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Tables or Desks in your classroom

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Many of us have the question for whether tables or desks are better in our space. The opinions of our colleagues who have chosen one or the other and the lessons they've learned are important for us to add to our schema when making this choice!
I prefer desks
Posted by:Cathy-Dee #134210

I do prefer desks but I can't imagine two person desks - I don't think I'd like those.

Pros to desks
- you can move them into groups, rows, etc., (more flexibilty in room layout)
- storage of pens, etc.,
- you can separate them for testing purposes

Pros to tables
- easier to do group work
- may take up less room
- sometimes easier to create more space simply by moving them

Cons to desks
- awkward to move
- insides get cluttered
- students play with items in desks
- can take up a lot more room

Cons to tables
- need to find storage for pens, binders, etc.,
- students are always in groups (makes socializing easier for students)
- less...

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Posted by:Kermit #134211


Kids are less attached to THEiR chair, or THEIR table, because the space is flexible. They don't have anything to play with and dig their hands into at a table (though I keep a container with pencils and erasers at each table.)

We can move around and have a very flexible work time. I have a class set of clipboards so any time we need one, the kids can take those and work on the floor (like for a test, I only allow 1-2 kids per table.)

I also invested in getting floor boards made at home depot from masonite. They are about 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 feet. The kids can take them and work on the floor in a group. During group work, sometimes the tables do fill up because a group may need more space than the table can provide.

If you go with...

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Posted by:yesteach #134212

though I agree with the above poster, it depends on teaching style. The majority of my teaching is cooperative, project-based activities. Desks were always in groups anyway, so tables just made more sense. Students constantly argued about "his desk" and "my stuff" and "her space." With a table it's "our table, our stuff and and our space." my students keep them pencils, crayons, etc. in a school box. We have "group" supplies in a basket on the table - markers, scissors, rulers, etc.

In addition to building community, I prefer it simply because it makes project work easier when you have a continuous flat surface. No gaps between desks, no slope (like some desks have) - it's all flat.

I currently have six 4x4 ft. square tables. I think I liked my rectangular ones better (3ft x 6ft), but these work...

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Posted by:AmyH #134213

I like a combination of both...
I have two tables in my room and 12 desks... I change desks/table seating assignment every month. It is nice to have desks to flexibly form groups or keep kids separate within their own space.... tables are great for group work and seem to take up less space....
Most of my 3rd graders prefer desks... Why not ask your kids??:D

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Posted by:Lizmo #134215

I love desks! Storage was difficult for me with tables. I love all the options you have with desks. Tables were boring for me! ...and more time consuming. Whenever we needed supplies it took FOREVER!

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Depends on your students
Posted by:nilvero #134216

Mine are at tables and they talk and get easily distracted by each other WAY too much. I feel if they were at their own desks and the desks were not in as big of groups, they'd be less distracted. I know a teammate of mine feels the same way.

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No title
Posted by:Ontteacher #134217

I love tables, PROVIDED THAT you have room in your class for kids to store their personal belongings such as pencil cases. I have tried putting caddies on each table, but the kids still want to use their own pencil cases and the tables end up getting way too cluttered. Unfortunately I don't have an easy solution in my room for a place for them to keep their own items.

I had desks and don't ever want to go back to them.

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Posted by:MalibuBarbie #134218

I was able to move across the hall this past year to a room that came with tables! I love them!

I taught K about 8 years ago so I was very familiar and comfortable with community supplies. However, our first grade supply list has always asked for pencil boxes and all the good stuff that goes in them (markers, scissors, etc.) because all 3 first grades have had desks up until this year. Now two of us have tables so we DON'T want the silly pencil boxes and "personal" supplies anymore--maybe next year.

I found two 2-drawer dark blue plastic file cabinets at Big Lots. I put five kid's names on each drawer and they put their pencil boxes in them. The kids USED to go and get them out when they needed them but many haven't for months now! They'll end up going home at the end of the...

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Posted by:kenworthyk #134219

I am the only 1st grade teacher that has tables at my school and I love them. I had asked to use them for a few years, but my principal would rather order new desks (we added two 1st grades to our school) than let me use tables that we already owned and were being stored. We got a new principal this year and I got to use tables. Yeah!

Anyway, I have some storage solutions that I have discovered. I use cups, the kind that restaraunts give to children to hold 24 crayons and a pink eraser. Then the kids put their pencil through the straw hole. Applebees and Chillis have both donated these to me. I have a basket of sharp pencils and pencils that need sharpened out for kids to exchange pencils anytime they need. The cups with lids are also easy for the kids to...

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Desks for me
Posted by:TwoMonkeys #134220

I seem to be the odd one out here but I love desks. I can put them however I want them, the kids talk and play less and pay attention to me more, and their books and supplies are with them in their desks and quickly and easily accessable. I like being able to isolate those that need to be as well. They do get moved around and out of line but if it really starts to bother me, we'll do a quick straighten up to ease my mind. :)

I also have the "desk fairy" visit every once in awhile and leave a small treat in the neat desks (my 5th grade daughter loves doing this) and the kids always try to keep their desks neat incase the fairy visits. I'll have her leave a small piece of candy, sticker, pencil top eraser, whatever I...

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Posted by:liketeaching1 #134221

Beautiful tables! Wow!!

If I had tables like that, I wouldn't mind!

I have desks and like the way that I can rearrange them to fit our needs. At times we can be in groups of 2, 3, 4, or 5. I can also arrange them in rows, pulled apart for state testing, etc. I guess I'm the odd person here!

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Posted by:MsPropel #113933

I've used tables for three years in K, 1, and 2. I've really struggled with storage. I've had them stack everything in the middle of the table but that was a nightmare when it would topple over. Our school did a trial of the Seat Sacks that you can buy. They did it for a fourth grade class, they were destroyed by January. Someone made them for my Kindergarten class but made them incorrectly so they didn't stay on the chairs (even when they were empty). I had to tape them onto the chairs with packing tape, which worked until the kids picked at the tape. I felt like all I did was tape seat sacks. That too, was a nightmare. This year, I found under the shelf baskets at Wal-Mart. These worked well for a while, but the kids would knock them off with their knees. This...

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Desks for me
Posted by:liketeaching1 #134222

I prefer desks because they can be arranged in a multitude of configurations. They can be grouped in different numbers of students per group, students can be all facing one direction, etc. I move my desks frequently--sometimes in a large U shape so that we are all a big "group", sometimes with a partner, etc.

I use Really Good Stuff desk trays for their desks (they put their books, folders in there and a plastic shoe box for school supplies). It helps keep their desks neater than if everything is shoved inside.

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I loved having tables
Posted by:Mudge #134223

I have been in the same situation- small room with large numbers.

2 years ago, I had 4 rectangular tables for the kids. I could fit 8 around the tables for whole group work, but I needed extra tables around the room for extra space for bigger projects. Lets see, I put baskets in the middle for community supplies. I had baskets for each work folder: word wall words, chunk folder, and poetry binders. These baskets I kept around teh room in various spots.

Each child kept their communication log in their mailboxes, and that is where they stored their take home folders too, and any mail to take home.

Each child had their own reading bag with response journal. I asked for plastic bins this year from really good stuff to replace bags.

This year after much thought...

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No title
Posted by:JKB #134224

Hi there! I've been teaching 3rd grade for 13 years and I have tried desks, tables, and a combination of both. Personally, I prefer desks. Besides the fact that the children have their own clearly defined space, I like the versatility of being able to configure them into pairs, trios, quads, etc. and get the same effect as a table through groups. I teach in an odd shaped room-pentagon shaped, so I have to be creative as to how I arrange my furniture in the first place. I understand how organization can be a problem-especially with assignments, etc. One thing that I use to help my children keep organized is by providing each student with a clipboard. I give my children numbers and their clipboards are numbered, too. As I pass out a written assignment, the children place them on their clipboards, until it is completed. When...

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Posted by:sfeller #134225

I had the same question since I'm moving from desks to tables this year. I read a ton of the archived posts on this topic, and the people who replied overwhelmingly favored tables over desks. I recently observed a 6th grade classroom that used tables and it worked really well. She had students keep all of their textbooks, etc. in a basket underneath their chairs. This cut back on transition time and messes. She also had the round tables marked into four sections with tape to help with personal space issues, but said this is the first year she's needed the tape. I'm planning on trying something similar this year with my fifth graders.

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Chose desks
Posted by:kathyemery #134226

Last year, I inherited tables, but in August we open at our new site and 4 out of the 6 1st grade teachers changed to double desks. I do a lot of modeling, etc. using my LCD projector in the front of the classroom and with tables I always felt that someone had their back to me. I also use a lot of flexible grouping throughout the day and with desks it is much easier to quickly re-arrange the room to accomodate what we are doing. Finally, my partner teacher and I (we share a work-room) went into the 2nd grade classrooms, where they use desks, and measured and found that in our room configuration there is more usable space with desks than with tables. We went with doubles because there is less movement than with singles. I was worried about the hands in the desks etc., but after observing my classes'...

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No title
Posted by:vateacher #134227

I have tables and I love them. I can group as many or as few students as I want at each spot. I can easily wipe down surfaces and don't have to worry about germs inside desks. The children can't stow any dirty tissues or anything else because there's no where to stow it. I can also control supplies easily because my first graders will play with anything and everything... it's just too tempting! So I have team captains that go to the bookshelf for supplies for each activity we do and put them back when we're done.

I train my children to turn their chairs in the appropriate direction for the overhead, chalkbard or centers. We call it Learning position. I'll say "learning position!" and they turn their chairs and say "5...4...3..2..1!" and get themselves with their chairs turned front, both feet on the floor, hands in...

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Desks or Tables
Posted by:Neena #134228

My first two years I had tables. I did not like tables because I had to store all of their items in tubs or wherever. I truly prefer desks--you just have to practice the rules and procedures at the beginning of the year. We practice with an empty desk from day one... They have a classwork folder to put loose papers in to complete and take home at the end of the day. Also, I teach organization from day one. It takes practice but after a week or two--They know what is expected and do accordingly.

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Not Sure
Posted by:Kendra #134229

I had tables this year and I hated them. They were half haxagon shapes and were very odd to arrange in a workable manner. I hope to have new desks next year but we will see. I think tables would work much better if they were actually rectangles or something more common. I also did not like my tables because I had no place for the students to put their things away, I don't have real cubbies, just makeshift ones on a larger sized bookshelf. So right now desks are looking better to me. Just my thoughts.

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Desks Are For Me!
Posted by:pamnpr #134230

I've taught grades 1 & 2 for the past 9 nine years. This year was the first time I had desks in my room and it was Wonderful! Like Neena mentioned in the previous post the students need to have the practice as to what is expected when using a desk. Each day it was the students responsbility to make sure everything was up off the floor. On Fridays just before school ended the students had to clean out their desk, put their books and folders in the order I expected. Then they would wash and dry off their desks. They did a great job! I would go quickly by and look at each desk and we would leave our class nice and organized to come back to from the weekend. I love the desks because you can change your room around easily. If there is a student(s) that needs to be moved away from...

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