Montreal

Montreal schools use standing desks, stationary bikes to keep students focused

Standing desks are often touted as a way to improve health and productivity at work, but two schools in Montreal are making the case they could help with educational outcomes as well.

Westpark School and Allion School experimenting with alternatives to the conventional desk

Students at Allion Elementary School in LaSalle are welcome to read and ride a stationary bike at the same time. (CBC)

Standing desks are often touted as a way to improve health and productivity at work, but two schools in Montreal are making the case it could help with educational outcomes as well.

Tammy Gercom, a teacher at Westpark Elementary School in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, came up with a standing room set-up for students who had trouble concentrating while sitting for long periods.

"They were going to the washroom a lot, going to other people's desks, standing up, leaning on their desks," she said.

Many students who have been using the standing desks say they prefer standing.

"Your legs sometimes fall asleep," said Alexander Faigen, a Grade 6 student.

"Also, it just gets boring sometimes sitting down, so I can move around."

Gercom says their marks have shot up.

Students at Allion Elementary School in LaSalle, meanwhile, can hop on a stationary bike to read a book as a part of a new initiative.

"I'm not a big fan of reading, but when I get on the bike, I read more often," said Grade 5 student Nicholas Gagné.

Teacher Pamela Anzovino proposed the idea after learning of other schools using stationary bikes.

She said it's improved their literacy levels.

"Some students here told me that they're reading or memorizing flash cards, and that they're able to do it better on a bike," she said.

Homerun's Sue Smith speak to Tammy Gerecum of Westpark elementary school about how standing desks have helped some of her students calm down and focus in the classroom.

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