21st Century Learning: 5 Ways to Arrange Collaborative Desks

In today’s education environment, it is almost impossible to avoid hearing the word “collaboration.” Not only is collaboration an important 21st century college and career readiness skill, but for many students, face-to-face communication is slowly being replaced by screen time, causing an even greater skills deficit.

Educators face the vital task of teaching students how to converse, create, and work together in the classroom environment. So how does an educator go about teaching collaboration skills? One quick and easy strategy is to use collaborative desks. In order to create an environment that fosters communication, try out these 5 collaborative desk arrangements:

1. “The Horseshoe” – The horseshoe is a great strategy for whole class activists, such as round-robin reading, or group discussions. The “U” shape allows students to make eye-contact and converse with anyone in the class, and still gives the teacher the ability to guide the conversation. The Crescent and Huddle series desks by Smith System and the Apex Trapezoid desks by Marco work well with this configuration as shown below.

2. “4 Square” – The unique shape options available for collaborative desks means that you can easily push four together to create a table. Tables of 4 are great for group work, as it is small enough to encourage equal participation, while opening up a space for multiple opinions on any given topic or task. The Koi Collaborative Desk by Paragon features a unique fish shape desk top, which can be arranged in several configurations, including the “4 Square”. The optional casters (wheels) gives you the flexibility to frequently rearrange the desks into the different configurations that best fit the needs of the lesson. Other desk options for the “4 square” configuration include the Apex Bone Desk by Marco, Wing Desk by Smith System and the ZBoom Modular Desk by Virco.

3. “Collaborative Pairs” – Most teachers today have heard of Think-Pair-Share as a learning strategy, but moving students or deciding who will pair with who drains valuable class time. Collaborative desks fit seamlessly together in twos for quick and easy partner activities.


4. “Station Rotations” – By joining larger numbers of desks together, teachers can create station rotations. Collaborative desks form large tables, and each table is assigned a different task. This incorporates both collaboration and movement as students rotate to different tables to complete various learning activities.


5. “Classic Lecture” – One of the greatest conveniences collaborative desks is the ability to separate students when needed. The one time you do not want students to collaborate is on a test or quiz! Collaborative desks offer a wide-range of collaboration strategies, as seen above, but unlike tables, can be broken apart for independent assessment.

The Right School Furniture for National Inventor’s Month

May is National Inventor’s Month, which is a perfect time to stress collaborative learning, science, innovation, technology and creative thinking. Educators can also use the opportunity to spotlight historical figures, events and math concepts connected to the world’s best inventions. Of course getting through a month’s worth of special activities will require the right school furniture and supplies to be readily available. So, why not get together with educators and parents to ensure that your institution is fully equipped to join in on the auspicious, annual occasion? Here are a few school furnishings that you might want to mention:

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How to Find the Right Stand-up Desk for You

Stand-up desks have a variety of long lasting health benefits including burning more daily calories, boosting focus and productivity, improving posture and overall information retention, keeping the body and mind awake and reducing risk of heart problems. Aside from promoting health, stand-up desks save space and might just encourage more creativity. It is worth trying out with all these considerations. If you would like to try one though, you must think about which one will work best for you. Here are some things to think about while shopping for your stand up desk.

Ideal Ergonomics

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Refurbish Over Spring Break with Furniture Packages

Spring break may sound like an odd time to redecorate your classroom, but it is actually a great time. The prices are lower because of the discounts on last fall’s furniture and students can give their feedback after they come back to class. In a sense, you get a test run on your decorating decisions before next year. The question is how to decorate and what to consider when doing so. Here are some tips.

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