Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So You Got Rid of Your Desks. NOW WHAT? (some advice)

What can you do if you want to get rid of your desks?

First, I didn't get rid of all my desks because once in a while students like an individual place to work.

Second, if you do decide to take the desks out of your classroom, don't have them removed from your school.  Put your desks in storage instead in case your experiment does not work the way you expect.  Also, if you happen to leave your school the next year, the teacher replacing you might appreciate having the desks put back in.

Third, don't remove the desks from your classroom unless you have a plan (a loose one even) of where you want kids to work.  I had my risers (below) as my alternate learning furniture, but I also have long counters by the window and sink, rolling storage trolleys with counters on top, stand up easels and bulletin boards on which to write, the floor, small group tables (some collapsible, like a card table), etc.

A lot of teachers, especially primary teachers, have no desks but tables
My friend K has a number of different work and sitting surfaces including choir risers, a loft bed, exercise balls, a couch, and a number of inviting places to work.  
The choir risers and tables raises an interesting opportunity: see what is already around your school.  This one teacher I saw once had some campfire benches she used in her group meeting area.  The benches were used for a school play and were just sitting in storage. 

If you do decide to go with non-traditional learning places, you will have to also think about storage and what students will write on (you know, if they have no desks).  The writing surface is the part I am rethinking right now.  I will write more about writing surfaces in future blogs as I continue to work through the process.

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