Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bright Ideas: Floor Desks Replace Furniture!

A couple of years ago I had a beautifully decorated room and...28 KIDS! While complaining to my assistant principal that we didn't even have enough room for centers, she said to me, "Take out some furniture." SO I DID. Yes friends, the next Monday pieces of furniture—all of my tables—were in the hall. 

So here's my bright idea for this month: Floor desks!

Don't get the idea that just because we don't have desks that it's all wild and crazy up in room 301. No ma'am. We've got structure. Here's how it works.

We keep our boxes in our cubbies. Each box holds the child's crayon box, pencils, dry-erase marker, eraser, scissors and glue.

When it's time to work, a child gets her box and white board to use as her desktop. In some of the pictures you'll see smaller whiteboards. Lucky me, this year a mom bought a new class set of these 11 x 16 boards. She got them at a great price from The Markerboard People (

When we are ready to take a brain break, the kids just push their desks to the side.

Here's what my room looked like with all of the furniture and also how it looks this year. You can see we do still have some tables for centers. Does that make you feel better?

So if you and your kids are feeling crowded, my bright idea comes from my principal. "TAKE OUT THE FURNITURE!"

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  1. Wow, Jayne - that is brave!! I really need to free up some space, and this might just be the ticket. We'll see if I'm brave enough to do it! haha :) Thanks for sharing.

    First Grade Fairytales

  2. I love this idea, Jayne! I took the plunge and got rid of MOST of my desks this year too. We work on the floor A LOT and the extra space has been wonderful to have. Even my custodian is happy because there's less furniture in the room to clean around, lol! Great idea!=)

    A+ Firsties

  3. I have always wanted to try this!!! Love the foam squares idea because it gives them a space that is movable!

    Jennifer with Simply Kinder

    1. About those foam squares...I have 26 kids and a rug for 20. They have worked pretty well. Except I threw out the one a child peed on and also the one a child poked holes in with his pencil! LOL. Wish I had another rug. Smiles, JG

  4. I have wanted to do this for years, but we don't have any storage room in our building, so we have to keep our furniture! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

  5. I have been considering doing this as my classroom is probably half the size of yours and there is no room for anything. We trip over tables, chairs and have to move easels to get to things, and we have to walk all the way around the room to line up since tables are in the way. I have small trapezoid tables that only a couple can sit at so I have to bring in many tables. Problem is we are departmentalized so I have another class come to my room for an hour so I'm not sure how to accommodate them with supplies. I'm also not sure how the other teachers and principal will feel about it as we are to teach the students to sit up straight in their chair to write and also sitting in a chair will get them ready for first grade.

    1. Lee Ann, Thanks for your comment. Your description of your room sounds just like the way it was in my room when I had tables and 28 kids. (The picture makes my room look bigger than it really is, I think.) I have a few thoughts...WHY do the children have to sit up straight in the chair to work? Is that how grown ups do THEIR best work?! I know I do my best thinking when I am comfortable. Also, kinders should be able to learn like kinders. They can learn like first graders when they are developmentally a year older. (You can tell I get a little feisty about keeping it developmentally appropriate for our kiddos!) My kids keep their supplies in a clear box in their cubbies. Maybe your guests could walk in with their "learning boxes." Note that when we have centers, we do have several groups at tables and some on the floor. When we do art projects, some people go to the tables and some stay on the floor. Sometimes we just make a big circle on the floor with the paper supplies etc in the middle. You can see how that looks on the video on my May 21, 2014 post. My kids eat snack on the floor as well. Yes, we have some spilled water bottles from time to time, but we have that at tables as well. My kids get their own snacks and keep working. Hope that helps! Be brave. Let me know if you try it. Smiles, JG

    2. So I'm getting ready for a new school year and I am going to try the alternative seating. I'm moving to a different room which is not much bigger than where I was last year. I have a 30 seat rug that takes up practically the whole room so there is limited space for tables. My one concern is that we do Fundations and it teaches them to sit in proper writing position for handwriting. I don't mind them sitting on their floor to write, but for accountability for the program, I have to have them sit in seats. But I won't have enough seats at tables for all 22 kids. We'll work it out, I guess. Thank you for the ideas! I'll let you know how things turn out during the year with the new set-up.

  6. Something else I thought of :)... do you do art projects on the floor? I am thinking about the glue and the mess that comes with art. We also have snack time and am wondering about the food mess that some kids always make.

    1. Lee Ann, Thanks for your comments. Can you have some tables just for the official handwriting tasks? Sometimes when we do art projects we go to the tables. Sometimes some people choose to stay on the floor and some go to the tables. Sometimes we just sit in a circle and make a giant mess in the middle! Here is a video of that:
      Crazy but fun! Do what works for you. :)

  7. This is AWESOME! I'm really thinking of going deskless. I LOVE how you have all of their supplies in a bin. My firsties have other things in their desks - folders, journals, and 2 binders. What would you suggest I do with those items?
    Thank you!