In Connie King's 28 years of teaching, she has tried many ways to keep students engaged in a Bettendorf High School English class that lasts an hour and 15 minutes.

There is yoga, occasionally. A few years ago, King read about the benefits of rocking chairs and bought a few with department funds. This year, standing desks entered the scene.

The three tall desks were purchased with a Bettendorf Schools Foundation grant of $1,700. They arrived in mid-December and were delivered during King's grammar class, which includes junior and senior students.

"The kids just glommed onto them," she said.

Some of the Bettendorf students used them for the practice ACT tests that go on in the classroom. Others chose them for English finals, which were given recently.

"I tell them, when you get tired of sitting, use the standing desks, and when you get tired of standing, use the sitting desks," King said.

Josh Turner, 16, of Bettendorf, used the standing desk every other day during English class and was one of the students who "glommed" onto it.

The teen was in class when the desks were first delivered in December, and he immediately learned why they would be used.

"It was new so I went over and tried it right away," he said.

King teaches grammar writing, honors English and journalism writing at Bettendorf, and she also follows several educational experts on Twitter. That's where she first got the idea of changing up the chairs in the classroom.

The problem with the rocking chairs are mostly with boys, who inevitably tip over on them, she said.

In 2016, the teacher saw research from Texas A&M University, College Station. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that standing desks helped elementary school children to concentrate better and to reduce obesity levels, because standing burns more calories than sitting.

Some elementary schools have the standing desks, King said, but these are the first at Bettendorf High School.

Josh likes the desk because it has storage for books and jackets, and there is a leg swing, where a person can place one foot and fidget a bit.

"That helps while you're writing," he said. "It keeps you moving and the blood flowing."

After he first used the desk, the junior at Bettendorf said he was surprisingly tired. His English class ended last week with final tests, and he finds he misses the tall desk option.

Since the desks have been in place just more than a month, King has no hard data of their effectiveness.

"There's no way to determine if they did better on tests than they would have otherwise," King said. "But obviously, if they are comfortable, that will help no matter what."

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