Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website (www.mandygregory.com) and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.
Someone on one of my Facebook groups I am in asked this question. I thought it was such a great, relative question (since we all know teachers plot and plan and decorate over the summer, amiright?). Since I have had a pretty good number of different classrooms and I took lots of pictures between my website and blogging I thought I would share. That and the fact that I went deskless (I just made that up! Take note, Websters!) for a time (so dramatic…cue the suspenseful music…unfortunately, you will most likely be very let down by this post!!! LOL!).
Before I go into the whole deskless debacle (and it was a debacle), I thought I would share my desks over the years. I don’t know why, but it seemed like a good idea when I was gathering pictures! I have pictures from *most* years.
This was in my first class. Awe. Sweet memories. Even back then I loved Diet Dr. Pepper. Somethings never change!!! Including the black stackers. I used them EVERY year. They hold my daily materials- a different stacker for each day. It is like Waldo. See if you can find them in every picture!
This was the year I was in a trailer. I pushed it against the wall to save room. The trailer seemed tiny for 20 some-odd people. I never actually sat at my desk so it worked well enough.
I was so excited to move back into the building this year. AND I had a window! It was a NICE room!!! I decided to push it up against the wall again like I had in the trailer to save room. Even though it was a big room, I had 29 fourth graders that year. It was tight. And very stinky after recess! 😉 I had an old microwave cart turned on the side. I used the top to store “stuff” (I think those are back to school folders for Open House) and put my crate with all my portfolios underneath.
This was the first year I taught second grade. You can see I upgraded from a microwave cart to a filing cart. Do you see the stackers? Behind the desk on the metal cabinet? They are there if you squint! I also had plants. With this black thumb they didn’t last long! I also moved my desk from the wall and made a space for myself. I wasn’t crazy about it. It really was a room hog.
I couldn’t find a picture from 2008. That was my first year at a new school and I guess I was overwhelmed?! This was the first year I went deskless! It was also my first year in third grade!
Here is how I organized my materials. I also had my guided reading table.
Now you can start to see my problem with going deskless. See the piles on either side of the guided reading. Those are papers (I think unfinished work maybe?) and then materials for guided math. Sadly, I am sure I actually tried to tidy up before I took this picture!!! It also created computer issues. I had a hard time finding a place for my laptop since there were no outlets on this side of the room (that whole back wall was a movable divider made out of cork).
This was behind the guided reading table. The blue bins were my guided reading book. Each bin had a different level. The district provided all the awesome books! The green, yellow, and red bins were for each guided reading group. The blue basket is just…crap. Papers and things I needed on hand quickly. That was the problem I had with going deskless. I just had to much “stuff” and nowhere for it to go! It led to lots of piles. Then, the piles made friends and created more piles. It was a vicious cycle.
The next year I decided to
I decided to slightly go back to my room hog ways and get my desk back AND make a little area for me. But, I felt like the footprint was relatively limited and made the best use of space. I loved it because all of my materials were easily within reach for planning and working with students. There were no trips across the rooms for math manipulates, guided reading books, teacher editions, professional reading, copies, pens, or paper because it was all right there. Here is what I did.
I begged our wonderful custodian to find me a parapro desk. These were like unicorns- mythical and very rare. But, he managed to snag one for me! It is like a regular desk, but much smaller and only has drawers on the right side, rather than both sides. It was fine by me.
Then, I stacked a shelf on top, which I already had. I had been using it to store all my “stuff.” Adding the small desk really only added a few extra inches. BUT, those few extra inches were perfect for my laptop and the docking station. I never really sat at the desk and would just undock my laptop and move it right over to my guided reading table.
Behind my table I kept all of my materials I needed on hand on a daily basis.
I got this brilliant idea from Ladybug’s Teacher Files. She even has the little labels for the tool box FREE. You can get them here! This was a great way to store all that little stuff that I needed to get my hands on quickly!!
Here is the rest off all my things behind my guided reading table.
So basically I created a nook that had everything I needed to instruct. It was AWESOME. I loved being able to roll over to my desk and grab a book and then rolling over to my DRA and then administering right there at the table!
So, are you a desk kinda teacher or you a wild deskless one?