Keeping student desks in the classroom desk arrangement you intended throughout the day is nearly impossible. Students are constantly moving the seats, bumping them, and scooting them around the classroom.
Having desk organization where you aren’t personally always having to straighten up the rows or desk groupings is actually an easier fix than you might think!
7 am: Walk into the classroom and notice how the student desks are in straight rows or pods.
8 am: Students walk in to begin the day. As they are making their way to their desks, Monica bumps into Taylor and backs into her desk.
9 am: Small group work involves turning desks to face a partner.
11 am: Math assessment means desks go to rows facing the front of the room.
2 pm: Johnny is working under his desk as his choice location for independent reading. He knocks into the corner leg when he crawl out form underneath it.
4 pm: Students have left for the day and you look at the once straightened desks which are now resembling a demolition derby rink at the county fair.
Does this sound like your day? Even when I was constantly straightening the desks throughout the day (when they left for lunch, during specials, as I was walking through monitoring small group work), it never seemed as though the desks were ever in line.
I decided that I should enlist the help of the students and make it easy for them to get our classroom organization back on track, while also making it easier on me so I wasn’t in charge of it at all.
You might want to check out:
Need some new ideas for organizing your classroom environment? This 326 page digital book has you covered!
Includes 50 ad-free articles from Organized Classroom, including topics such as:
- Guided Reading and Lesson Plan Organization
- Options for Making Extra Space in your Classroom
- Easy DIY Projects for Making Mundane Office Supplies Cute Again
- Morning Math Suggestion that Kids will be Begging to do
- New Ways to Use Old Supplies
- A Quick Tech Tutorial that will Save You Money on Classroom Decor
…and even more!
Includes 9 additional freebie files! No need to enter in an email address for each one separately – just click and go!
Student Desk Straightening Hack
A quick tip about how to keep student desks in place throughout the day in your classroom!
Classroom desk arrangements can easily be skewed as students are in and out of them all day long. Learn an easy way to remedy the situation without resorting to you having to straighten them all day and after school!
Check out the video and transcript below:
“Hi everyone. This is Charity Preston from Organized Classroom and here is today’s quick tip of the day:
I know when I was in a classroom, there were lots of times that the desks were completely messed up whenever the kids left at the end of the day.
Here’s a really quick idea that you can use to remedy that situation.
You can either use masking tape, clear tape, or you could use colored dots.
Take a little piece of the tape or one of the colored dots and put it down on the carpet right underneath one of the student desk legs. If you have desks and pods you can put it in all four corners.
If they’re in rows, just put them on maybe each of the edge lines.
I would definitely make sure you get that okayed by your custodians or your principal, so that they don’t freak out if they see tape or something sticky on the floor.
With the dots it’s a little easier for the students to see. If you have groups of four and each student desk is a different color, that makes it very, very easy.
These don’t stick very well on the floor though so you might want to put a piece of clear packing tape over the top of them so that way they really stick. You will have to replace these once in a while as well as the tape with regular use.”
How to arrange classroom desks
No matter what grade you teach, you’ll always have behavior management issues with certain students sitting next to one another.
There will either be talking, goofing off, or students just being mean to each other.
Depending on your teaching style, the best seating chart tool might just be trial and error.
You can minimize talking by:
- Placing boys and girls together depending on the age. That probably won’t matter with Kindergarteners, but by upper elementary, students tend to travel with same sex friends more than not.
- Perhaps try and group different abilities together, that way students are able to help or encourage another in the class. Or try and group same ability students together to see how that goes. There really is no right or wrong way when you are testing out what works best for your particular students.
- Those children who might struggle to see or need a closer eye will probably require close proximity to you throughout the day, so take into account where you typically spend the majority of your instructional day and adjust those students’ seats as needed.
- It is important to move desk assignments and/or arrangements about every 6 weeks. If you are moving them more frequently, students are not able to form closer relationships with those students who aren’t already friends. Give them time to be nurtured.
- On the flip side, if you leave students in the same spot much longer than 6 weeks, they tend to get bored and behavior issues could flare up. Just moving a student from one side of the room to another offers a fresh perspective on the space and may improve attentiveness too.
Be creative when thinking about your desk seating template as every different group of students in a school year can be vastly different in how they learn in particular desk arrangements.
Small Classroom Desk Solutions
Have a super small classroom? I have been there. Think small boy’s locker room converted to a classroom that was shared with 3 other intervention specialists. Cozy was definitely a word to describe it.
Some solutions you can try:
Use alternative seating as much as possible and push the desks against the wall. This leaves open floor space in the middle of the room. Students can use clipboards as a writing surface instead. Only use the desks when taking a test.
Make sure any other classroom furniture is being utilized for multipurposes. Use a tri-fold science fair display board as a center that you can easily fold up and store when not in use. Repurpose your teacher desk as your reading group area. Anything that can be taken out or used for something else so you don’t have duplicate learning areas will allow you to create a much more open area.
How do you make sure your students help to keep their desks straightened in your classroom? We would love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!