OLEAN, N.Y. - After reading numerous articles about the benefits of standing desks, Olean Intermediate Middle School teacher Eileen Skrobacz decided she wanted them for her sixth grade students.
There was one problem - the cost.
Setting the chairs aside and making her classroom "standing room only" would have cost thousands of dollars. The desks she saw were around $250 each, and that money was not in the school's budget.
Skrobacz didn't want to give up on the idea, so she and her husband brainstormed ways to get the same effect for less money.
"Bed risers," said Skrobacz. "I ran upstairs. I got my daughter's bed risers right off her bed, ran down to school and put them on."
It worked. Skrobacz bought 25 sets of risers for $5 each, which meant she outfitted her entire classroom for half the cost of one factory-made standing desk.
So far, the students and parents have nothing but good things to say about the idea.
The students say they feel more awake when they stand versus sit. They like the freedom to move around a bit.
"It just makes me pay attention more because you're not sitting down, and when you are sitting down you are relaxing," said 6th grader Collin Lyons.
Fellow student Anna Mest agrees.
"I like it better than sitting in the uncomfortable chairs that I have to sit in all day. I think you can focus more too. I think it's better for your legs to stand up," said Mest.
Dr. John Leddy, professor of clinical orthopedics at the University at Buffalo, said standing is better for your legs, back, and midsection. He has been using a standing desk for about 10 years.
"You use more muscles standing to maintain your posture, your core muscles, so you are actually strengthening those muscles around the torso and the core. Those are muscles that also burn calories," said Dr. Leddy.
Mrs. Skrobacz still has a few tables and chairs at the back of her class in case kids get tired or are injured and can't stand. She also doesn't make them stand during state testing or final exams.