Getting Kids Off Their Butts

I teach Grade 3.

Although I did the research to support my observations, my years of experience as a classroom teacher were evidence enough for me to say confidently, kids don’t like sitting at their desks.  In fact, research shows most kids learn better when they’re not sitting in their desks.

What did I do about it?

Last April, I raised the legs on 5 desks in my class and turned them into standing desks. At first I allowed students to volunteer to use the standing desks but they were so popular I ended up having to create a schedule.  The kids loved it and couldn’t wait for their turn.  For most kids, the novelty didn’t wear off.  Eventually, half my desks were converted to standing desks. 

The best part:

Including standing desks increased on-task focus during instruction and decreased off-task behavior during work time.

When the new school year began in September 2012, my classroom featured a set of 6 standing desks.

standing desks in school

Each pod of desks has 2 standers at the helm.

It is now February 2013 and the novelty has not worn off and each week students ask if I can convert “just one more” into a stander.  I’m sticking with 6 because I feel part of the longevity of this project has to do with the fact that in a class with 24 kids, each student gets to stand at least once per week but is never standing so much that it becomes an expectation or burdensome.



If you have any questions about standing desks and this project, just ask in the comments below.



The Beginning
About James Hudyma

Dad. Husband. Teacher. Canadian. Guitar Picker. Songwriter.

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  1. My son who is now 19 preferred to stand in class while he work. His 2nd grade teacher actually contacted us to let us know that he did not sit in his seat while working or very seldom throughout the day She thought that he might have ADHD, but because his grades and test scores were much higher that most of the other children in the class we did not address her possible concerns. To make a long story short, he was later tested and placed in AP classes. Everyone’s different let them stand if they want.

  2. This is a great idea! I’m not a big fan of the kids sitting all day. Even now, as an adult, I’ve requested a standing desk in my office. I don’t like to sit too long because I feel that I actually lose focus and creativity.

    • Funny you mention that… I actually think better and clearer when I’m moving or paving around.

  3. This idea is genius! Standing does burn more calories then sitting too!

  4. DisastroDad says:

    Have you tried those balance balls?

    • James Hudyma says:

      I also use the balance balls for a few kids. Many find them too distracting and others just don’t have the balance and fall off whenever they are concentrating. But they are great for those who need to wiggle. There are also wiggle chairs for these kids.

  5. I love this idea. Curious: have you had any feedback (or backlash?) from administration?

    • James Hudyma says:

      My administration is very supportive. They love that I’m trying new things and trust that if something isn’t working I will change it or scrap it.

This is what I think...