Ultimate Battle: Tables vs Desks

Now to be fair… their are benefits to both. Plus you can turn those desks together to make groupings or “tables” if you’d like. In the beginning of my career, I was at a school that ONLY had desks… even for Kinders…

If you can’t tell, I am NOT a fan of Desks! Ok, ok – you can put all their supplies inside, keeping your shelves clear in order to use the space for the PLETHORA of other things every Kindergarten class has. But I don’t know if you know 5 year olds, but it was a constant battle of “Leave the things inside your desk alone”, “Just because you’re sitting in their seat for centers does NOT mean you get to go rummaging in their desk!” and more and more.

YES, Tables have their own troubles, where to keep the supplies that are easily accessible to little ones so that you aren’t wasting ALL. YOUR. TIME. passing out things, etc! But once you figure that out, the collaboration and teamwork within table atmosphere of we SHARE everything (and by share I mean, there is enough of EVERY color of crayon for everyone, and enough pencils and enough, well… EVERYTHING!)

Many times in Kindergarten there needs to be an illusion of sharing!

Bitmoji Image

So if you choose tables (or are “stuck” with them)… here are few organizational tips to help you (and your students) manage your space more successfully!

I use these star trays (I picked them up from Target around 4th of July, they are actually Chip & Dip Trays and PERFECTLY fit small “to go” buckets (similar to this) that I fill with crayons and the center larger bucket (similar to this) is where all the pencils go. See below! I place them throughout my classroom, for easy access during work time.

Let’s talk about pencils and crayons a little bit…. I’m sure you HATE when you have to sharpen pencils All. The. Time. Well I know I do… so I use the Jumbo Pencils from Lakeshore Learning because I have to sharpen them less often (#winning) and at the beginning of the year the kids DESTROY the erasers… which means I don’t have to deal with eraser issues for a few months. I used to give kids pencils with NO erasers at the beginning of the year (Own your mistakes kid! Things happen… no big deal, cross it off and lets move on), but finding pencils that don’t have an eraser and you don’t have to sharpen every day was harder, and harder. And when I replace the pencils mid-year, they treat the erasers like GOLD!

Also, I use Large Crayons for several reasons: #1 I HATE broken crayons… and with the larger crayons they do not break as easily or as often. And let me tell you when a kid comes up to me sad about the broken crayon… I just tell them, wow look at that, now you have TWO crayons, cool. And that easily solves that problem… except for that one time a kids went and broke all. the. crayons. at his table. Welp… I solved that by putting the broken crayons in a bag, that was exclusively his to use, while everyone else got new crayons for the table… He wasn’t such a fan of the broken crayons after that, and took MUCH better care of them after a week of using the broken ones. And #2 I can buy them in a class pack, I replace them one more time (in January, mid-year) and that pack lasts me the entire year. I DO buy additional Large Crayons in Pink, Gray, and White, for the beginning of the year when I teach about colors. I’ll be honest, the additional colors are a bit more expensive and I only provide them at the beginning of the year, I do not replace them mid-year. But anytime I write a grant for supplies, I usually throw a pack (or two) of each color in there.

Another way I organize is by having specific places for easy student access to materials. After the first 8 weeks of school (where we learn how to do EVERYTHING in my classroom… and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!) there wont be a time where ALL my kids need the SAME supply. I do Daily 5 (I’ll do a post about this later!) and students will be able to gather the supplies they need quickly and easily that I have strategically placed around the room for easy flow & NO traffic jams!

Students have book boxes where they keep all of their Read by Myself (Independent Reading) books. I wrote a grant for book boxes from Lakeshore Learning, but fair warning, they are expensive! $35 for 6! I’ve had them for YEARS though. Here is another Highly Rated option that’s way more affordable, check them out here. I HIGHLY recommended getting students book bins, it allows them ownership over their independent reading time.

I also have a display case where student can easily find & retrieve their writing journals and math journals (in the first large picture, on the back wall under the W & X). I use different “center” bins organized around the room for easily access to Math by Myself, Math with Someone, Word Work Activities and Puzzles.

It’s all about ORGANIZING your space so that the KIDS can (and will) put things back where they belong! You see in the picture above I do something similar for my Math Manipulatives also. I leave the bin blank, but put the labels on the drawers so we can easily find what we need! For my other bins, I use a similar labeling system as my large library. I label the bin with a picture and the words/number and then place the same label inside drawer/space the materials go in. These bins are filled with different games/activities depending on the month, skill, etc. I’ll go over this in more detail in another post.

While my classroom is VERY organized, during activity time it looks like a HOT MESS, lol. But when I click on the GoNoodle (I use this to signal its clean up time), you see all of my students hustling to clean up their space and put it back where it belongs, quickly! And of course this is not with out practice… and more practice… and oops we put these in the wrong spots… lets practice again.

And while I LOVE tables vs desks…. I must admit to only having 3 kid tables in my room… and 2 student desks, lol. I do flexible seating in my classroom, which I will explain in a future post.

As always, if you have any questions or anything to add, please leave a comment! I hope some of my ranting has helped give you some insight on some of my very thought out choices within my classroom!

Published by KinderKidatHeart

Hi! My name is Katie Friedl and I have taught Kindergarten in Chicago for 13 years. It is not always easy, but its worth it! I will be writing about by tips and tribulations about teaching K in Chicago. Stay tuned to be inspired (hopefully... crossing my fingers) and probably even get a little giggle... at my expense I'm sure!

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