Desk arrangment

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jul 29, 2012

    Ah, the old desk discussion. ;) What do you do for desk arrangements? Last year was my first with desks, and this is what I experienced:

    -I started off with rows that had an aisle in the middle. I thought it would curb talking, and then all eyes would be on me. It lasted the first 2 days of school, and I HATED it! My classroom was very cramped, and it just felt weird to me...Almost old-fashioned? Just not my style.
    -I had a U-shape (more like a rectangle that was missing one side) for about half of the year. I really enjoyed this setup. All students could see the front of the classroom, and they could see each other. What I didn't like was that they could all see each other. This would sometimes cause behavior problems (silly faces, etc.). I also did not like how difficult it was to walk around the classroom. Even though I left openings within the U, it was hard to make your way around.
    -During spring break, I switched to groups of 4 and 5. I really liked how it looked and felt, and it allowed for such better traffic flow. Their chairs are not attached to the desks, so they could all easily turn see the board. However, I often felt like students were paying more attention to one-another than they were to me. Some students even requested switching back to the U, because they were so annoyed with group mates talking to them.

    I would really like to do groups throughout the year. I tried to "train" them to sit in groups, but it was still very difficult for many children. We modeled, made anchor charts, etc., but it was still difficult for many children. Any tips or advice for making this type of seating arrangement successful?
     
  2.  
  3. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 29, 2012

    I change my seating throughout the year but this arrangement I use for a majority of the year

    It's like rows except you put 2 desks side by side then your aisle, another set of desks, your isle... You get the point. So you have rows but each row instead of a single desk it is two. This allows them to have a partner when needed (makes it easier for you to partner up quickly) and groups of four are easy. I will often tell them to get in their group of four and they move their own desk and its quick and easy. The grouping of four is easy. Just have the first set of desk turn around to face the two behind them and you instantly have groups set up!
     
  4. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,397
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jul 29, 2012

    I like an arrangement like HWilson said. I usually start off with something like that, and then change it up every month or so. We tend to go back to rows of some kind during the run-ups to Christmas and Spring Break...
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 29, 2012

    I love seating my students in groups. Table points tends to motivate the groups to really stay on task and listen to instruction. Also treating them more as teams than as individuals helps too (either the whole team is or isn't doing the correct behavior).

    I tend to do a lot of my instruction in small groups and that takes away the students need to listen while sitting at these desk arrangements.
     
  6. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jul 29, 2012

    I like the idea of thinking about them as teams. Maybe they could even come up with group names...This might motivate them to listen/get along.
     
  7. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,726
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 29, 2012

    I've entirely phased out desks over the years as I've accumulated tables, but prior to that I treated them as if they were tables.

    ...pushed a group together and had the students store the materials in communal areas.
     
  8. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jul 29, 2012

    I have thought about that, too. My desks are entirely symmetrical and lay flat, so I could even turn them backwards without them looking funny. However, I would like to do communal supplies in the middle of the desk groups, and I worry about the desks moving around and the supplies falling. I have seen teachers zip-tie desks together, but that just doesn't seem ideal for situations where the desks need to be moved (classroom parties, plays, etc.).

    I have been begging my principal for tables, though. Someday! :D
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 29, 2012

    Definitely let them come up with a team name. You can also let them create a team flag to hang on their desks or above their desks.
     
  10. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    5,276
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 29, 2012

    I do table groups (teams) of 3-5 (4 is optimum), with (for 4) mixed ability: H, HM, LM, L - preferably. I just attended 4 days of Kagan classes, so I plan to do a lot of class and team building during the first couple of weeks (and beyond) to create teams in which the behavior and success of everyone is beneficial and important to all. Kagan thinks the teams need to change every 6 weeks. Because we are on 9-week grading periods, this keeps the kids from thinking that the table groups are based on their report card grades. According to Kagan, you need to do a MINIMUM of 2 teambuilding activities per week, in order to keep your kiddos working well as a team. The activities don't take long - 5 minutes or less. There are some used Kagan books on Amazon for cheaper than they are at Kaganonline.
     
  11. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 29, 2012

    I've seen on Pinterest ....
    Take the cap to your laundry detergent and electro it to the desk. I'm sure if asked your fellow teachers to save theirs for you, you would have enough in no time.
    http://pencilspaperandpd.blogspot.com/
    Scroll about half way through the page and you will see it.
     
  12. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    2

    Jul 29, 2012

    I have tables, so I don't have a choice, but I like that way. However ALL of my teaching is done on the rug. And there really weren't many problems on the rug, except the occasional glances. I feel like when they're on the rug they're all so close to me that they feel like I'm looking at each other of them and they can't get anything by me. When they're doing independent work at their seats sometimes they'd get chatty. My method was usually to move students' seats. We always had a group at the small group table, and another table with one of the teachers, so there were empty seats that allowed me to move talkers. Or I'd send a kid or two to work on the rug to separate them a bit. Plus I think they just enjoyed the change of scenery sometimes. I guess because my students were older (4th grade) they were just more capable of working/reading for longer periods of time without distracting each other. (Although had you asked me this on June 25th I would have been ranting and raving how they couldn't keep their feet to themselves and wouldn't stop talking!) But the majority of the year was easy in that sense. I LOVE my tables. I'd be SO upset if they took them away.
     
  13. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jul 29, 2012


    That's a really cool idea, thanks!

    Also, I agree with the team building...I am not too familiar with the Kagan Structure, but I would definitely like to do more team building. Most teachers hate groups because kids talk to much, but I would like to teach them how to talk at appropriate times, instead of just trying to avoid it.
     
  14. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jul 29, 2012

    That's really cool that you do most of your teaching at the rug, even in 4th grade. I usually only have students at their desks if there is some sort of hands-on activity where they are using manipulatives.
     
  15. tgim

    tgim Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    845
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 29, 2012

    I have desks, and do a modified U shape with an opening in the back middle (bottom part of U). Along the sides I insert 2-3 desks aligned perpendicular to side of U.

    Later, when they can handle tables-groups, I push desks together for a more user-friendly arrangement.
     
  16. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    229

    Jul 29, 2012

    In the past I have always had desks, so I would put them together anywhere from 3-4. It opens up the room, but it allows you to have partner/group discussions at any second. I love that arrangement. In my new school, I am pretty sure we have large tables. I will have my kiddos at the tables in groups this year, but hoe exactly I will put it all together is still yet to be determined.
     
  17. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    229

    Jul 29, 2012

    I love groups and have never had a problem with talking. This could be because I do the mini-lessons, and whatever practice follows the lessons I allow them to talk and work together.
     
  18. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 8, 2012

    When I start out in a horseshoe formation, I am the most confident. That is what I am starting out with this year, and my meeting area is in the center. It looks quite nice. I like seeing who works together well and who doesn't with the layout. I have never used rows except for state testing, and even then, I had "nooks" of sorts where kids had private work areas with barriers, etc.
     
  19. MissNikki

    MissNikki Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2012

    AWESOME idea! Now I need to find enough caps! :dizzy:
     
  20. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    2,841
    Likes Received:
    321

    Aug 13, 2012

    Since I'm down to 11 this year, I'm trying the horseshoe. Could never fit them all that way before! Last year I had large table groups.
     
  21. missalli

    missalli Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2012

    I always swore that I would never do groups... I fought against it... rows all the way... and then last year I did groups for Project GLAD and it really worked. It's just another layer of management.
     
  22. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,042
    Likes Received:
    908

    Aug 13, 2012

    I have the desks facing the front of the room in groups of 2 with space inbetween each pair, if that makes sense. So far I like it. I stole the idea from a CT I used to work with. It cuts down on talking b/c they're facing the front and not each other, and they only have one person next to them. However, it also gives them an immediate partner to talk to/work with when I ask. It's nice even to just not have to explain who their "shoulder partner" is because that person is obviously right next to them. If I want groups of four, I simply tell them to join another table group. Of course once I get to know them better, the pairings will be more strategic also.
     
  23. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 13, 2012

    What a great idea, I'm trying that! I like the idea of a community area inside the U for the first few weeks. Once I get a community going, I can switch to 4's later on.

    I've always loved:
    (double), aisle, (double), bigger aisle, (double), aisle, (double)

    ...but I can't squeeze that in my tiny trailer. :(
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Brett Moorfoot
Total: 243 (members: 2, guests: 215, robots: 26)
test