Deskless and organized

For those of you who are going deskless, here are a few photos of my classroom to share what I do to prevent those chairs from migrating around the room. Especially if you have a big room you will see that it is hard to keep the chairs tidy without a little organization.

At the beginning of the year I organize my chairs in a large horseshoe (with a small section in the middle because I need to fit 40 chairs into a room made for 28). You can click on this photo to get a closer look:
big view

Each group of 6 chairs is inside a colored rectangle. Students place their bags against the wall and notebooks beneath their chair. They are allowed to have their feet outside of the rectangle, but all chairs remain inside the rectangle:
yellow group

tapeI use two different tapes; I start with colored masking tape and really ground it into the carpet with my shoes. Then I covered that with clear packaging tape, which has superior resistance to all of the scuffing that kids will do. For seven groups I used two rolls of clear packaging tape ($2 each at Staples for each 800 inch roll of tape) and 7 rolls of colored masking tape ($3 each, but I have left over to use on future projects).

After two weeks it still looks beautiful and everything is nice and tidy. Here is a close-up of the worst damage, where a student has pressed down while pushing his chair back repeatedly. Most of the time chairs glide right over the clear tape, so he must have tried extra hard to leave his mark:

Ultimately going deskless has given me more control over my classroom, but if I let my desks wander around the room it would have driven me crazy!


  1. Do you still use Card Talk? If so, what do you do with the cards? That was the only think I really liked about having desks was a good place to show the cards.

  2. You’ve inspired me to go deskless! I have seen other TPRS teachers say they disliked it and their students hate it. That makes me a little confused. Are you planning on doing it again next year! What are the disadvantages? Thanks!

    1. I haven´t heard anyone complain… I have done it for years and would never go back. I certainly have not found disadvantages! Control student and parent expectations: the first year I did it I kept one desk in back for any student who complained that they “needed” a desk. Within a day or two I inevitably found that student with their notebook open to math homework or some other subject when they were supposed to be paying attention to Spanish, or they would attempt to use the desk to hide their cell phone usage. It is a lot easier to catch that when there is only one desk in the room 🙂 There is a facebook group to support TPRS teachers who go deskless, it is called “TPRS – deskless classroom”. Join and you´ll have a whole community to support you with any hiccups you come across!

  3. I went deskless this year, and I absolutely love it! The only problem I am having is like what you said about chairs floating around the classroom. I tried to put down tape, but we have tiled floors and they got dirty super quick. Is there any other options that you know of to keep some sort of order with the chairs?

    1. Lately I have been having my last period class stack the chairs, and the first period class unstack them. My custodian loves it! They put the chairs into something like an amphitheater, with an aisle down the middle. When students push their chairs too far back I have them move the chairs to the very front, so it has disciplined those kids who prefer to be in back to remain aware of my invisible lines (essentially, when I am sitting in back no student should ever be behind me).

      1. I have done much the same thing….first class sets up chairs and puts clip boards under chairs and last class puts chairs and clip boards away. Not perfect, but it works. I do have tape on the floor and it helps a lot to maintain some order.

  4. I’m seriously considering going deskless myself…. What do you have taped on the front and back of the chairs? Thanks for another great post!

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