How to Choose a Classroom Desk
Classroom desk come in a wide variety of styles. Some are shaped to facilitate collaborative layouts, while others have a classic open front design and a roomy book box.
Some teachers choose trapezoid desks, which fit together to form small groups for collaboration. These desks have adjustable legs that accommodate students of varying sizes and ages.
A combination desk provides students with a table and chair in one. This classroom furniture configuration is a great choice for teachers who want to give students the versatility of a chair and desk without having to worry about students consistently scooting their chairs into and out of the desks every time they move.
Combination desks are often designed in unique shapes that make them easy to fit together for collaborative study or group projects. They're also typically made in a variety of heights to accommodate kids and teens at different grade levels and sizes. Some are even on wheels, making it easy for students to quickly re-position their seating to suit their learning needs.
Some schools are starting to phase out the traditional desk and chair combo that's been in use for decades, and in favor of school furniture that allows students more flexibility in how they arrange themselves for collaboration, team-based assignments or teaching with computers. For example, Jeffrey Zullo, a social studies teacher and department chairman at a district in Wisconsin, says he prefers tall combination desks that allow him to approach students and speak with them eye-to-eye without having to crouch down. He's less of a fan of what he calls wobbly short stools, which are fine for collaborative spaces but uncomfortable for middle- and high-school-sized kids in regular classrooms.
Two-student desks are perfect for collaborative learning environments and work well with traditional classroom chairs. They can be paired up in rows or placed side by side to create a single row of student desks. This layout allows students to collaborate together and still see the teacher if they need to. It also lets teachers easily walk around the classroom to monitor individual student progress or help with assignments.
Many schools are experimenting with new desk arrangements that encourage group work and collaboration. For example, some instructors arrange student desks in a circle so everyone can hear one another better. This arrangement also helps promote more academic conversations that students can use to learn from each other and expand their understanding of the topic.
Another classroom desk arrangement that promotes collaboration is the horseshoe or U-shape. With this setup, students all face toward the center of the room. It works well for discussions and presentations, but it can be challenging for students who prefer to work in isolation. The horseshoe arrangement can also limit the amount of space a teacher has to lecture in front of the class.
A perimeter-type classroom desk arrangement places desks around the edges of a room facing inward or towards the walls. This arrangement leaves a large space in the center of the room, which is ideal for computer labs or other types of activities that require all students to be able to see from an equal distance.
Kinesthetic desks can be used in a variety of ways to support different classroom teaching styles. For example, some educators set them up in clusters for group work or as a runway layout where students work from a single point to complete an assignment. Others arrange them in a simple rows and columns, which is good for traditional lectures or demonstration-based lessons.
Some models feature a dry erase surface that allows students to draw and write on the desk with their whiteboard markers instead of writing on paper. This saves paper waste and makes the desks more fun. The Alphabetter Dry Erase Desk, for example, features a pencil holder rim along three sides of the desk for convenient access to pens and pencils.
Lift Lid Desks
The 751 lift lid desk from Virco provides a safe receptacle for books and other school materials. The metal book box is 5" deep and the high-pressure laminate desktop offers a practical work surface. A tubular steel frame and height adjustable legs accommodate students of all grade levels. Nylon feet glides protect floors from damage and make it easy to rearrange seating.
This desk is offered in a variety of finishes. Shown here with a Medium Oak writing surface and Black book box, the unit also includes a right-side front lift lid, which makes accessing pens and pencils easier. The no-pinch front design prevents fingers from getting pinched and the wide opening of the book box allows more storage space for notebooks.
Another option is a traditional t-leg student desk, which features a durable laminate top and a heavy duty book box with a recessed locking handle. The t-leg base has a standard nylon foot glide, which helps protect the floor and keep desks stable. Available in a variety of finishes and configurations, these desks come with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
A new addition to our line of student desks, the NewHeights series, is designed for today’s collaborative learning environments. This deluxe student desk offers more workspace than a standard straight-leg desk, but it can still be easily configured in traditional rows for a classroom setting. The unique vertical anodized aluminum frame is unlike traditional painted steel frames that are prone to rub and wear marks from the t-legs as they are moved up and down during desk height adjustment.
Choose from a selection of attractive colors for this lift lid desk, including Fusion Maple, Medium Oak and Grey Nebula. The desk ships fully assembled and ready to use, and a programmable button is included for easy customization. This lift lid desk is made-to-order and nonreturnable, so we recommend ordering free physical color samples before placing your order. A variety of delivery options are available, including FedEx ground for most laminate and wood desks. The Premium delivery option with most of our desks includes white glove service inside the first dry threshold, such as a front door of an office or garage in a home.
Tablet Arm Desks
With a simple flip up of the tablet arm, this classroom chair transforms into an adjustable desk. Students can use the writing surface for taking notes or positioning their laptop for video viewing and online learning. A slanted rack beneath the seat stores books and papers, while a recessed pencil groove keeps writing implements close at hand. The sturdy, high-pressure laminate top protects against damage and comes in multiple attractive colors. Full-contact welds on the 16-gauge tubular steel frame and 18-gauge back legs provide structural integrity, while the molded polypropylene waterfall seat offers comfort and durability. The durable tablet arm desk has over 250 square inches of workspace and a large, comfortable footprint to fit most students.
In a pilot study, students in three Spanish courses taught in the same room (201 Dey Hall) took two surveys—one before the furniture was installed and another at the end of the semester. Among other things, the survey asked students how well their traditional desks fit them and if they frequently used their desktop for textbook positioning or notetaking.
Students who sat in the Learn2 chairs reported that their desks better fitted them, and they were more likely to position their laptops on the desktop for online learning and referencing e-books during class.
In addition, students in the experimental chairs were more likely to agree that they could easily move their seats during small group discussions and presentations compared to those sitting in the traditional desks. Lastly, the slanted racks beneath each chair that were designed for storing book bags were rarely utilized by students, with most opting to store their books in their pockets instead.
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