Why classroom desks are arranged as tables

When parents see my classroom for the first time, many ask why the kids have their desks arranged as tables.   There are many reasons:

> With large class sizes and big desks (ours are 36 inches long!), the desks don’t fit in the classroom any other way.
> Many classrooms have learning centers or tables for small groups to meet with the teachers, and these resources  won’t fit in the classroom when desks are arranged in rows.
> Today’s educational emphasis is on cooperative learning, and tables suit this style.
> Grouping kids in tables often helps behavior: I give team points for good behavior and reward high-achieving teams.
> Grouping kids in tables makes supply distribution easier.  Since we do many projects with art supplies, math manipulatives, science materials, etc. it makes sense to streamline the process.

You might think that sitting at tables looks crowded and confining, but my experience is that kids like small spaces.  When my students listen to a story in the center of the classroom, they crowd together.  One day when I set my class  up at cafeteria tables for a study hall, we used about 20 linear feet of table for 28 students—the kids didn’t want another table so they could spread out.  Kids like to pile up like puppies!

Parents: seeing tables instead of rows may look strange to you, but it’s what your child expects.  Sixth grade often is an exception, where teachers sometimes arrange the room in rows to help students prepare for junior high.

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Posted in Classroom Management,Classroom setup,Tips for Parents by Corey Green @ May 6, 2010


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