Keeping your classroom tidy is a challenge that you will face every day as a teacher. It goes without saying that any space that contains more than twenty children at a time on a daily basis can easily become messy and unorganized – and, unless you are making an active effort to keep your space clean, it can become chaotically messy in the blink of an eye.
If this is something you are dealing with, several simple methods can be used to restore order and cleanliness to your classroom, and when you make them a regular part of your students’ schedule will help save you the time and effort it would normally take you when trying to do it all yourself.
Make Organization a Regulation
Children aren’t going to take the initiative to help keep your classroom tidy on their own but they are often a huge help in this effort when employed. One way to ensure their aid is to incorporate organization and cleanliness a part of their classroom rules. Try offering a rewards and punishments system as an incentive for keeping their personal desk area clean and participating in group cleanup activities.
Regular Group Cleanup Activities
While mandating that students keep their personal area clean is helpful, initiating and regulating regularly scheduled group cleanup activities is an excellent way to encourage the children to work together to keep the classroom clean. Having the children collectively clean their cubbies and desks out once a week or to integrate a rotating ‘chore assignment chart’ weekly will make sure that everyone is doing their part to contribute.
Keeping Paper Organized
One of the main issues that may prevent you from keeping your classroom tidy is paper mess. In order to prevent paper from being stored and flung everywhere about the room, create an efficient system for where homework assignments should be placed and what students should do with assignments and papers that are returned to them. This will help keep things organized and keep papers off the floor.
Make Students Aware of Designated Areas
Collaboratively, the items that children bring to school paired with the items that already exist in the classroom can cause a lot of clutter. In order to prevent excessive clutter and disorganization, have designated areas for your students’ personal belongings such as coats and lunchboxes and make sure that they know where that area is. Also, consider organizing your room in zones – such as the play area, art center, etc. and have labeled storage areas within each so that the children can more easily aid you in returning items to their assigned location.
Additional Classroom Cleaning Tips
– Crafts can often make a sticky mess on tables; avoid this by covering surfaces in newspaper at the start of every project.
– Wooden desks are easily cleaned using shaving cream. Simply spray on and wipe off or allow the children to have a little fun by finger painting in it as they clean it up themselves.
– While it should not be used by students, WD-40 is an excellent tool for removing tape and tape residue from walls or desks.
– Hair spray is an effective tool for cleaning hard to remove marks from dry erase boards.
Getting your students involved in keeping your classroom tidy is not a difficult task, and, if asked most will be more than willing to help – especially if occasional rewards are involved. Making classroom cleanup both mandatory and fun will prevent you from having to spend valuable time each week deep cleaning your class space and free you up to spend more time planning lessons and working with your kids.