Tried-It Tuesday: Magic Piece of Trash

Confession time: my classroom is often a mess.
Not disorganized, just messy.
Messy classrooms can sometimes be a good thing :)
The students' desks are often exploding (no matter how many times the "desk fairy" comes to visit), their shoes track in mud, grass, and wood chips after each recess, and a myriad of pencils, pens, markers, etc. like to fly out and congregate on the floor each night.
At the end of each day, I ask my students to clean up their floor space, but undoubtedly, once everyone has filtered out to where they need to go, the floor is still a danger zone.
 
Today I decided to try something to help with the clean-up process.
I'm linking this idea up with my bud, Holly, from "Fourth Grade Flipper"
http://fourthgradeflipper.blogspot.com/2014/04/tried-it-tuesday-intermediate-science.html
 
We had done a major art project this afternoon.
Fun?
Yes.
Engaging?
Sure.
Messy?
You bet!
Creativity is Messy and We are Very Creative Kids Playroom Wall Decal, Craft room decor sign, Classroom art studio, Create Words on Etsy, $15.00
At the end of the day, I rang my bell and told the students to "clean up."
Five minutes later, the students were seated, ready to go...and the floor was still a mess.
So I picked out (im my head) a MAGIC PIECE OF TRASH!!!
 
I didn't tell the students WHICH piece it was, but I did challenge them: whoever picked it up would win the game! Well if there's one thing about this class, it's that they're competive! They jumped out of their seats and started picking up (and throwing away) construction paper, pencils, food wrappers, etc. I kept an eye on my chosen piece (today it was a goldfish cracker) and at the end of 3 minutes, I announced that no one had picked up my piece. So they zoomed around again, cleaning the carpet with uncharacteristic veracity :) Finally, one of my boys picked it up and threw it away, winning the competition! I announced that he was the winner - and he beamed :)
 
Note: even if a student picked it up in the first minute, I wouldn't announce it until the end, because then the kids will stop cleaning :)
 
I wish I had taken before and after pictures - but you can use your imagination!
 
It's simple.
It's fun.
It's motivating.
It works.
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