Do you remember how organized and clean everything looked in your classroom on the first day at school? It is without a doubt that it doesn’t look the same anymore. You do so many activities as a teacher with your class that doesn't allow for many cleaning dates for your classroom. It is essential to know that a clean environment is good practice of a self-care routine for teachers because it gives you both relaxation and peace of mind.
So when will you find time to clean your classroom? This article will offer you tips that will show you how to clean your classroom in just five days, while only committing twenty minutes every day!
Day 1: Plan your 'cleaning and organizing' time.
Be purposeful about the specific time you have allocated for cleaning, and you should not allow other activities to take over that schedule. Pick the best time for your class, and prepare a cleaning schedule. It may work best before the school day begins, or afternoons once school is over, or maybe during a prep period while class is in session. Or, get your students involved and let them know they will get to help with the project!
Day 2: When in doubt, throw it out.
Start by tackling the surface clutter. Clearing the surface clutter will do so much to rejuvenate your space. If there are outdated or damaged items that are cluttering the room, speak to your Principal about your intention to throw them away, or possibly a recycling option. Pick one corner and set a timer of fifteen to twenty minutes and move as fast as possible, collecting anything that is not supposed to be there. Decide on what to do with the broken, worn out, or torn materials. You can either make plans to repair them, replace them or throw them away. After making a complete circle back to your starting point, go to the middle of the classroom and clear any clutter that might be present. Things you wish to keep should not distract you. You will deal with them in the next cleaning stage.
Day 3: Put things where they belong -with the help of your students.
The goal is to take the minimum time possible to finish this task, and we recommend you set your timer to twenty minutes to ensure that your focus is on the job. Student involvement will help make this efficient because your students will quickly move things to the right place, and they will also feel honored to help! Ensure that you teach the students the required routine and reinforce it so that there is no time wastage in clearing other messes.
The purpose is to keep everything where it belongs. Choose one corner where you will start and move in a clockwise direction until you reach your starting point. As you progress in the clockwise direction, remember to collect anything that is out of place and put it back in its designated area in the classroom. When you come across something that needs relocation, hand it to the student to take it to the appropriate place. Everything is now where it belongs!
If you still have some time left, you can use the help of the students to organize bins of art material and classroom supplies. The students can help test whether the markers and highlighters are working, discard dry ones, check the glue sticks, replace the missing caps, or help sharpen colored pencils in a community bin.
Day 4: Address the items that require more TLC.
On day 4, we will look at the areas in our classroom which looked great on our first school day, but with time they look tattered and torn as the days go by. Grab a chair, sit in the middle of the classroom. Take a piece of paper, divide it into three parts, and label the parts: repair, replace, and gather. Set a timer for twenty minutes, and take that time to look for the items that need TLC. Like the previous days, start from one corner, but now look clockwise at the class from your seat. There could be damaged bulletin board trims, torn signs and posters, outdated seasonal displays, or charts that have faded.
Use the three parts of the paper to categorize those items that need repair, replacement, or those you need to gather and pack to complete the job. If you have some time left, you can check those items that require quick fixing. You can start by straightening crooked posters, etc., finishing them quickly, taking your paper with you. Plan how to repair what needs repair, and the items or equipment needed.
Day 5: Fix any repairs needed.
You've made a list of the items that need to be fixed or replaced. Today we will take time to take care of the items on this list. Begin by doing away with anything damaged beyond repair. Start with quick fixes, like putting a tape on a torn poster. If you need assistance, plan a time with maintenance or your school custodian. As you fix these items, remove the items that you have fixed from your list.
The spring cleaning tips discussed above will make the class cleaning process simple and less overwhelming. If you commit to classroom spring cleaning, you will not only get rid of dust and clutter, but also sanitize the class from germs and give it a fresh feel for everyone. It is sure to re-energize you for final weeks of the school year!