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Tables or desks?
Old 04-04-2008, 09:58 PM
 
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Which do you use? Which do you like better? Please tell me the advantages and disadvantages in your opinion, as I may have the option of switching over from two-person desks to tables next year. I teach fifth grade.


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I prefer desks
Old 04-04-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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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 flexibility in room layout
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Old 04-05-2008, 03:44 AM
 
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I like the flexibility of desks. They are a lot easier to me than tables. I work in a very small space and I have this large table. It is awkward and does not lend itself for change. So, my room remains the same year after year. I hate it. With desks you can shift them around or change positions.
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Desks
Old 04-05-2008, 03:55 AM
 
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I also use desks with my first graders and prefer them to tables. I have arranged the desks 4 or 5 different ways so far this year. I couldn't have done that with tables. Also, as far as storage goes, I wouldn't want to waste instructional time passing out books, etc. every time we needed them.
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Tables!
Old 04-05-2008, 04:09 AM
 
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I teach 5th also, and switched to tables about 5 years ago. I wouldn't go back to desks. I got rid of mine too! We do a lot of co-op learning, and moving to different tables ALL the time. So their seats change daily and hourly! It makes if more community oriented, cause they can't say, Hey that's my desk.... Infact, there are optional tables throughout the room that when we read silently or take tests, some kids just automatically move to a different table. No fighting, nothing. Some kids just prefer to be alone, others near someone. We use cloth pouches on the back of our chairs to stow our stuff, and there are bookshelves placed around the room to hold our books.


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Desks!
Old 04-05-2008, 04:36 AM
 
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My sixth graders have brand new desks that we chose together...and I set them up in pods so we have the flexibility and advantages of a table. We like that they each have the privacy of their belongings in a desk AND we like to reconfigure the room when need be.
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Old 04-05-2008, 04:47 AM
 
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I teach first grade. Through donorschoose.org, I just got 5 new tables that should arrive soon. I can't wait. I hate desks for the little ones. They're always losing things in there and they just can't organize themselves with desks. I already bought storage for all their stuff last year (from good ol' Wal Mart) and I am ready! I know my flexibility will be thwarted a bit, but I am ok with that. I'll just be more creative! I am not sure I would want tables in fifth grade, though.
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Tables!
Old 04-05-2008, 05:00 AM
 
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I say TABLES!

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 tables, you need to think about your floor space carefully as you will probably use it more as well.

Also, the kids MUST have some sort of cubby or locker to store their things in! I have community supplies in my room, but you will want easy access to their things if you don't do community supplies.

Also, a suggestion: keep ALL the science journals for example, in one bin. Just pass them out when needed. Otherwise you will have 25 kids getting up at once to get their science journals from their lockers. It would be a mess. My kids only keep their reading and writer's workshop stuff in their cubbies along with lunch. Coats and bags are hung up in the cloak room. I keep all other materials in storage containers for each subject- including their portfolios, science journals, social studies books, etc.

The only problem I can see with tables is separating kids during state testing. During tests, like I said, I have kids who want to work on the floor... but this might not be possible with your test.
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:18 AM
 
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I'm a tables girl! I've used both. Tables to me make the room look neater, are easier to maintain and clean, and allow for more hands-on activities. When you put out math manipulatives, nothing falls through the cracks, they don't slide around all day like desks, there's nothing inside they can play with without you knowing, I could go on and on!
I think the kids learn to be more cooperative, also.
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Tables or Desks
Old 04-05-2008, 02:22 PM
 
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I think it just depends on your style of teaching. I know I would hate tables. My students like having their own "space." For many of them it is the only place in the world they can call their own. I do some group work, but probably not as much as a lot of teachers. I like having desks - that way when I want the table effect I can quickly have them move into groups. When I want them all to listen to me I can quickly move them back into rows.


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Tables
Old 04-05-2008, 04:05 PM
 
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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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Desks
Old 04-05-2008, 04:58 PM
 
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I have my desks in clusters, so they are similar to tables in that regard. I do not like cubbies, and it would be another piece of furniture to have in my small, croweded classroom. I also do not like the supply baskets, they always look messy to me on top of the tables. I also have children who are excited about having desks after having tables in earlier grades. It's a personal preference, I guess.
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tables
Old 04-05-2008, 08:28 PM
 
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I was so excited that I was able to trade my large desks for tables a few weeks ago!! It has been the best thing to happen to my classroom ever! We do so much more movement and regrouping. It has made differentiation a breeze! Also, my classroom feels much more open and flexible.

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 04-05-2008, 10:29 PM
 
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For 5th, I like desks. I liked tables better for K-1 (with large buckets of supplies for sharing in the middle of each table), but for 5th, I prefer the flexibility of desks. I have 2 seaters as well, and I like that I can arrange them in groups or in rows or whatever I want. We started state testing this past week, and I was able to better arrange the seats for testing. With tables, you will need an additional place (cubbies?) to store individual materials. I don't have that kind of room in my classroom (or the cubbies to put stuff in- they are already filled with books). Even though we used desks, we switch around quite often for activities throughout the day, and it goes well and no one seems super attached to his or her seat.
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2 person desks/tables
Old 04-06-2008, 05:39 AM
 
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I think I have the best of both worlds. I teach 2nd grade in a very old, traditionally shaped, small classroom. While I actually call them desks, they are a rectangular table with 2 cubbies hanging in the center underneath. One cubby is on top of the other. The kids sit on either side of the cubbies. The tables are all the same height so they can be grouped...usually for 4 or 6 kids. There are lots of different configurations that can be used.

I do keep a community caddy on top of the desk for the students to keep pencils, erasers and sharpeners and also ind reading books. This way it is no big deal for them to get a pencil or put it away. My little ones know what belongs in a desk and what doesn't. I work very hard to teach them to keep papers in folders so that their cubbies look neat.

I love the 2 person concept and I really like the idea of being able to group the kids or if needed separate them (like I had to do this year). Even when separated the kids still have a partner. We do not have room for big cubby centers, or more bookshelves.

I don't know how this would work with older kids. Maybe I would appreciate tables if I had a huge room...but I don't.
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Tables for me!
Old 04-06-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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I agree that it has to do with your own style of teaching.
For me . . . all of my direct instruction happens when the students are at the carpet. They only go to the tables to complete their independent work. They don't always sit in the same place. For example, during math they sit with their math partner and during readers' workshop they sit with their "talking partner." Students move easily from table to table (depending on their job) because they don't have an assigned spot. Community materials are placed either in middle of their tables (pencils, erasers, crayons, glue) or around the room where everyone has access. I just love the flexibility that tables give.
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Both
Old 04-06-2008, 03:54 PM
 
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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??
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Tables!
Old 04-06-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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We are departmentalized so I greatly prefer the ease of using tables. I don't have complaints of "the other class was in my desk, took my pencil/eraser/lunch money...." I use a basket for each table with pencils, writer's notebooks and ind. reading book.
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Desks
Old 04-06-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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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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have to share my bright idea...
Old 04-08-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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I have desks although I would prefer tables. I came up with a solution to my desks sliding around and the need to constantly straighten rows. I put a piece of adhesive velcro (the scratchy side) on the bottom of the leg. It holds to the carpet so it's harder for kids to push their desk forward. Our rows have stayed perfect for days!
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Desks
Old 02-24-2009, 12:19 PM
 
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I think that the velcro is an excellent idea. I never thought of that. I often have difficulty with my desks moving around. I like having a table in the classroom for group work and for helping students individually. I recently discovered that keeping my desks in a U shape enables me to see everything that is going on. I notice things that I did not notice before. At first I did not think I would like it, but it works wonders. Thanks for the tip!
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