Stand, fidget, and learn

Ben Garvin for The New York Times

Ben Garvin for The New York Times

An interesting piece in the Times this morning really got my wife Iris quite excited, a new way to imagine the classroom setting. A good friend of hers had written her thesis on this very idea when they were studying to be physical therapists. I hope that Madison schools will continue to remain focussed on “all” approaches to quality learning in the classroom.

The stand-up desks come with swinging footrests, and with adjustable stools allowing children to switch between sitting and standing as their moods dictate.
“At least you can wiggle when you want to,” said Sarah Langer, 12.

With multiple classrooms filled with stand-up desks, Marine Elementary finds itself at the leading edge of an idea that experts say continues to gain momentum in education: that furniture should be considered as seriously as instruction, particularly given the rise in childhood obesity and the decline in physical education and recess.

Teachers in Minnesota and Wisconsin say they know from experience that the desks help give children the flexibility they need to expend energy and, at the same time, focus better on their work rather than focusing on how to keep still.

Researchers should soon know whether they can confirm those calorie-burning and scholastic benefits. Two studies under way at the University of Minnesota are using data collected from Ms. Brown’s classroom and others in Minnesota and Wisconsin that are using the new desks. The pupils being studied are monitored while using traditional desks as well, and the researchers are looking for differences in physical activity and academic achievement.

Robert Godfrey

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Filed under AMPS, Best Practices, education, Uncategorized

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