Keeping desks clean?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by TulipsGirl, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Jun 10, 2007

    I'm going on round 2 of teaching first grade.Last year, some students were super neat and their desks were always clean, papers in folders or thrown away.... And other students, well.... They could never find ANYTHING because their desks were a mess. We would have a "cleanout" day and the next day it was a mess again.

    How do you teach students this young to stay organized?

    Thanx in advance for your help!
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jun 10, 2007

    I have a 'desk fairy' who visits sporadically. Any student who gets a clean desk award gets to visit the goody box.
     
  4. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 10, 2007

    When we had desks I also had the desk fairy. I typed up a little note that said something like,
    "Here is a little treat
    Because your desk is really neat!"
    From The Desk Fairy

    You could also draw a diagram of what a clean desk looks like. This helps a lot too.
     
  5. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Thanx!

    Great ideas! Thanx!
    I like the poem - cute :)
     
  6. DTM

    DTM Rookie

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    I posted a diagram of what a clean desk was supposed to look like and walked the kids through what a it is supposed to look like (being as specific as possible such as books stacked on one side, folders notebooks on another, etc). I also did periodic unannounced treats, though I would give the kids a little advance notice that desk inspections were coming. I saw a lot of improvement between last year and this year. I still had some repeat offenders; maybe 4-5 kids that just could not keep their desks cleaned. I would have them clean their desks on the days we had indoor recess, while the other kids got to play. They had to earn the right to play. This was good incentive to get them to clean their desks. I did all this to avoid having whole-class desk cleaning as I hate taking class time away for something I feel the kids should be taking responsibility for on a daily basis.
     
  7. Sagette

    Sagette Companion

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    Jun 10, 2007

    I was in a classroom that had a "Fun Friday" each week. If the students had completed all their homework, had neat and organized desks and cubbies, and did not get get their ticket moved to red all week they could participate. It was a good incentive for the students to keep on top of everything. I really like the fairy idea though!
     
  8. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    That's so cute! Are 5th graders too old to recieve these???
     
  9. bowler

    bowler Rookie

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    Jun 10, 2007

    I used something similar with my 4th graders, so I think it would work fine with 5th.
     
  10. MrsMikesell

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    Jun 10, 2007

    When I taught first grade, I took a digital photo of a "good" desk and posted it for all to see.

    Some kids just don't understand unless they can see it.

    Kelly :)
     
  11. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Maybe I could do something with awards. Like, cleanest desk award, most organized desk award, or beautiful desk award.
     
  12. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    Jun 10, 2007

    We do weekly desk cleaning. I also have the students keep a folder to put papers in progress in. One of the classroom jobs is Floor Monitor. In addition to checking the floor at the end of the day, this person also checks desks. Because we have a classroom economy, I can either pay for clean desks or fine for messy ones.
     
  13. Elcsmith

    Elcsmith Companion

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    I did the desk fairy with 5th graders. I put a little poem on their desk, a piece of candy and a LITTLE glitter. They loved the glitter.
     
  14. teach57

    teach57 Comrade

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    In 4th grade, we had "celebration" on Fridays for people who showed good behavior, turned in all homework, and had clean desks all week long. Celebration was 20 minutes of free time at the end of the day. The whole 4th grade did it, so it was a big deal to get a chance to hang out with friends from another class.

    To keep kids on track all week long with their desks, I would do random desk checks as a helpful reminder to some to stay organized.
     
  15. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Its funny, I cant figure out how their desks get so messy either - finished work goes straight into their mailboxes.... it must be all these little notes and letters that they write to each other. 6 year olds are big that kind of stuff. I think I will need to insist that they put those things in their mailboxes and take them home at the end of the week, and reinforce neat desks like other posters mentioned. Does that sound too harsh?
     
  16. MissAmy

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    Peachyness,
    I did desk fairy last year with my fifth graders and they loved it. I even had one student who didn't realise it was me until third quarter! :) (I hope he was just kidding!) I would give them Tickets that said Great looking desk! They had to collect three tickets to get from the treasure box.
     
  17. MissMcCollum

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    Jun 10, 2007

    In 3rd, during my student teaching, my lead teacher used a "Clean Desk Dog"...and each day she would quickly check desks and choose one to get the Clean Desk Dog. They really enjoyed having the stuffed animal for the day...it could sit in their lap during seat work, that sort of thing...and every now and then we had the Clean Desk Club. Kids with hideous desks were automatically admitted into the club and they had to stay in at recess to clean up.

    I like the idea of some kind of fairy with a ticket reward...as I plan on holding a raffle once a month for a new book, or something along those lines. They could get a ticket for being chosen by the clean desk fairy.
     
  18. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Jun 11, 2007

    Tulips - no, you don't sound harsh! I try to get them to take home all their little special things at the end of the day everyday! Another teacher at my school has a specific 5 minutes each day when the kids neaten their desks. I am going to try that idea next year. I am thinking of doing a daily desk check before recess - when the desk is clean, they may go out to recess! But I absolutely agree that this is something they need to be trained in. We wonder how they can't see what a mess everything is, but really some kids can't visualize the clean desk.
     
  19. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Jun 11, 2007

    My friend made a "desk map" and posted it for the kids to use as a model. It showed them what their desk should specifically look like. It was great for the visual learners.
     
  20. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jun 11, 2007

    As a mom of a child who has struggled with organization since Kindergarten, I have to say that those awards for the neatest desk and such are nice, but they have no effect on kids like mine. So little Sally has a clean desk... again... little Sarah's still looks like a bomb exploded on it.

    I like the idea of showing a picture of what a clean work area looks like.

    When I taught middle school, I kept a running list on one of my boards of where papers should be placed in the folder. That helped kids stay organized, AND it helped me when a student was absent!
     
  21. pamms

    pamms Comrade

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    Jun 12, 2007

    Yes some kids just need help


    Sometimes I have given treats to a team (the 1st row, or table 1, etc) if all of their desks are clean. This can only work if you give them a few minutes to get them in order. By having it be a team effort, the 'neat' kids will help those that just aren't organized. Also...if you have some sort of token economy, where kids earn tokens to go to the treasure box or something, I 've had kids start to hire other kids to clean their desk using their tokens!
     
  22. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I had plenty of students who used to cut up paper in their desk and would make such a mess in his desk or attempt to write notes in their desk as I was teaching, so I stated collecting box tops from the bulk copy paper from our photocopy rooms. I gave one to each student and they had to put all their school supplies from their desk in the box and then place the box in their desk. It made it so much easier when they could not find something because all they had to do was remove the box and put it on their desk to find it (and I could see how messy their supplies were). They did not have to empty their desk, make a mess all over the floor, have everyone waiting for them... I love the fact that they are also unable to get to their pencils, scissors... while I am teaching because they do not have enough space for their hands to reach inside their boxes. It also prevented those students who start working before all directions are given because they cannot get at their pencil without me noticing. I did have to train them to put their pencils, crayons, scissors...back into the box after they were finished so that they can find it when necessary. When I walk around the classroom I can see if they did not place anything inside their boxes.
     
  23. ashley57

    ashley57 Comrade

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    Jun 12, 2007

    i had 3 laminated pigs that i'd put out when kiddos needed to clean their desks ("There's a piggy in your desk! *snort snort snort!*"). it was a humorous reminder...worked this year.
     
  24. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I absolutely LOVE the idea of the box tops used inside the desk and I will certainly adopt that next year! What a terrific idea. I think the boxes that the WalMart brand water bottles come in might work too. There are 2 sizes. Wow. I'm stoked!! :)
     
  25. Ruby731

    Ruby731 Rookie

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    Jun 16, 2007

    Love these great ideas

    Great Idea! This forum is the best!
     
  26. knittingbec

    knittingbec Comrade

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    lol... great idea! Do you read Mark Teague's book Pigsty to them to tie in with this?
     
  27. teach123

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    I like the "piggy" idea too. This year we had a "Desk Inspector." Every Friday morning the kids cleaned out their desks and then at the end of the day a student would check the desks. If they didn't think someone's desk was clean enough, they would write "clean" on a sticky nnote and put it on that student's desk.
     
  28. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Jun 17, 2007

    Because I have class pets, this year I implemented "Classroom Cleaning" every Friday. We did a very thorough cleaning, sorting and organizing once a week. We cleaned the pet cages, but everyone also cleaned their cubby (we don't have desks) and we did other things, like sorting work, organizing books, etc. It took about a half hour. After that we would have game time/choice time. This could be worked into a reward system if your class has something like that.
     

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