Tina's Teaching Treasures


The Many Uses of Mini-Desks!

Welcome to the Bright Ideas Blog hop! 


My post today is about one of my fave purchases for my classroom- Mini-Desks! 

The Many Uses of Mini-Desks


These little "breakfast in bed" lap desks are a classroom essential! I love how handy they are, diverse and they encourage self-regulation (a HUGE part of third grade!). 

Here are some of the ways I use them in my classroom! 

1. As a simple independent work station:


When a kiddo needs a little space from their table group, they can grab a desk and find a quiet spot.  Got a chatty partner? Grab a desk! Want to get comfy while doign writer's workshop- grab a mini-desk! Got some 'wandering eyes' during a test, every-other student grabs a min-desk! 


2. Partner Games! 


Students love working together and these min-desks are perfect for partner games! Centers, active practice, daily 5- a great way to spread the kiddos out and still have a nice space to work! Sometimes when I have a variety of tasks going on I have "Quiet activities are table groups, partner and discussion activities on the carpet" this allows the students are hard surface to work on and a designated space for their materials while working collaboratively!


3. Tech Center!


Have Chromebooks, laptops, ipads or other small and portable technology? Worry about tripping students, cords all over, and distracting others? mini-dsk tech center is the perfect solution!  Set up the mini-desk with the device, headphoens adn access to an outlet and ta-da! Easy to use, student friendly and able to be dismantled in a jiffy!  


4. Partner Work in the Hall! 


Ever have those kids saying "Can we work in the hall?".  I often have students ask this during a noisy activity like preparing a presentation or prepping a drama skit etc.  I use some dollar store chair cushions and mini-desks to make the space more comfy.  This way being in the hall isn't a 'punishment', it is a privilege! A VIP workspace for my responsible students! Perfect for Daily 5 "Read to Someone" or "buddy reading"! 


5. Set-up Center! 


Provide all the materials the students need and a place to do it! Pop books, materials, printables and/or manipulatives in the handy pockets on the side, attach a label to the front and ba-da-bing-ba-da-boom- Instant Center! 


6. Differentiated instruction


Have a kiddo who rreaallllyy needs to see that anchor chart? Or is totally distracted by Timmy Pencil Tapper beside him? Have them grab a mini-desk to choose a more appropriate workspace.  Maybe it is closer to the teacher or just further from a chatty buddy.  I love that students can self-select this option, they know they are being distracted and they choose to move- amazing!  I even have a couple who will choose sit facing the corner to focus when they really need it! What self-discipline!  Kiddos use the tools we give them and this can be an easy way to differentiate in your classroom! 


So there you have it!!!  I managed to snag these at Michaels with 40% off coupons making them about 4.50 each.  I have had them for 2 years and they are pretty sturdy! They come in a variety of fun, bright, child friendly colours and they stack nicely to save space in your classroom!  Trust me, your students will love the many uses of mini-desks! 


For more great ideas, visit Kathy Griffin and read her post about Brain Breaks for Winter Days



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