Dissecting Desks

All week, I’ve been in my new classroom getting ready for Grade 6. As I’ve moved furniture around and organized the materials in the classroom, I can’t help but keep thinking about the desks.

As a teacher that’s taught Kindergarten to Grade 2 for the past 11 years, I was used to lovely clean desks, and I was amazed by all of the colouring and writing in these junior desks. The other day, I even tweeted out a question about how to get permanent marker off of desks, and I’ve spent hours attempting to do just that. Yesterday, I even went out and bought coloured inserts for each of the desks to not just add colour but to hide marks.

Just One Desk … 🙂

This got me thinking: why are the state of these desks so important to me? Why am I determined to remove these marks? I think it comes down to the issue of respect. When students keep their desks clean, they show respect for these school materials. Respecting school property often transfers to respecting their own property and the property of others.

Despite my best of attempts to do so, I can’t go back and undo what’s been done in the past, but I can make a change now. This year, I want all of the students to see the importance of “respect,” and this will begin with colouring on paper, not on desks. I may be teaching junior students now, but I think that this is an achievable and important goal for all. What do you think? What can we all learn from this “desk lesson?”


2 thoughts on “Dissecting Desks

  1. I had a colleague that used to tape down newsprint to each desk…. It became their doodle, rough work pages. She found that the doodling lessoned (for most… But there are those kids that doodle to remember the lesson – when they look back at it they remember the conversation) and the students used it for rough work. She replaced them every few weeks. You might want to try this. I might even suggest a doodle week where they have the liberty to do it so they can choose an appropriate time/place to doodle on their desks, knowing that once the page is gone it is not acceptable.

    Just some thoughts… J

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