Welcome to the Classroom Cleanup Club! Whether you’re a teacher or a student, we all have one thing in common: our classrooms need to be clean and organized. We’re here to give you the tools and tips necessary to make sure your classroom looks its very best. So grab your supplies and join us as we discover how to keep classrooms clean and organized!
Designate a Place for Everything
Classroom organization begins with designating a spot for everything. This means that each student has an area for his or her desk, chair, and supplies. Establishing a specific area for each item helps reduce clutter and creates an orderly environment that can promote learning.
For instance, if used correctly, the desks might be arranged in a manner so that everyone has their own space while still providing room to collaborate with peers. Additionally, establishing a storage space helps decrease time spent looking for misplaced items.
- Putting coat racks in the back of the classroom is an ideal way to keep coats out of the way during class time while still allowing students easy access.
- If possible, assign students designated cubbies (or storage bins) where they can keep their other belongings such as textbooks, themes, and other projects throughout the year. This will also help protect any work from getting damaged by careless handling or lost in piles of mess!
Encourage Students to Take Ownership of Their Learning Space
A clean, organized, and inviting learning environment can help foster student engagement in the classroom. It is important to introduce students to expectations of cleanliness and order at the start of the school year or even the beginning of a new unit – this helps to ensure that high standards continue throughout the year.
To ensure effective management and ownership of the classroom by students, teachers can:
- Create a list of expectations for managing and caring for the classroom space together with students, such as no food inside, and wiping down desks after activities. This makes it easier for everyone to fully understand expected behavior and thus eliminates confusion on matters related to tidiness.
- Designate specific duties/responsibilities for particular students related to keeping their cabinets tidy or caring for certain areas in the classroom, so that everyone has some accountability concerning their communal learning space.
- Explain why it’s important that everyone helps contribute towards keeping their classroom clean and organized (e.g. promote collaboration) and explore ways in which they can practice this daily (e.g., encourage them to ask themselves if they’re leaving any mess behind).
Make Cleaning a Daily Habit
Making cleaning a daily habit is one of the best ways to ensure classrooms stay neat and organized. Establishing a specific routine for classroom cleaning can help ensure that areas are kept looking clean and presentable. Encouraging students to help with this process, as part of their daily routine, can teach important life skills. Educators should create guidelines for cleaning activities, such as time frames and expectations for student interactions.
The following tips may help develop a daily cleaning routine:
- Designate specific tasks for students, such as wiping desks and returning books to shelves.
- Set a timer for the allotted cleaning period each day; for example, 10 minutes before dismissal.
- Implement a reward system that motivates children to clean quickly and efficiently; like stickers or gold stars next to their name on the board.
- Post visual reminders or calendar checklists so it’s easy to keep track of tasks and progress throughout the year.
- Allow students some creative freedom when it comes to decorating their section of the room; like individual flower pots or brightly colored paper decorations on desks or cubbies.
- Instruct staff on proper stocking techniques regarding supplies; use stackable containers with labels if possible.
Implement Regular Deep Cleaning
In addition to basic daily maintenance, it is important to implement regular deep cleaning of classrooms as well. This requires a more thorough approach than daily cleaning and may involve tasks such as dusting shelves or desks, washing windows and walls, or vacuuming furniture. Establish a deep-cleaning schedule that covers all areas of the classroom so that all surfaces are regularly disinfected and free of dust. Deep cleaning also helps make sure items are properly organized, which can greatly improve order in the classroom.
Consider hiring professional cleaners for deep-cleaning services to ensure that everything is done correctly and thoroughly.
Have a System for Managing Paper
Creating a system for managing paper is an important skill that can help keep classrooms clean and organized. It is important to have a separation between files that need to be kept and documents that can be discarded. Teachers should create an easy-to-access filing system so essential documents are easy to find, rather than adding to the clutter by having piles of papers.
It can also be helpful for teachers to organize their paperwork into categories so they know exactly where everything belongs. For example, the paperwork could be divided into:
- Student-related materials such as individual student records, permission slips, or forms needed for classroom activities.
- General school information such as administrative memos or school policies.
- Teaching resources such as class syllabi, lesson plans, vacation requests, or supply lists.
- Personal materials like notes relating to professional development or job applications.
Having a designated area in the classroom to store paperwork and supplies is also beneficial.
Encourage Students to Declutter Regularly
To keep classrooms clean and organized, students must take responsibility for their workspaces and belongings. Encouraging students to declutter regularly will help ensure that they are not accumulating too many unnecessary materials or messes. Additionally, this gives students a sense of ownership over their learning environment and allows them to take pride in it as well.
Developing a system in which students can declutter regularly can involve:
- Setting aside time once a week or month for an activity where all students clear out items from their desks and return them to their backpacks.
- Facilitating classroom conversations about the importance of organization, and encouraging behaviors such as putting materials away when finished with an activity so desks are easily accessed the next day.
Consistency is Key
Consistency is key when it comes to keeping classrooms clean and organized. Develop a schedule that you can easily follow to ensure that your classroom looks neat over the entire school year. Schedule times for students to participate in cleaning and tidying up the classroom, like before or after lunch, or after school for a few days each month.
Set guidelines for how students should put things away, such as:
- Desks and chairs should be pushed in.
- Work should be put away in the proper place.
- Materials that don’t have an assigned location should be placed neatly in a stack on a desk or shelf.
With consistent effort from everyone involved, your classroom will remain neat and tidy no matter what happens during your school day!
Proper cleaning and organization of the classroom can set a positive tone for the academic year. Regularly removing dust and dirt, organizing supplies, and creating an inviting learning environment will help make students more productive. Teaching good habits at an early age is essential as these habits will serve students well in many aspects of life.
Allowing students to take ownership of a neat classroom while offering tips on how to keep it clean and organized can be beneficial for both you and the students. Implementing these cleaning guidelines can support healthy lifetime habits that focus on time management, project organization, and establishing routines that build individual accountability.