5 Minute Activities for a Clean Classroom

On the very first day of school, I begin instilling in my students an appreciation for the neat and organized wonder that is our classroom.  I ask them if they like the way the classroom looks and tell them how long I worked to get it looking like this.  Then I explain that it is now up to all of us to work together and maintain this neat and orderly environment.  There are several five minute activities I use with my students to keep a clean classroom all year long!

5 Minute Activities for a Clean Classroom

My favorite way to get a perfectly clean classroom is to spend five minutes at the end of the day playing Mystery Trash!  I walk around and write down three things that need to be picked up, thrown out, or straightened.  Of course, you have to be sneaky about it, and not write it down right after you look at it.  That would make it too easy for the students.  One or two of the items will be something like a piece of paper or a pencil on the floor, but the third item must be a stumper that my students would probably never notice, like this...

Mystery Trash

That "I Survived" book is crooked on the book rack!  We can't have that!  

After I write down the three things, I tell my students that if they find and fix or pick up one of them, they get a piece of gum.  I have to make sure they understand there is no running, pushing, etc. or I honestly think that my students looking for garbage would end up looking like shoppers on Black Friday!

I say, "Go!", and they're off!  Kids are cleaning and straightening like none of their parents would ever believe!  While they are cleaning, I discreetly keep my eye on the Mystery Trash items, so I see who has picked it up or straightened it.  Sometimes I miss it and just have to rely on their honesty about who truly did it.  That first day of school, they never get all three of my items, but that's okay.  I send everyone back to their seats and announce the first couple of items and hand out the gum.  Then I tell them the one they missed.  I love the look on their faces when I tell them what the last one was.  Their eyes get wide, and their expressions are like...What?!  Are you kidding?!  They soon learn.  No, I'm not kidding.  

Mystery Trash

Seriously?  You think we are going to go home and leave this keyboard like this?  Oh no!  It needs to be pulled forward and perfectly straight.

You should see the kids cleaning and straightening on the second day of school.  It's a beautiful sight!

Sometimes we don't really have time for Mystery Trash.  Maybe we need to line up for lunch, bathroom break, or a special class and have just an extra minute.  I'll tell the kids, "When I call your group, find three things to clean up or straighten, and then get in line."  This helps to keep the classroom looking neat throughout the day.  

At least once a month, we have a wet wipe day.  When the kids come up to my desk in the morning to check in, I hand them a wet wipe.  They know this means, go clean something!

I have found that if I tell my students what my expectations are in terms of keeping the classroom clean and give them the necessary tools, they will always come through for me!

Keeping the Classroom Clean

I put a dust pan and broom from the dollar store on each group's file box shelf.  The kids put them to good use each and every day!  During our muddy spring days, they really get a work out!

I hope these tips help you and your kiddos to keep your classroom in tip top shape!

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