Ditching the desks

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Rabbitt, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jul 5, 2018

    I am ditching the desks...or so I think.
    For those of you that have done this, how do you allow students to choose spots?
    I'm concerned with favorite spots. I have only two standing desks that were favorites as choices with the desks.
    I have...2 standing desks with bar, tables, wobbles chairs, exercise balls, floor tables, standing table, floor pillows, 4 directors chairs, 2 round futon chairs,4 office chairs, fun rug. I am thinking about keeping 4 desks. The chairs are attached...yuck.

    Any other set up advice? 2nd grade. About 20 students.

    My style is mainly Daily 5 Reading and Daily 3 math with lots of small group.
    When I teach whole group, they are all by me and then choose spots for activities.
    I would love to hear your ideas or see your photos.
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jul 5, 2018

    Do you have regular chairs as an option at the tables? Probably not what you want to hear, but one of our teachers got rid of all the chairs in her room in favor of wobble seats and exercise balls a couple of years ago. About 4-6 weeks into the school year, the entire class was begging for regular chairs back. This was 4th grade, so maybe younger kids wouldn't care as much...but I'd leave more than 4 "traditional" options for kids that want that.
     
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  4. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Jul 5, 2018

    I really think you should have at least 10 regular chairs. I don't see how they can sit and do their work on all those other things without being worn out. If I were you, I would phase the non-traditional seating IN gradually.
     
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  5. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    I agree. They had very few regular chairs in kng and grade 1 so only reg desks will be new to them. A good year for me to transition.
     
  6. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jul 21, 2018

    Found a few benches at a garage sale. When he heard they were for a classroom, he gave them to me for free! They open up for storage.
     
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  7. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Jul 21, 2018

    I also have done some reading on the topic from those who implemented. They all suggest introducing one or two choices at a time, and keeping some desks as some preferred them. Also, they mentioned they needed desks for parent push back.
    I love the idea, and was on my way to implementing for the upcoming school year, but my position has changed again, so I will be focusing on that. :) I hope it works out. God bless the folks who bless the teachers trying to make their classrooms conducive to learning. I love that you're doing this and wish you every success. I hope you'll post how it went periodically so we can learn before we implement. :)
     
  8. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jul 23, 2018

    I've read this too. I tried this and everyone wanted that turn on the new piece and the old piece was used some.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jul 26, 2018

    I agree with gradual implementation. It will be less overwhelming for the students. Those benches sound neat!
     
  10. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jul 27, 2018

    Thank you! I think it will be less overwhelming for me too! And I am leaning gradual yet still have my doubts since the desks will actually be new to them.
    The benches are great. I'll paint them and post. I had to saw off some legs due to rot but now that bench can be tiered in front of the other.
     
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  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Jul 27, 2018

    I think the theory is wonderful, and will be anxious to know how your experiment works out.
     
  12. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Aug 1, 2018

    I'm really skeptical about flexible seating. Not every group of students can handle it, no matter how wonderful we think we are at classroom management. It may work with your groups for a couple of years, but then you'll get that one group where you have three or four kids who are ridiculous. I agree with gradual implementation, but once you let the desks go, will you be able to get them back again if you decide you don't want to keep up with the system? In my district, once you say goodbye to something, you're not likely to see it again.
     
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  13. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Aug 1, 2018

    Same. I did a little research about it my first year and was totally on board to try it out, and then I subbed last year in classes that had it and decided that *I* can't handle flexible seating. I'd rather have one or two fidgety kids in regular chairs than 20+ kids sitting all over the room. It stresses me out.
    Plus... in primary grades, they move back and forth so much between the carpet and seats and centers that they don't spend that much time in chairs anyway.

    HOWEVER. I've also seen classrooms where it works really well, the teacher has a great system worked out, and the kids are awesome about choosing seats where they actually focus. It just has to be done right, and a lot of teachers just buy wobble stools or exercise balls or (questionable) couches, call it flexible seating, and then wonder why their kids aren't doing any better than before.
     
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  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Aug 2, 2018

    We’ve got several teachers who implement flexible seating at my site. Most have traditional desks/chairs as an option (about 10 desks). It’s all about the level of implementation, though, and they’ve done a stellar job!

    At my last site, a teacher had an old couch, some random tattered seat cushions thrown on the floor, and a sleeping bag in her classroom and called it flexible seating. I called it an eyesore.

    Personally, if I ever went back to the classroom, I’d do flexible seating. I was very particular about the aesthetics of my classroom, though, so everything (furniture-wise) would have to be matchy-matchy. :)
     
  15. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I agree. I do a lot of move around the room type activities, and have always modeled and practiced and had it go smoothly with very few issues in previous years. Last year, I had a group of four or so boys who simply could not move around the room safely or quietly. Even with good modeling and expectations, those four would not have been able to manage flexible seating at all.
     
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  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 2, 2018

    I have tables in my room, with room for 3 or 4 students per table. All students have an assigned seat at a table as a "home base". It's where I expect them to sit for most of what we do whole class. When students are working, I'm flexible about where they sit--at another table, at one of the extra tables or desks I have around the room, under a table, on a cushion on the floor, or in one of the camp chairs. I always maintain veto power, and may ban some students from certain spaces (this tends to happen if a group monopolizes it to the exclusion of others). I wouldn't go as far as full flexible seating, but I do like the kids to have options that work for them. One addition I'm hoping to make in the fall is a bar-height table with 2 tall chairs (bring on the summer clearance sales!).
     
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  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Aug 5, 2018

    This is me. I've always told my classes "during independent/partner/whatever work, unless I say otherwise, you can sit [within limits] anywhere".

    I like flexible seating, though some options can be tricky. A moderate wiggler might do very well with a wobble chair or a yoga ball. An extreme wiggler, on the other hand, just got a new fun toy.
     
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  18. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Personally, I would not implement flexible seating for all activities due to the academic rotations within my classroom. For whole group work (which is rare), my students sit at their desks. The only time I allow some students to chose where they sit is during independent student work time.
    It is not that I do not like using preferential seating, it is just that I do not feel the system fits with my classroom.
     
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  19. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    And one shouldn't use something just because!
     
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