Every year, teachers and administrators refine the programs that will best serve their students. They consider new ways to teach material, new classroom layouts, and new activities.
One of the most important considerations each year centers around what furniture to provide for students. This decision matters, because it determines what kinds of classroom layouts and activities will be possible over the course of the coming year. Do your programs require group activity tables, so that children can work on projects together? Do you need to clear the classroom floor from time to time — and therefore will be best served with stacking chairs?
The biggest pieces of furniture in your classrooms will ordinarily be student desks. These desks range from large, round activity tables to trapezoid shapes to individual children’s desks with drawers.
To help you decide what school desks best match the activities you’ll be performing in the classroom, we’ve outlined some common choices and their popular uses in the following section.
Group Activity Tables
An important part of child development is the ability to work in groups. Tables that allow for a minimum of 3 to 4 students are a wonderful way to introduce children to collaborative projects. They also let teachers divide classrooms into small groups at specified reading levels, or that focus on developing a specific skill.
There are a number of group activity tables to choose from with a variety of shapes:
Rectangular & Circular Tables
Rectangular or circular activity tables are a great standard choice for students. They allow children to gather around and work on reading and writing projects together, or to participate in a current science theme and perform lab experiments. When in doubt, if you plan on using group projects in your curriculum, these tables are a perfect default.
Rectangular tables make more efficient use of space, and you can place them along walls or combine them into groups more easily. However, circular tables are better when you’ll have students all standing around the table, or if you don’t know how many students you’ll need per table — in these situations, rectangular tables can push some students out towards the edges or can be awkward to fit odd numbers around.
Trapezoidal tables have the unique ability to combine into desktop groups. For example, combine four trapezoid tables to mimic a rectangular table, or combine two to create a circular shape. With all this flexibility, you might just want to get a set of trapezoid tables and combine them to mimic other activity table shapes in the classroom!
Kidney & Horseshoe Tables
These tables are quite similar to one another. Horseshoe tables are shaped exactly what they sound like, while a kidney table is like a horseshoe table with most of the center filled in. This creates a much wider center of the table.
Both tables are used widely as child desk solutions for reading and other teacher-led small group collaborations.
If you are running a kindergarten class and reading with a small group of students, the horseshoe shape allows you to sit in the center of the group and easily reach any student. For this reason, the horseshoe shape helps you work with a group of students each working on individual work — for example, if all the students are working on homework problems at different paces, the horseshoe means you can work with each student without needing to move around the classroom.
However, the kidney shape can be much better for leading collaborations when you have teaching materials or are holding up a book to read. The filled-in center gives you plenty of space to stack paper and pencils, or to hold up a book so the students can all clearly see and read along with you.
Individual Student Desks for Kids
When your kids need student desks that aren’t for group activities, you’ll want to turn to the standard child’s individual desk. These desks are best suited for quiet time and thrive when students work on independent projects. They can also keep classroom structures when you teach with a whiteboard or projector and need all students to face the same way towards the front of the classroom. For unruly classrooms, individual desks can help keep students focused.
We carry several varieties of individual kids desks that can suit any classroom, including:
Advantage Open Front Student Desk
Storage can be utilized or it can be turned toward a wall or toward another traditional student desk for pair or small group work.
Virco 9400BR Series Chair Desk
This option has a fixed chair attached with storage that can be clearly viewed set under the chair itself.
Virco ZUMA Adjustable Height Trapezoid Student Desk
This choice can be customized to size of growing students and can be partnered with other desks for group work.
Teacher Desks & Tables
Some spaces get downright tight with all of the furniture involved. School students are a very active lot and school teachers are constantly up and busy engaging with students and working in various areas of the room. Removing the teacher desk will create more room for active learning, a key feature in a responsive classroom. Many find that a nice clean table and a little storage space is all they need to work well within their space.
Try replacing your dedicated teacher’s desk with a specialty table, and then customize to your needs with skirting and inner baskets.