Clean-Up Monitors

Clean-up Numbers

I love my Clean-Up Map, but what I don’t love is keeping track of the tables who cleaned up adequately and efficiently (I have a lot of other things going on!). That’s why I created a system of Clean-Up Map Monitors.  Each class period I appoint a team of two students to monitor the classroom tables for quick and thorough clean-up.  The kids love this job (and take it very seriously) so I rotate the students each class period and keep track by marking on a class list. At the end of class the clean-up monitors are manned with giant numbers attached to dowel rods and distribute them based on the following:

  • All students are sitting at their table silently.
  • Table meets Clean-Up Monitor cleanliness expectations (Students know what needs to be cleaned by referring to the Clean-Up Map).

Important details to keep things running smoothly:

  • Table leaders (also known as helping hands) get to hold the clean-up number when distributed.
  • If you complain about anything, your table lines up last.
  • Clean-Up Monitors always get to line up first.
  • Students are dismissed to line based on the number their table was awarded.

I find that this system works well with 3rd grade and up.  In second grade I act as the clean-up monitor to train the kids on my expectations.

Download the clean up numbers for use in your classroom.

Update 10/28/2012:
Watch the video below to show the clean up monitor system at work.

Theresa McGee

Hello! My name is Theresa McGee and I am a National Board Certified Art Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator teaching in Hinsdale, Illinois. My curriculum is structured around creative thinking and technology integration into the learning process. I have authored eighteen articles for the Tech4ArtEd Column in SchoolArts Magazine and several iTunes U courses for professional development. I've presented at the state and national levels including several online webinars for art educators. In 2010, I was awarded Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year and in 2011 I was awarded the national PBS Teacher Innovator award. I love to share ideas that contribute to the art education profession!


  • June 26, 2011


    I LOVE the clean up map idea! I have been using a “job wheel” for the last 4 years (a wheel separated into 8 parts: pencils, extra supplies, table washers, table callers, etc.) and although it works fairly well, there are always several jobs that we just don’t have a use for each day so those tables are “free”. Those are the kids who, to quote you, “lose their way” while getting up to wash their hands! I’ve wanted to come up with something different for awhile but haven’t thought of or found the right thing…I might use something like this to motivate ALL students to help and clean up after themselves!


  • June 26, 2011


    I love that I’ve found some great ideas for that clean up time! I was do the clean up numbers work with the Clean Up Map X’s? Your clean up map post said that you distribute X’s once they are done. Do the get X’s and Clean Up Numbers or do you do one or the other? Do you also use the Helping Hands #s with these other two systems? If so, I imagine that there are 4 or so steps on the clean up map. Each kid is in charge of one of those jobs based on the helping hands number at their seat. When they are done they recieve the X/Clean up number. Is this right?

  • Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee
    June 26, 2011

    Theresa McGee

    This latest post is an update on my original clean up map system. It has evolved a bit over the last year or so (with the addition of clean up monitors in this post). Essentially, the tables work as TEAMS to clean up. One person might end up doing more, but the peer pressure to “get going” gets them working together pretty much in sync. I rarely hear complaints that someone isn’t doing helping clean up.

    The table leaders (aka helping hands) are different each week. These special table leader helpers are my “go to” during class when I need papers handed out or need a special job done in the room. If I need extra help beyond the table leaders, I just call the other numbers out to grab oil pastels or whatever is needed.

    The table leaders are also the people who will retrieve the “X” for their table once all the clean-up map jobs are finished (I do a modified version for the younger kids) The weekly table leader also gets to hold the giant number on a stick when the clean up monitors (randomly chosen students each week) award it.

    I hope that clarifies it a bit. I know it seems like I have a bunch of things going at once, but it actually runs very smoothly. In the fall, I will try and get video of the kids doing the whole process :)

  • June 27, 2011


    Boy! You have great ideas- I wish I could watch your classroom in action! Thanks for posting all your helpful tips.

  • July 24, 2011


    Theresa, I have been enjoying browsing The Teaching Palette site and reading many of the Art education blogs during the past week.

    I was hoping you could help me with the following…

    I am currently teaching K-6 Art, a full-time and about to start year two of three, and I’m having a difficult time incorporating one-size-fits-all teaching and classroom management methods like I have been able to do in the past (3 years middle school art and 1 year of high school art).

    My question is, are there any other teachers on this site who also teach K-6 Art, full-time, whom I may be able to contact to brainstorm and share ideas with?

    I’d like to thank you in advance for your reply.


  • Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee
    July 24, 2011

    Theresa McGee

    Thanks for the compliment on the blog. I co-author this blog with Hillary Andrlik who also teaches elementary art students. We have also had guest bloggers spanning all grade levels. Hillary and I started this blog for the very reason you describe, not only are classroom management ideas hard to find for art teachers, but the differences between art at various grade levels presents its own unique challenges. When it comes to collaboration and finding answers, the first place I go is Arted2.0. Once you’re a member of Arted2.0 (if you’re not already) be sure to join the Elementary group (there are some GREAT ideas and people to collaborate with in there). Another good place to find a network to help you out at the elementary level is the NAEA Elementary Division Ning. If there is a topic that you would like us to blog about or if you would like to write a guest post on what works for you, just send us an email to


  • July 26, 2011


    Funny you mentioned Arted2.0, because I signed up with that site a couple of days prior to posting here. But, I haven’t yet been able to browse their site because I’m waiting a pending approval to be a part of their community? Anything that I click on prompts me to input my email and password, which I do, then it tells me something’s wrong. Can’t say that I’ve ever had to wait this long after signing up with any other website. Has anyone else had this experience with Arted2.0?

  • July 29, 2011


    This is a super idea, rating how successfully the children have carried out the task. A plenary for tidying! Smart! :)

  • August 27, 2011


    Love this idea. I will do this.

Leave a Reply

+ 6 = nine