Are any of you as crazy as I am when it comes to organization in your classrooms? I love things to be in the right place and neat. My mind seems cluttered when my classroom is, so I try to minimize the "stuff" in my room.
One of the things that drives me batty is the way that my students' desks manage to drift throughout the day. The rows and groups will be perfectly straight at the beginning of the day, and 2 hours in, someone's desk is practically in Alabama. I've heard of zip ties being used to secure desks together, but I don't think that I'm ready to go that far and make such a permanent decision of desk placement; I'd like to be able to decide quickly (without having to cut desks loose from each other) to move someone to a different location or to shift the desks for an activity.
I decided to use a technique that we used back in my old musical theatre days to solve this problem. You see, in a play, set placement is incredibly important because the location of the set pieces impact where the characters move. On a stage, glow-in-the-dark tape is used to mark the corners of pieces so that during a set change, items can go EXACTLY into the same place for each performance. Now, we aren't exactly doing quick set changes during the school day, but I thought this idea could come in handy.
I recently changed my students' seating arrangement and thought this would be the perfect time to get things in order. Once all of the desks were placed, I went around to each of the "end" desks of a row or column or group, and placed the tape in an "L" around the outside leg of the desk. My students watched me curiously, wondering what I was doing, and slowly they started figuring it out. They thought it was a great idea and I often see them shifting their desks slightly into the correct spot. I even have a student that goes around at the end of each day and makes sure that all of the desks are in their places within the tape. (I didn't even ask her to - she just does it!) It has worked out perfectly so far and I'm hoping it will continue.