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New desks question

Classroom Management 


Senior Member
We lost our building to a fire year before last. Our new building is supposed to be ready around spring break, and we will be moving as soon as it's ready.

I teach 2nd grade. We are getting trapezoid shaped tables for each student. The table may have a small basket screwed to the underside of the table. I asked where the kids are supposed to put their books, and my P said in their backpack on the back of their chair. I am thinking that might be a classroom management nightmare. Suggestions? I can keep science and social studies on a shelf and pass out as needed. Reading books, not so much. I thought about putting the reading books in a crate for each table group, but worried that the kids would take the wrong book home and then someone might lose a book not checked out to them.

Also, should I start whatever new procedures at the beginning of the year? Or just cross that bridge when I come to it?


Senior Member
Buying those tables along with not having student storage seems very short-sighted.

I think if you have the room, I would get a Sterlite 3-Drawer tower (the clear plastic ones) for each table group. The bottom drawer would be reading books; the middle drawer would be supplies, and the top drawer would be folders/notebooks.

I would get mailing labels and put the kids' names on the outside of the reading books, so the kids would be more likely to see their names. Remind them how important it is to take home THEIR reading books.


Senior Member
Can you get cubbies? Is that part of the furniture order? Lots of teachers use tables, and cubbies are how the organize much of each student's needs.

I have seen these classroom pics where they use a bookcase at each group of tables/desks for organization. I think it looks great. My room, however, does not have that kind of room in it.
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Senior Member
I really like the bookshelf idea. Pretty sure I would have to sneak them in during the dark of the night. They are saying we can't take any additional furniture into the building.


Senior Member
I would invest in 1 or 2 magazine boxes per student. IKEA has inexpensive cardboard ones. I saw someone had reinforced those with colored duct tape.
I don't understand why your district won't let you have more furniture in the room. Are you allowed to have a teacher reading chair (like a rocker or something)?


Senior Member
I would not want to have them keep their books in their backpacks on the back of their chairs. The backpacks are too bulky and take up too much room, make it difficult to slide the chairs in/out, can be heavy and cause the chair to tip over and can make it difficult to navigate around your classroom. Did they forget to plan a place for children too store backpacks (like a coatroom, hooks, some type of lockers or shelf) when they built the building?

I like Kpatt's idea. I tried using chair pockets this year in my kindergarten classroom. I liked them. The chair pockets held-4 different folders (To give you an idea that the folders were not thin, here is what they held: One held their math journal, a stapled packet of student pages from math book and math tools like counting strip, ten frames. Another held their daily writing journal with a writer's checklist, portable word wall, themed word banks and works in progress. The third one held reading materials and phonics materials. The fourth one held any papers/projects that they were working on during center time.) There was a large dry erase board, a consumable handwriting book, and several plastic sheet protectors with worksheets in the chair pocket, too. On Fridays, we kept their library books in there so they wouldn't have to go to their backpacks to get them. They also kept a zippered pouch with their supplies in there-crayons, pencils, glue sticks, erasers, dry erase marker and erasers in their chair pockets. So chair pockets might work for you depending on the size or weight of the reading books. Get sturdy ones with deep pockets. When I taught first grade we also had hardbound science and social studies books. I don't think my chair pockets could hold those, too. Since we didn't use those every day, if you have them, I would probably store them on a shelf somewhere.

In kindergarten, I also have cubbies. My students store their art shirts and change of clothing in those. Maybe you could ask for something like that. Your students could store their books and other items normally stored in a desk in there. My cubbies are on wheels and are easy to move around or turn if I want. You can have them turned forwards for students to put/take out items. Then you can turn them around if you want to put a chart, pocket chart, activity on the back so it is multi-functional.


Senior Member
We are supposed to have cubbies in the room for coats and backpacks. I think when they decided things for this new school, someone tried to take the plans for the high school and just write elementary on it. Then they added a few things we might need. I know as a cost cutting measure, we will not have lockers. I know we are not allowed to hot glue or staple into the walls. There will be a small strip in each room that we can staple into. I am not sure how strict they plan on being with furniture, but when we move, there will be people saying what we can and can't take in the new building. I can't have the $180 chair my mom bought specifically for my classroom. I am not supposed to take my lamps either. I get migraines from the flourescent lighting, so I plan on getting a doctor's note. Oh, and we are supposed to be throwing a bunch of our personal stuff in our rooms out. I have no idea how I am going to decorate. My room is currently Texas Tech themed with teddy bears spread through out.

I need to quit thinking about the move. Between the move and our new appraisal system, my anxiety is working on over drive. And I still have a month left of summer.


Senior Member
We have those desks in our 4th and 5th grade classrooms. I personally don't like them (and I think those teachers aren't fans, either). You're right, they don't hold a lot because of their shape. But at least those two grades have lockers and switch classes so there is less need to store much in the desks. You also have to think about how you will set up your classroom since you can't line them up due to their shape.
You will have to use shelves or cubbies to store supplies. If you group the desks then you can put a rolling cart (or similar) in the middle (I'm thinking like a letter "C"). I wouldn't want the backpacks anywhere near my students' desks. I am lucky to have cubbies in the hall for backpacks, lunch boxes and jackets. Hopefully, you will have a few days to play around with the setup before the kids come back from break. Good luck!


Senior Member
This is what we get to spend our spring break doing. I hope we can start moving in right after the kids leave on Friday. I was thinking a rolling drawer set but I also like the little shelf idea. I am a straight row type person, so this is going to be a huge adjustment for me.


Senior Member
2 together

A colleague had those one year and he put them into pairs. He had cuccies for materials, and seat sacks. I think the sear sacks were from lakeshore learning. You can do DonorsChoose projects over the summer and if they are funded you get the materials when school opens. Enjoy your new building


Senior Member
Chair Pockets

You can get chair pockets from School Specialty catalog, Really Good Stuff catalog or if you can sew, some people make their own. There are a variety of sizes and styles. I have seen one that has two pockets-a smaller one at the top for students to keep their pencils and stuff in. My students had a separate zippered pouch for supplies. That way they could take their supplies with them when they worked on the carpet or at a center. We have tables in kindergarten so changing the seating arrangements was as easy as moving chairs to different tables or moving the chair pocket to a different chair.


Senior Member
Science/Soc.Studies textbooks on the floor

I have round tables, BUT as far as these textbooks, when we start using them, they come off of the shelves and are stacked in the center under the table.


Senior Member
I had those desks at one time and hated them due to their propensity for staying dirty looking. They were gray and silver. We had a cubby area and chair pockets. Chair pockets(Really Good Stuff) came in handy for paperback books and folders. I put a pencil parking area on top of the desk(velcro) and the student small pencilbox went into the small storage area. Small storage really means less mess and clutter.


New Member

So i have the traps for my firsties. What i did was 1 milk crate under each table (push 2 togeter to make it a hex and i only seat 4 or 5 tops at each grouping) and i put 3-4 magazine holders (even cardboard ones from ikea work great) in each one. One is for math workbook, one is for our readers, one is for work in progress folder, etc.

Now so you dont have everyone runny to get their stuff, each week one student from each group is the table captain and it is their job to get the folders or books from the crate and return it.
As far as glues, pencis etc, my tram does it two ways - i use a bin - around 12x12 size and inly a couple inches deep, and all pencil boxes and pouches are neatly stacked. Another teacher has a set of large maibox cubbies that the kids store that kind of supplies in.

And to keep it running smooth i award table points during the week (table capt puts the talky marks on the board)and on monday morning i announce the table winner and we actually have a trophy that sits on thier desk. I occasionally bring in 1 munchkin for each of the table members too. Kidfos love that trophy! Monday is 1 pt, tuesday is 2, etc. so kids can have a huge come back at the end of the week.


Junior Member
I only have tables, no desks, in my classroom. Storage was definitely an issue.

I had a bookshelf where I put magazine holders, one for each student. We called it their "locker" and that's where they put their independent reading books and any other personal things or things that didn't belong in their other duotangs, like coloring pages or crossword puzzles they worked on in their "spare" time. It worked really well and was very easy to manage!