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Classroom Cleanup Routine

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Heidi Jo Gallagher | Wichita Collegiate School | Wichita, Kansas

This video shares 4 steps that can be used in setting a routine for cleaning up the classroom. The teacher gives students three “warnings;” about how much time is left before they need to start cleaning. Then as they are cleaning up, she plays a song that gives cues about how much time is left for cleanup.

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Throughout the day we encounter many times that we need to follow a similar routine in order, to achieve a comfortable classroom. So, one of those instances is cleaning up our room after playtime or after a lesson. I like to teach my students how to clean up a room from the first day of class. What we need to do is we teach it in four steps, so, the first step is as the students are playing I give them a warning. I say you have five minutes until we need to clean up our room. They’ll keep playing and they will know “Oh, it’s okay, I have five minutes to finish what I’m doing”. Then after a little while I will give them another warning, “You have three minutes until we clean up our toys”. And they’ll keep playing and they will start realizing, “Oh, I need to finish up.” Then I’ll give them their one-minute warning. “You have one minute until we clean up our toys”. They will start realizing “Alright I have to be done, I have to be calm, I can be done”. Then I stop, and I will go and turn on a song. I turn on a song because, it is a specific amount of time usually, about two and half to three minutes, and the music in the song gives children cues as to how much they have left to pick up. So, I’ll turn on my song and the children will know to start picking up and putting away there toys back on the shelf. First, they take care of themselves, they clean up their toys in their area, and then they go and help others clean up their space. After that, I have the children have a designated area they meet me. Which is usually my rug. I have a rug they sit on, and they sit down, and they cross their legs and they wait. While they are cleaning up I am giving them praise, I’m telling good job this looks nice and clean. And so, then they all know that when they are done they can go sit in the rug until I am ready, and the song is over. When the song is over I join them. I tell them thank you for cleaning up, our room looks nice, you took good care of our things now we can do something else. And the children know, one, they did a good job. Two, they took care of their surroundings and they are proud of what they did. And three, things are now calm so, they can go ahead and focus on the next activity we have at hand.

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