- Let the students take control over clean up…
- “Shift Manager” This student provides a 5, 3 and 1-minute warning prior to clean up. (can also signal other transitions throughout the day)
- Following the 5-minute warning, students are not allowed to retrieve any new items or move centers. They need to remain in the center in which they are currently for the last 5 minutes of play.
- “Quality Control Inspector” This student inspects all areas and cleans up any remaining items.
- “Floor Sanitation Monitor” This student picks up scraps from the floor and/or reminds students to throw away their scraps throughout the day, especially after play centers.
- “Celebration Coach” This student provides an award to another student (a gold slip, a high five, a fist bump) for being the most efficient, yet respectful, during clean up. (respectful clean up = cleaning up quickly while still treating materials and friends with respect, using gentle hands and kind words) This student can also be responsible for finding and celebrating respectful behavior throughout the day.
CLICK HERE: Classroom Jobs that Support Free Choice Play Center Clean Up
- Do you have one or two students that clean up time is overstimulating?
- Allow the student to be a “Clean Up Supervisor.” As soon as he/she cleans up 5-10 items (depending on student’s needs) in the center in which he/she was playing, they get a clipboard with all the students’ names and travels from center to center to find 5 children who are experts at cleaning up for the day. The “Supervisor” can reward those five with a High Five or Fist Bump at the end of clean up time or announce the names for the whole class to give a silent cheer.
- Allow the student to complete another job that consists of heavy pressure or heavy lifting such as taking a stack of books to a neighbor teacher or wiping all tables with a spray bottle of water and a rag (or just a wet rag).
Is clean up time after play centers becoming one of your greatest frustrations throughout the day?
TIPS and TRICKS to keep your blood pressure low during clean up:
· Time clean up each day and allow the students to predict how long it will take the next day. Graph the results and set challenges.
· Allow students to take pictures of items and place the picture on the shelf or bin where it belongs. By allowing the students the opportunity to label each of the bins, it provides them with more ownership and develops a sense of care and respect for the materials.
· Teach clean up rules and procedures during a small group time. Yes, you lose academic instruction during one small group time, but you gain LOTS of time with an entire year of quick clean up times. Plus, of course, you gain fewer frustrations and headaches!
· Have students take pictures of what the center looks like completely clean, neat and tidy and post those in the center or on the center bin.
· Have the students help write a book about what they do during play centers including how to clean up. Take pictures of the students to place in the book. Make sure to take pictures of the students who struggle the most with cleaning up during clean up time being amazing cleaners to place in the book. When you read the book over and over, you can point that they everyone cleans up quickly, treating the materials gently and safely just like _______.
What tips and tricks do you use for clean up time? Please share…
“Documentation is not pretty pictures of engaged children. Rather, it captures the thinking process: What motivated [students] to begin, continue, change direction? What were the breakthroughs, the pivotal remarks or actions? How did they solve the problem? The goal is to enable whoever reads a panel to understand what the child attempted and how they went about it, to see stimulus, process, and outcome.”
-A. Lewin-Benham (2006). Possible Schools: The Reggio Approach to Urban Education. New York: Teacher’s College Press.
While reflecting on this quote, think of your classroom walls:
- What is hanging on the walls?
- Is it a reflection of the children?
- Do the children look at, talk about, use the information that is hanging on the walls?
- Did the children have the opportunity to help create the pieces on the walls? As educators, we need to reflect on how we are showcasing the process of the learning of young children, how do we provide a visual to others of the children’s thinking.
I believe that if we had this goal in mind as we are hanging items on our walls and deciding how to document children’s learning- not just the end product but the process as well- it would serve as an incredible focal point for student conversations as well as provide an amazing visible display of what children are learning and thinking for parents, administrators and other stakeholders- what are your thoughts?