A Classroom Without Desks

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     If you had walked into my classroom at any point in the last 4 years, the majority of the time you would have seen kids working all around the room and on the floor. Every time I rearrange the desks in my classroom, one of the thoughts at the forefront of my mind is how much floor space there is for students to work independently, in partners, and in small groups. So I thought why not do away with the desks all together? I wanted to create an open and flexible learning environment granting the students choices in how they learn and making them accountable for their own learning.
     Getting rid of student desks does NOT mean I will have an empty classroom.
I chose to have many different kind of learning spaces in my classroom based on my observation of the students I’ve taught over the last five years. These spaces include standing tables, normal sitting desks, individual “island” desks, tables lowered to allow students to sit on the floor while working at the table, and clipboards to allow students to lay or sit on the floor while working. All of this is designed to facilitate better collaboration among students and better classroom flow. I want to give them choices in their learning and teach them to be self reflective, self aware, and more accountable for their own education.
     If a student does not make a good choice about where they sit, or they fight with other students over a specific seat, they do not get a warning. They get assigned an individual desk to sit at. They will have the opportunity to earn their choice back when they feel they are ready and are able to explain why and how they will make better choices. This process will need to be modeled and practiced. It requires a lot of self-awareness and reflection that they will need to be taught.

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My classroom is space themed since Astronomy is the biggest science unit I teach. 

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This whiteboard by my door has been amazing. The kids have to sign their name in the appropriate box when they leave the room: boys bathroom, girls bathroom, nurse, specialist, library. 

 

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I have my daily schedule printed, laminated, and on magnets so I can easily switch it around every day. 

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image (7)Here is my supply corner. I love having the kid desks to hold supplies because I can have things on top and inside. 

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Here are the students’ cubbies where they keep everything that would have gone in their desks. image (5)

 

This is my library. I was excited to get rid of the desks so I could have room to make the library a U shape. You can also see my math board. On it I have a clock that I printed from Super Teacher Worksheets. You have to subscribe to the website, but it is TOTALLY worth it. 

image (6) This is my teacher corner. I tried to make it as minimally invasive as possible. There is no way I could get rid of my teacher desk 😉  

 

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2 responses to “A Classroom Without Desks

  1. I’m very interested in flexible seating and getting rid of the majority of my tradition desks for other seating arrangements. How did you manage supplies and students notebooks and folders if they don’t have an assigned desk? Do they keep all their belongings in cubbies?

    Thanks,
    Arikka

    • They all have cubbies to keep their belongings in. And it is so much better than desks becuase I can glance and see them all, so they stay much more neat than desks ever did.

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