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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

How to Start a Tidy Up Time in Your Classroom in 4 Easy Steps

Do you have a hard time getting your students to clean up the classroom at the end of the day? Are you doing all the clean-up after your students leave the classroom? Your students need to be helping. They need to be responsible for the mess that they make and help clean it up. The classroom is their space just as much as it is yours. Make your clean-up time quick and fun by making your students excited to clean up at the end of the day!

    One of the first things that I do at the start of the school year is have my students apply for classroom jobs. Having my students apply for their jobs makes them more excited about the job because they are doing what they want to do, and they are also more responsible for the job. I have the students pick the job they want and tell me why they think they will be good at the job. I love seeing them get excited and having them remind me when it’s time to do their job. Another thing that I do is give my students pay for the job that they are completing. They can then use the money that they have earned at the end of the week or the month to buy rewards. I use classroom privileges for them to purchase. This way nothing is coming out of my pocket, but you could also use little prizes from the dollar store if you like. 


    Now that you have your jobs all set for your students, it is time to get your supplies. I make sure that I have tons of fun supplies for my students to use. They love to sweep and use the dustpan. I even have a small battery-operated vacuum for the students to use on our rug. This is one of their favorite supplies to use. I like to have a few of each supply so students are not fighting over them. Go through your classroom and as you are cleaning up for the first day of school think about all the supplies you used to clean up, then go out and get those supplies for your students. Another thing that I always have my students do at the start of our tidy-up time is use a wet wipe to clean off their desk and sanitize their area. This makes their desk ready for the next day. You could also have your students clean out the inside of their desk during this time. I usually have them do this on Fridays so their desk is ready for a new week. 

    The next thing that I love to do for our tidy-up time is have music playing. We make it a full on dance party. We turn up the music and have tons of fun while we clean up. At the start of the year I have a playlist ready to go with kid friendly fun songs. As the year goes on my students start to share songs with me to add to the list. If it is a song I have not heard of, I always make sure I listen to it first to make sure it is appropriate. 

    I have a bluetooth speaker and an MP3 player or my phone set up in the classroom to play our music. I use music throughout different parts of the day in our classroom. I love to have a Spotify playlist or Apple Music playlist set up with all the perfect music for our tidy-up time. I just connect my music device to our speaker and the kids get to enjoy the music. 

    The next thing that is so important to have during your tidy-up time is a timer. Using a timer keeps your students on track with their clean-up time. I usually only give my students 5 to 7 minutes to clean up at the end of the day. That is the sweet spot with clean-up. Your students stay on task and the playing around doesn’t normally start. If a student is not being safe, I have them go back and sit at their desk and wait for our dismissal time. I like to have a timer running through our projector so the kids can see the time and they love to yell out how much time is left before it is time for dismissal. You can also use a small digital or cooking timer at your desk or up on the board but then it is harder for the students to take over this task. 

    Having a tidy-up time has really helped my classroom be clean at the end of the day. It has helped me to not have to do all the cleanup on my own. Now there are always times that I have to do a quick touch up after my students leave but the majority of the clean-up is done. Now I can spend my time setting up for the next day and get out at a decent time instead of spending all my time cleaning. Let me know if you are going to give tidy-up time a try!

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