Tables Only, No Desks

Discussion in 'General Education' started by glitterfish, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

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    Aug 18, 2009

    I just moved to a new school and, instead of individual desks, I have 7 rectangle tables. I'm looking forward to this new style, but am also foreseeing potential problems--management and organization.

    Can anyone share ideas on how they make this work? I know many teachers love tables.
     
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  3. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    Aug 18, 2009

    Behind the seat storage.

    They sell them on Oriental Trading for quite a bit of money, but you can make them for pretty cheap! (I would love having tables by the way!)
     
  4. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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  5. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Aug 18, 2009

    I have had only tables for the last 5 years. It definitely changes how you do management!!!

    1- you could put a caddy of some kind in the middle of each table. Then the students store their daily school supplies in that. Pencils, sharpeners, erasers, markers, scissors, etc. I have found this to be a HUGE distraction to my students though! The benefit is that they have what they need right there.

    2- Keep the tables clear. Have a shelf or shelves around the room where kids keep their pencil boxes, books, notebooks, etc. My classroom has cubbies. The key in this is dismissing the students to do their lessons in such a way that they are not crowding to get their books and pencils.

    3- Community supplies. Have all the pencils, crayons and things in a special spot in the classroom. Have enough containers that there are enough for each table to have their own set of markers or whatever. This probably won't work unless you arrange it and let the parents know ahead of time. I have community supplies but our school provides them for the students, they don't have a school supply list.

    4- WHAT I DO:

    I do a combination of all of the above. We have a shelf with art supplies on it, so color pencils for example, are in 4 containers, enough for each table. When they need them for an assignment, I have one child from the table be the "getter" and they grab those supplies.

    In terms of notebooks and things like that... I have a container for each subject. ALL of the science journals are in one place. I pass them out to the students before they are to begin and they get up one at a time to get their pencil from the community pencil jar. This alleviates crowding around. It takes what feels like a bit more time before a lesson, but I often have my slow-poke workers get up first and get started and it gives them a couple of extra minutes to work. Sometimes I also send the really independent workers first and then I can do a brief review of the directions w/ those who need it before I hand out their journals.

    I do not allow kids to sharpen pencils during the day. There is a pencil jar that I keep and I either pass out pencils, or they get them after I have passed out their work. I am very methodical about passing out supplies, since no one really has their own.

    Even if you don't have community supplies, you need to be more methodical about gathering their things, because for instance, if you want everyone to get their math books, they will all rush to the same shelf and grab them, causing congestion.

    One year, I had a milk crate under each table and they kept their most used books and things in that. It worked pretty well, except that I ended up moving kids around a lot and then I had to change the milk crates all the time!! If you think your kids will stay in the same spot, it's probably a good enough idea.

    Hope this is helpful. It is a whole different concept to have tables instead of desks!!
     
  6. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

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    Aug 18, 2009

    MissJill--the chair covers look awesome. I've always wanted to get those, even when I had desks. They're out of my budget, though, and I'm not a seamstress. I wish I could find someone who was handy at making them. They look great!

    MissFroggy--thanks for all of your detailed tips! I'll definitely be putting some of these to use for organization purposes.

    Anyone have ideas for those students with ADHD/autism? I'm concerned about them being in a table setting and not being able to focus. Has this been a problem in your experience? Last year, for example, I started out with groups of desks, but eventually placed students in long rows, side-by-side, and they actually liked it a lot better. They had so much trouble when facing other children. The tables will be awesome for group work and art projects, though!
     
  7. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Aug 19, 2009

    I have lots of students with ADD/ADHD and autism. The one thing I do a lot with the tables, is I offer the kids the chance to work elsewhere in the room with clipboards. I also had some large boards made out of laminated board at lowe's one year. It was really cheap and they are big enough to put a couple of large pieces of construction paper on. This allows partners to work on the floor, or a person to work on a larger project on the floor. I just call them "floor boards". It works well to allow kids space to work on their own. In fact, for tests, I always have only one child at each table (maybe two if they face opposite of one another) and then everyone else gets a clipboard and spreads out. I use my whole room, not just the tables.

    I also have one extra table that people can work at if they need to be alone or need more space. We have a table in the hallway too, and sometimes I have kids I trust enough to work out there...
     
  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Aug 19, 2009

    I have the dividers (some people call them "offices") from Really Good Stuff -- you only need 3 per table (for 6 person tables) but you do need them or cheating will be prevelent on tests.

    I use tubs for my binders, and the books are on a shelf. I call one person from a table to go pick up enough books for the entire table. Otherise, you have 25 students all rushing over and pushing each other trying to get to the books. Our math books are consumable in 2nd grade (probably not an issue in 4th, but things like your journals and such are individual, not interchangeable like text books) so you need those in containers by table. Again, send one student per table to get them and have that student hand them out. I pick a different student to collect them when we are done. The only problem is when you move someone, but it just takes a minute to straighten that out.

    I've had autistic children before, and while they do fine, I always leave an empty seat next to them or across from them, depending on their needs. I also am very careful who I seat next to or across from them -- to make sure it is a kind, helpful child, and also a child who won't be so annoyed by the self-talk and rituals that go along with autism that he or she can't concentrate. Give a child with autism plenty of notice if you are going to change the seats at his or her table. Also have an area (the carpet, your desk, a chair, etc) where he or she can go for a break.
     

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