrators say the Silly Bandz have helped improved the school's social environment. Students trade, even share with one another, which has made students more emphatic.