Monday, February 25, 2013

Zip Ties, Desks, and Sanity

Back at the beginning of the school year, the only student seating I had were very large, very heavy tables. Here's a photo from the beginning of June, two and a half months before I could go in and do any work in the room:

I hated these tables. Having a full classroom of kids facing four different ways did not work for me, but there was no way to arrange them to avoid that. And then I realized that I had soooo many sewing tables jammed into storage areas.

This got me to thinking...

Now I could see what EVERYONE was doing. Of course, the kids kept opening the tables and messing with the machines, so over Christmas Break...

I removed the sewing machines and wonderful hubby drilled the tables shut. That problem was solved!

At the beginning of the new semester, I decided to try another arrangement:

Love it! The only problem with these "desks" is that five minutes into each class they tend to look like this:

So frustrating! (Credit for the idea of using happy faces for confidentiality purposes goes to The (Un)Caffeinated Teacher) Even more frustrating were the kids who insisted they "couldn't help it" that their desks moved two to three feet every time they were in class.

A couple of months ago I found this idea on Pinterest from an elementary school teacher:

So genius! Yet, my desks don't have legs, so I wasn't able to use it. D'oh!!!

Then on Friday I happened to be looking at the floor (probably because of a mess left by someone), and noticed that there are spaces right above the wheels on my desks, and sooooo....

I gleefully installed these on Saturday morning, then waited giddily today to see how they worked. It was AMAZING - no desk drift whatsoever! A photo right after last bell:

Also enjoyable was how the kids who "accidentally" moved their desks before reacted - haha! 

So anyway, all this to say 1) Zip ties ROCK!, 2) Zip ties SAVE sanity!, and 3) If at first a truly inspiring idea from Pinterest seems like it won't work, don't give up on it - find a way! It's always worth it!


  1. Seriously... you are a genius! I am all about finding new layouts for desks and tables. I love the zip tie idea too. So do you not teach sewing? That saddens me a bit that you screwed the tables closed but completely understand why you did.

    1. And I forgot to add... I can't believe those stencils go throughout the whole room. Yikes. That is insanity. Some people take humanitarian trips to paint classrooms in South America... I would be more than willing to come to your school for a humanitarian trip to paint over the insanity happening there. Ha ha!

    2. Hilarious! They are truly terrible...

    3. I do still teach sewing, but I never run more than two or three machines at a time. I get them started on a hand sewing project for the large group to work on, then pull two or three students at a time to a little sewing center at the back of the room to work on their machine projects. It's much better for my sanity - and theirs - to give more individualized attention to the machine sewing, and a whole lot less mess with cords, broken needles, and misthreading!

      It was a bummer having to drill into all of those really nice tables, but I just couldn't take the constant opening/closing/slamming. Gotta do whatcha gotta do!