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.
Watch the video below to show the clean up monitor system at work.
When your students are working on messy projects that leave tons of paper scraps on the floor consider using the Magic Garbage technique to motivate a super fast clean-up. I learned this tip from my colleagues in my masters cohort and it works beautifully with my elementary students.
When it’s time to clean up, explain to the class that you picked one piece of garbage on the floor to be the “Magic Garbage”. Who ever picks it up while cleaning will earn a prize!
A prize can be anything that’s motivating to your students such as candy, stickers, stamps, free time, computers or line leader. In my room we use a ticket system where students earn a ticket. Each ticket is placed in a box and after a few art classes several tickets are randomly drawn from the box like a raffle. The students with winning tickets drawn from the ticket box get to select a price from the prize box.
Now here is were the magic comes in. You really don’t have to mark a particular piece of garbage with a sticker or anything else. You simply watch the class as they busily clean and then award the ticket to the student you think worked the hardest at cleaning. Sometimes I award the ticket to a student who worked really hard on their art for the entire class period. Of course, if you want, you can mark a particular piece of garbage with a sticker. The risk with doing that is if a student immediately finds the sticker there’s no extra motivation for the whole class to keep cleaning.
This is a great system for those situations where there is a time crunch. It also works in any setting where cleaning will be a big job. Magic Garbage is a simple technique that encourages a fast and through clean-up anytime you need it.
(Side note: Some of my cohort colleagues had different names for this technique like lucky trash, secret garbage or prize piece of trash. If you have used this technique or start using it soon, leave a comment and let us know what you named it!)
One of the most common times in the art room for students to become off task or lose their focus is during clean-up and transitions. Learn key strategies to keep your class on task such as creating a clean-up map to help students know what to do next (Example). Or how to handle students who have trouble moving from one location to another. Keep your students productive and gain more instructional time in the process with our “Transitions and Clean-Up” tip sheet.
The elementary art room can get overwhelming with materials, paperwork and demanding students. Learn how to obtain student attention and keep it focused. Get organized and get your students into a routine with our “Prevention and Attention” tip sheet.
Some of the helpful tips include:
- Use a binder to store important information containing monthly planning sheets, class lists, schedule, and notes.
- Keep a container for pencils to be sharpened. (Avoids having kids distracted by pencil sharpening.) Have any student that needs to serve recess with you sharpen pencils.
- Do not begin giving directions until ALL children are looking at you.
- Use kinesthetic (movement) learning – show/have students practice directions in addition to verbal. Have children move often, avoid long periods of sitting.
- For our complete Prevention and Attention tip sheet, click here.
One of the most challenging areas of classroom management for many art specialists is the last five minutes – clean up. I was frustrated with students who “got lost” on their way to wash their hands (aka socializing with friends), so I developed a “Clean Up Map” to help students find their way.
I started by creating and laminating a large (about 3′ x 3′) map (like a treasure map) with a line leading to “X” marks the spot. It was so large that my school laminator couldn’t handle it so I had to go to Office Max (50% off lamination for teachers in August).
Next, Photo and laminate examples of clean up tasks. (Photo children sitting at a clean table, washing hands, turning in artwork to drying rack, etc.).
Add Velcro to back side of picture and tabs along the Clean Up Map route.
Add numbers with additional Velcro to front side of clean up tasks to show sequential steps If time allows, I set up the map sequence before class, otherwise, I set it up with the children watching and go over it at the same time reinforcing the clean-up routine for the day.
I also use giant laminated X’s (one for each table) to hand to one student (or assign older students to retrieve) when all students at their have completed the clean up map. I allow X marks the spot tables to get in line first as positive reinforcement. Getting the X for each table seems to be the best part of the clean up routine for the students. The best part of the map for me is a far more orderly end to class – the only drawback is keeping the kids from running to finish their clean up faster=:)