Classroom without desks?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by fantasticfirst, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. fantasticfirst

    fantasticfirst Rookie

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    Mar 28, 2010

    Has anyone ever tried a classroom without desks or tables? I heard a speaker talk about some of the benifits early in the school year. I am wondering if this would work for next year. I've tried looking for research on the topic, but so far I have come up empty.
    At this point I am thinking that the kids would sit in beanbag chairs and they would each have a drawer to keep their things in.
    Any thoughts?
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Mar 28, 2010

    As a child, I would not have liked not having a desk. Beanbags and such were nice for independent reading and other shorter tasks, but when it came time to get down to business I wanted a nice, organized desk area.
     
  4. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Also how would you teach handwriting?
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It would absolutely NOT fly in my math classes!!!
     
  6. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I have seen Montessori classes where they do the majority of work on mats on the carpet using trays if they need them for writing, etc. I have seen Reggio Emilio schools which have some tables but do a lot of small group work on the floor. Both had baskets to put their personal belonging in. Waldorf school don't have desks, as far as I know. I depends on the philosophy and type of learning. I think it would be a lot easier in preschool through 1st.
     
  7. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I would not like this because sometimes a child's desk is all that they "own". Plus, I could see it being hard for children to focus. Playing would get out of hand.
     
  8. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    We have tables, not desks at my school. The kids have cubbies that they "own" and they keep their belongings there. We do a lot of work on the floor and I have "floor boards" which are large pieces of laminate material that they set on the floor. They are large enough for big sized paper to fit on them nicely (I think 2x3 feet.) Two kids can even work on one.

    We have tables of course, and the kids sit at them during handwriting and other subjects, but I let kids sit on the floor almost any time they want to. The kids almost always play any games in the classroom on the floor.

    My exceptions are time tests in math, and if they have a drink while they are reading or something. I do one handwriting group at tables, but I let the other group do it on the floor. My group receiving cursive instruction sits at the table, and my kids reviewing cursive sit anywhere they want. Art is always done best at a table!! I wouldn't do an art project on the floor.
     
  9. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Not sure how you would do no tables per se, but I have seen classrooms with no desks. It takes good management! The kids have cubbies but most items are shared. The way I have seen it is the teachers have built "bleachers." They are actually like solid boxes stacked up to provide support for the kids (and storage). I have also seen older classes with little benches. Lessons are typically very short, then the kids do independent work around the room.

    As a student teacher it was hard because I didn't have the management skills. With desks you can move kids, but with this format there is no assigned seating. After seeing it effectively, I hope someday I can teach like that.
     
  10. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    I would not have liked that. I saw been bag chairs only for reading, or watching TV. Not for actually working. I needed a table surface to work on at that age. As I got older a clip board and a comfy chair, a really soft one with arms, would have been great.
     
  11. abc123teacher

    abc123teacher Rookie

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    Mar 29, 2010

    agree

    I agree with Groupie - children need a flat surface at the right height to have them learn to write correctly. I would imagine it would be difficult for them to write correctly by laying on their stomachs on the floor and writing on notebooks, or even by having a flat surface on their lap to write on while sitting in the beanbag chairs. Plus, I would think that the beanbag chairs would allow more rowdiness in the children while desks help children stay in one place.
     
  12. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    Mar 29, 2010

    I never had desks in my classroom, but tables are a necessity for the reasons abc123 mentions. I like, but have not always had, folding tables because you can clear the bulk of the room easily for various activities that require open floor space.
     
  13. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Sometimes I wish I could get rid of my desks. My kids do spent a lot of time working on the floor.

    BUT, there are always those times when desks are necessary...

    (Like...the standardized test next week... or art projects...)
     
  14. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Some students work best at tables/desks.

    I have a variety of seating in my room- traditional tables (desks), low tables (legs taken off; students sit on the floor or on cushions), high tables (students stand), and captain's chairs. Each student also has a clip board so they can lay down on the floor or sit on the couch to work.

    I require students to work at a table with their feet flat on the floor for handwriting. Otherwise, they can work wherever it works best for them and where they can get their work done.
     
  15. lschallerd

    lschallerd New Member

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    classroom without desks


    I am a 3rd grade teacher in Kansas with 26 students several who are high need. I have arranged my classroom into five work stations. No one has a personal desk and all school items are kept in a cubby. The students do have a work folder with pockets and a pencil box with 8 pencils for the week. I love no pencil sharpening. First is a set of 5 desks zip tied together. 2nd is a long table with balls, 3rd is a set of desks raised as high as possible where they stand, 4th is a tall table with stools that swivel, and last is a kidney table where I do small group instruction. I also encourage sitting on my couch, the floor, pillows, and a small kitchen table by the window. I have seen a large growth in my students based on a screener but I have also seen that they pay attention better. We rotate through the stations throughout the day. They will be at each station for approximately an hour. I am already researching how to remove the desks totally.
     
  16. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Wow, I would have HATED that as a student!!

    Since I'm in first grade, I try to do lots of different learning arrangements. Small groups with various kids at table groups, their own desks, the carpet, the carpet in a circle, the carpet with clipboards, the carpet with whiteboards, etc etc. Mixing it up keeps things fresh for the kids and for me! At my grade level, I would hate having them sit at desks all day long. However, those desks are definitely important at certain times of day - when we are writing, when we are doing cutting/gluing activities, etc. I can't imagine not having desks or tables. I don't know, to me a bean bag chair doesn't say "let's learn," it says "let's relax and watch TV."

    I wouldn't mind having tables instead of desks, but NO desks OR tables? No thanks.
     
  17. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    With the current Kindergarten curriculum, I feel either tables or desks are needed. Beanbag chairs might be nice for part of the day, but not for all of it.
     
  18. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I don't know the population you serve, but my kiddos wouldn't do well with that at all. I have desks, but have them organized into 4-person "tables." I do not move the desks around (they are zip-tied together). Instead, I take a leaf from Kagan cooperative learning structures (I use several of their ideas) and move the kiddos around every 6 weeks or so. The kids still have the structured environment and opportunities for cooperative learning, but get to "see the world" from a new angle, so to speak.
     
  19. StellatheSub

    StellatheSub Rookie

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    Jan 31, 2013

    I subbed in a classroom without desks a long time ago. I believe it was 3rd grade. The students were squirmy and not well behaved. I think they were probably uncomfortable. I didn't see a huge benefit in not having desks. There was not exploratory activities going on on the floor, but writing they had to do by looking at what was projected on the screen. I think 7 hours on the floor all day long would be torture. I also think it doesn't prepare students for the real world. In the real world we use desks and have computers on them at work. The only benefit I did see was that they had room to do exercises. The teacher had put in an aerobics like video before she left and they had plenty of space to move.
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Interesting how this thread was revived!

    Anyway, I can't imagine not having desks. We are probably at our desks 80-85% of the day. The other 15-20% is on the carpet.

    My mom teaches kindergarten and she prefers tables. It has worked well for her over the past 25+ years.
     

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