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Stand While Working

Stand While Working

Why should I do it:

  • Some students with ADHD, ADD, or other difficulties focusing and paying attention may find it beneficial to stand while working to increase their ability to focus and attend
  • Many students do better with a change in position and posture during longer assignments
  • Standing helps provide the brain with extra stimulus, which in kids with ADD/ADHD, serves to help them focus more on the task at hand
  • Standing is a good way to wake students up and freshen their resolve after a long day, assignment, or test
  • Standing can help get rid of nervous energy
  • Standing employees a whole body shift and change, which is beneficial to anyone after sitting for a long time and helps create a small “new start” even if in the middle of an assignment
  • Helps create the illusion of smaller chunks of time and effort

When should I do it:

  • When a student seems fidgety, gets up and sits down a lot, is hyperactive, inattentive, unfocused, sits on their knees a lot, shifts position a lot, etc
  • After the class has been sitting for a long time
  • In the middle of a long assignment, test, or quiz
  • When a student is required to read to the class
  • Toward the end of the day, after lunch, or early in the morning when students can become lethargic, sleepy, sluggish, and lose motivation and effort
  • When the class seems to need a change
  • When you want to create mental breaks or sections in a task or activity

How do I do it:

  • Simply provide the student an area where they can stand up and move around a little. Allow the student to use a high flat surface to do their work on, like a speaking podium.
  • Allow students to stand next to their desks while continuing to work
  • Tell students they are allowed to work at their desks standing or with one leg resting on their chair, but they must continue working
  • Make sure to set boundaries, for example, tell students they can stand to work at their desks, but must remain within reach of their desk or within one step
  • Student do not need to use their desk top to work on, for example, if they are reading they can hold their book, but make sure to enforce a distance boundary like above to prevent wandering
  • To allow for additional movement, try having students do a problem, item, or question while standing at their desk, then give a signal to have students walk to a new desk to do the next problem or item. Continue to do this throughout the assignment to keep students moving, alert, and focused
  • Have students align their desks in a large circle. Students stand to work at their desk, and like above, when the teacher gives an indication or signal, students sidestep to the desk next to them to do the next problem. Rather than signaling to start a new problem at the next desk, the teacher can also signal every predetermined amount of time, like every 5 minutes for example.
  • With students that have ADHD or are hyperactive, don’t be too strict with regard to their level of movement and activity while they work next to their desk. For example, if the student paces a few steps back and forth near their desk in between completing problems or hops a little while working, this is okay and probably helping the student to focus better.

Resources & Support for technique:
(Items with footnotes link to external websites)


  1. Nauert, R. ADHD Kids Need to Move. [].
  2. ADHD Made Simple. 24 Strategies for Working with ADHD Children. [].