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THE MARSHALL MEMO
Should Students Be Able to Stand Up During Class?
By Kim Marshall, TIE columnist 23-Apr-15
This piece is reprinted from The Marshall Memo, Kim Marshall’s weekly summary of current research and best practices in the field of education. Drawing on his experience as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, consultant, and writer, Kim Marshall lightens the load of busy educators by serving as their “designated reader.” ______________________________________________________________________ The article: “Using Stand-Up Tables in the Classroom” by Alana Guinane and Hannah, Charlotte, Zanira, Angela, Elyse, and Katharine in Edutopia, February 6, 2015, http://bit.ly/1DOo5jw In this Edutopia article, Canadian teacher Alana Guinane and six of her middle-school students describe how they did research on the unhealthy consequences of being sedentary for long periods of time. “Our school is set up for sitting,” they say: “the benches in the cafeteria, the rows of desks and ‘seating arrangements’ in the classrooms, the chairs lined up in front of each computer in the lab, the couches in the library. We are expected to sit for basically every class except for gym.” Students wondered how they could be more physically active in school without undermining classroom management. After some discussion, one of Guinane’s classes decided to conduct a one-month experiment in which students would be allowed to stand up during lessons, discussions, and work time. Ground rules included making reasonable decisions on where to stand and not obstructing anyone’s view or distracting classmates. Students made a variety of choices: some athletes wanted to remain seated to rest up for vigorous activity later in the day. A girl with Type One diabetes stood as a way to regulate her blood sugar. The amateur researchers collected data on how students felt physically, mentally, and emotionally. At the end of the month, many students reported that standing up improved their focus during long lessons. There was the additional benefit of being in natural light as they perched on windowsills and counters. And having a choice of sitting or standing was a definite plus, versus the routine of conforming to teachers’ requests to sit down. But perching on windowsills and counters and writing on clipboards was not conducive to the best posture, which led students to explore the idea of waist-high stand-up desks. It turned out that a parent had experience building low-cost cardboard furniture, and after getting the go-ahead from the principal, students worked with this parent and fabricated three tables, each of which could accommodate 3-4 students and were perfect for doing stand-up work (see photos in the article link below). All of Guinane’s students now have the option of standing up and report very positive results, and they have become ambassadors for the idea in other classes at their school.
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03/12/2020 - maddy
the teacher doesnt let me still