Tables vs. Desks in 3rd grade

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by sarthur1229, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. sarthur1229

    sarthur1229 New Member

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    I am considering using tables instead of desks in my 3rd grade classroom. I would like to get some feed back from others who are using tables instead of desks in 3rd grade. What are the advantages/disadvantages?
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm going to give a less informed opinion and hope someone comes and saves you. :D

    I would think:

    Desk allow materials to be stored in them/independence, can be moved for isolation purposes (tests, etc), can be moved for less distractions or group work (somewhat).

    Depending on what kind of table, better community spirit and group work, less fighting over missing materials or fallen materials (that was mine), can be rotated for center activities, can't be separated invidually (tests, behavior, independent work-prying eyes), and more distraction (moving etc instead of looking at the teacher).

    Again, not experienced in using desks (we have 2 in the classroom for isolation mostly used during writing for an ADHD kid to help focus) and I'm first grade and not 3rd. ;)

    Come on...more opinions needed.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Haven't taught third, but loved having tables in my grade 5 classroom several years ago. It was easy to have very dynamic, fluid groupings. There was a large basket in the middle of each table for the students to keep their pencil case and the book they were currently reading. Textbooks, notebooks, etc., were kept in some central storage spots around the room and were handed out as needed. Each student also had a pull-out bin (about the size of a dishpan) to keep other belongings. The students loved it--actually it was their request. We started the year with double desks which were absolutely horrible.
     
  5. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    I find that kids in "groups" tend to a LOT talk more. Also, too many kids have their backs to the teacher.

    Major:)
     
  6. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    I teach K and have tables, but pulled in a few desks. I have found that material is scattered everywhere with the desks. They talk a lot more at the tables, this is why I brought in a few desks to separate those who continually talk, it does not stop them, but makes it a bit harder for them to socialize constantly. I wish I had all desks in my room. I can move them together if need be for projects and separate them for work. Books, papers, pencils, can be stored in the desk rather than around the room. My sons 4th grade had tables and stored everything in their locker, so everytime they switched subjects or needed material they had to go to their locker.
     
  7. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    I like tables because it can limit what kids store in their desks--I'd rather store text books, etc. around the room than have everything shoved in a kid's desk. I do classroom observations for work and this is one thing I have noticed over and over--the kids at tables often appear more organized because there seems to be more outside structure of materials placed on them. Although I'm sure if you really structured desk use, kids could keep them neat and orderly too.
     
  8. epatterson

    epatterson Rookie

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    I have tables in my 1st grade room, and really like my kids working in groups. However, they are VERY social, which is my biggest problem, and I have often wondered if the tables are contributing. We had a basket in the middle of the table that had everyone's supplies, but then kids started grabbing and hanging on to the basket or wanting to be the boss and pass everyone out, so I gave them all their own individual stuff and they keep it in their chair pocket (from Really Good Stuff - LOVE these!). I just decided to move to 2nd next year and they have desks. I am trying to decide if I want to keep them or order tables. I will be anxious to see others' thoughts!:)
     
  9. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2007

    I teach 2nd grade and I use tables and NEVER want to go back to desks. As for someone always having their back to the teacher...that's easy to solve. As part of the procedures that you teach you teach the students who sit with their backs to the front of the room to turn their chair around or to sit sideways in it so their body is pointing at you. Every child learns this because I don't just teach from the front.

    Tables allow you to work with a small number of kids at the same time. It's easier to get an idea of who has a concept and who doesn't by glancing at a table at a time than just individuals. Tables actually take up less space than desks.

    For students that are distracted they know that during worktime they don't have to ask me to move somewhere around the room. Students just grab a clipboard and go. This has made for a very relaxed and enthusiastic learning environment. Students know they have control over where they are to work and work has been of a much better quality and they get it done a lot faster.

    If you have specific questions about tables I'm happy to help.
     
  10. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I also use tables in my k-4 classroom. Of course I have four rectangle tables and one kidney bean table. So if I want I can spread them all out. I have always hated desks. they are messy, and the kids are always moving them. Tables are harder for children to move a couple inches this way or that way.
    For testing with my older students, I make up two different tests. That way their wondering eyes don't let them cheat on a test.

    Also, I like having an open classroom. I don't feel desks allow for that.
    As for having backs to you, you can arrange the tables so no one has their back to you. Well if you have a big enough classroom.
     
  11. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I switched to table desks in 4th and brought them with me to 5th. I LOVE them. They are perfect for science and group projects. Because they are individual table desks, there are countless ways for me to arrange them. Yes, they had to adjust to being in groups and talking or rather not talking, but they adjust quickly. We also talk A LOT about personal space and respecting that (hands and feet at their desk, not a neighbors.) Of course with the desks that I had before the tables, they were all different. They were old, different sizes, and falling apart. I would hate to go back. I love my tables.
     
  12. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Feb 24, 2007

    what are table desks?
     
  13. sarthur1229

    sarthur1229 New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies! My co-worker and I are considering asking the principal about using tables in our 3rd grade classrooms next year. I know that we don't have any in storage that we could use. If there are any, I am sure they are probably the 'old noboday wanted them' ones. Can you write a grant to get brand new tables in a classroom? Any ideas on how we can get about 10 new tables 'donated'?
     
  14. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    I am not sure where you are located, but a lot of teachers receive items from donorschoose.org They have a list of regions that they help. If you live in one of the regions you can try a submittal there, but make sure you read all of their requirements before submitting.
     
  15. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Feb 24, 2007

    Most grants will tell you that you can't buy furniture with them. A lot, though, take in-kind donations into account. If you have any large companies in your area, or groups such as Woodmen of the World (Insurance company that makes a lot of school donations around here) you might look into hitting them up, or possibly someone like Sam's to write a teacher proposal for them to donate the tables. My friend has the 6 ft white Sam's tables in her room and has a milk crate for each child. My tables are table desks so they have some storage in the table, each child has a small basket or magazine holder for the rest.
     
  16. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    I interned in a third grade classroom which started out with desks. The desks took over the whole room! (It was a super small classroom). They got round tables, and they had much more space. The only issue was that the kids had a lot of materials, which ended up being piled up in the middle of their tables. They needed some chair pockets! I teach first grade and I have tables. I love it! I don't have to move the desks how I want them every day because they move around (like when I was in second grade last year). It's much more organized.
     
  17. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Feb 24, 2007

  18. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Wow, I never knew this was such a debate! :D I have desks, but I have them clustered in groups of 4 or 5 so the kids are still sitting in groups (I call them neighborhoods). I see both sides, honestly the kids in my class (2nd) LOVE having a desk - it's a big deal to them, and I like the community of them sitting in a group - this is my compromise. :)
     
  19. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    When I taught second, we had tables, but the tables had "bins" under them, for lack of a better explanation. They were small wire baskets...couldn't hold a LOT, but they held workbooks, journals and folders. Textbooks were stored on shelves around the room (not assigned to specific kids). All supplies were "communal." Each table had a caddy in the middle with pencils, boxes of crayons, scissors, glue sticks and rulers. There was also a pile of dictionaries at each table.

    As far as supplies, I always had issues with parents saying, "I bought my kid expensive Crayola brand stuff, and now there's the cheap-o Prang stuff at her table. Not fair." So, to eliminate that, I started publishing an "at-home" supply list of things each child should have at home at all times in order to be able to complete homework, and other than that, I asked for $15 a child to furnish classroom supplies. If I shopped the sales in August, I'd be able to buy more than enough things for $15 a child - esepcially becase rulers and scissors can be used year after year without replacement. I'd buy pencils, crayons, folders, glue, gluesticks, and compostition books for each child, and I'd make sure I'd buy enough that I could replace those things each quarter throughout the year.
    It worked for me!

    Kim
     
  20. Mrs LC

    Mrs LC Comrade

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    I have desks for my grade, and I set them up in groups of 4 to 6, facing each other. Others at my school have tables with tubs under them for storage, so they use the same type of set up. There's not a single class in my school that seats kids in rows - all are in groups.

    I like desks (or tables with tubs) because kids have access to their stuff without having to move around too much. We don't use texts, so the only shared stuff is the class sets of dictionaries, thesauruses and atlases.

    In the infant grades (k-2) they use tables and have boxes on shelves for individual books, group tins of pencils, textas, etc. Grades 3-6 hand out individual supplies at the start of the year that become the kids' property.
     
  21. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    I am a kindergarten teacher thinking of incorporating desk instead of tables in my classroom. i know this age seems young, but i feel it would eliminate alot of problems i am having now. I have found that tables make it difficult for children to focus. Especially chldren at this age that find it hard to focus anyway. I would put the desk in groups still, but this way everyone wil lhave their own space and be more task oriented.

    I think that it is a great idea to turn the desk around so that they dont creat clutter though. I guess you have to see what works for you. Evry class is different.
     
  22. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    I personally prefer desks. We have textbooks for various subjects, and it is handy to have them in their desks. I think they clearly outline each child's personal space. I can move them around at will (I mix up my groups, and sometimes do a U-shape).

    The desks do migrate a bit, but I simply teach my kids to put them back into order at the end of the day. It's not a big deal to me since I have the kids take care of it. The desks do require more organizational skills, and that is something I struggle with. But, it doesn't irriate me like it might others.

    I agree that you need to see what works for you and your class.
     
  23. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Last year in second grade when we had desks, the "desk fairy" came and left a little treat on the neat desks. If I have desks again I want to make a diagram of what their desks should look like. And maybe at the end of the day during pack up time, if the kids check their desk and make sure it's organized, it won't get bad. I think I saw this idea on mrspowell.com?
     
  24. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Why can't students have their own desks, with their own things stored in them, their own things that nobody else was allowed to touch? My desk at school was the only piece of privacy I ever had as a child: the only inviolable storage place for things that were MINE, the only things my siblings couldn't help themselves to and break. I loved to write my name on my paints, and my paint pan, and the strip of tape on the plastic bag that held my ball of clay, MINE, and my own pencils and pens, and my scissors with my name etched on them, and my eraser with my initials on it, etc. Why does everything have to be thrown in a pot and doled out to just anybody now?

    Grammy, I'm not being mean here. I just want to know. I think a parent who buys supplies for her child has a right to know that her child will be using those supplies. When did it happen that everything was shared and no child got to feel that pride of ownership in her 'own things?' That was one of my favorite parts of school, having my own "things."

    I can see the school making sure the poor kids have their own 'things,' too, but not at the expense of another child's personal property.
     
  25. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I have desks pushed into table arrangements. That way kids have responsibility over their supplies, notebooks, folders. They learn organization (somewhat!!)

    As far as school supplies- MY kids this year must be eating their supplies. I swear EVERYTIME we need to use a wipe off marker or a glue sitck a kids says they don't have one. Don't ask me what happens to the pencils (I have a take one leave one basket- they take but don't leave!!) Anyway, some supplies they brought in September are THEIRS to take responsibility for and some things went into the supply cabinet and I dole out as they need them.
     
  26. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    A question for you guys:
    Would you prefer round tables or rectangular tables?
    This year I got rectangular, because I wanted to do more with them. I've moved them around and finally I am happy with them in a U shape. However, I have a really small class size this year, and next year I'll have more kids so the U won't work. Plus my tables are mismatched... which is silly but it bugs me. :) They are closing down a first grade room, so I could take their round tables. All the other first grade teachers have round.... I just feel like I wouldn't have many choices with them, and there is not any space for a basket to hold folders and notebooks like I do with the rectangular tables. Which would you prefer?
     
  27. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I would prefer rectangle, but I teach 5th. I like being able to maneuver my tables around.
     
  28. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I think all supplies for lower grades should be community property for many reasons. I do think a few things, especially folders should belong to the child who brought them. I always followed the supply sheet and bought what it said instead of getting fancy decorated ones. I did, however, buy a more sturdy of that color than the paper one so I would have to keep replacing it. It didn't go to my child. I learned my lesson.
     

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