I’m going back to teaching fifth grade after 14 years. When I was at my new school in May, the teacher who inhabited the classroom that will be mine told me that she would be done moving out by the end of the day. I could move in my stuff any time after that. I had to chuckle. “Stuff?”
After all this time I don’t really have any “stuff.” Sure, I have some picture books and some office supplies, but that's about it.
I have been thinking a lot about what kind of “stuff” I want to have in my classroom. Right now I’m focused on furniture. I want to provide flexible seating, giving students a wide range of seating options. Edutopia has several articles addressing flexible seating.
My classroom comes with tables and chairs, and I want to offer more than that. With impeccable timing, FlexiSpot offered to send a couple of their products I can use for flexible seating in exchange for a review. I haven’t used these products in the classroom yet, so I’m sharing my initial observations. I’ll update this post after using the items in my classroom.
FlexiSpot Computer Riser
The FlexiSpot Computer Riser M2B is a platform that can be easily adjusted to standing height. It is 2.5 feet across, which is plenty of room for a laptop and for a book or notebook. Because of its size, it needs to sit on a somewhat large table.
The Computer Riser M2B has a keyboard tray, but I have not installed it. Since my students and I won’t be using a separate keyboard, we don’t need the tray. Omitting the tray also reduces the weight. The riser is already heavy, and the keyboard tray would add more weight.
The nice thing about being heavy is that the riser does not slip around the table. It’s very sturdy, and I expect it to survive daily classroom use.
My plan is to offer students a chance to stand up while they work, and the FlexiSpot Computer Riser boosts a workspace to be a comfortable height for standing, especially when my students are working their Chromebooks.
FlexiSpot Deskcise Pro
The Deskcise Pro is part stationary bike and part standing desk. It features a workspace that can be moved up and down and forward and backward.
The seat is adjustable, but it does not go low enough to allow my 5 years old twins to be able to pedal. Fifth graders should be tall enough to reach the pedals.
I’ve been using the Deskcise Pro while I work on my laptop. It’s great to be able to get light exercise while working. I am able to focus on my work, and forget about the fact that I am peddling.
I do notice that after about 45 minutes, the seat becomes uncomfortable for me. I don’t think my students will be sitting at this desk for that long. I’m guessing they will be ready to switch to a different seat after 20 or 30 minutes.
What about noise? Aren’t exercise bikes kind of loud? Not the Deskcise Pro! I am really surprised at how quiet it is. If it wasn’t quiet, I would not bring it into my classroom.
The desk is also surprisingly compact. It doesn’t take up much more floor space than a standard student desk. I’m really happy the workstation is on casters for easy relocation. And if I need to store it, the stabilizing legs fold in, and I can remove the desktop.
There is a resistance control knob. I seem to work best when the resistance is set to medium. I don’t need a grueling workout as I work. I suspect most students will set resistance to a low level. That allows them to keep moving without getting too exhausted.
There is an LCD display that gives a readout of how long you have been exercising, the distance, calories, and more. It takes 2 AA batteries. I think I’ll actually remove the batteries because the button that controls the screen beeps loudly, and the display is not necessary for the bike’s operation.
I have enjoyed working while pedaling, and I know that I will continue to use the Deskcise Pro myself. I probably won’t get a chance to use it much during the school day, as I’m anticipating that students will want the chance to move and work at the same time.
Thanks & Advice
I would like to thank FlexiSpot for helping me get “stuff” for my classroom. In fact, I’m guessing that I’m going to need to find a way to get additional workspace risers and exercise workstations.
I would love to hear your advice for flexible seating. I know that embracing flexible seating does not need to be costly, and there are some pretty awesome ideas and hacks out there. I’m wondering: What else do I need? What should I keep in mind? I really appreciate your comments.