Making a Game Out of Clean-up
Having trouble getting your students to keep play areas clean? Make the experience fun by creating clean-up game cards!
Begin by making a list of the daily chores that need to be completed (e.g. water the classroom plants, reorganize the bookshelf, pick up toys, pass back papers in "return" bin, return craft supplies to proper place, etc.), then design a card for each task. Note: If you know a certain duty will require the participation of more than one student, make several of that particular chore card. Each chore card should contain:
- The specific task to be completed (e.g. Water the classroom plants).
- Directions for completing the chore (e.g. You'll find our recycled juice jug in the closet. Quietly take this to the bathroom, fill it to the line with water, then divide it equally between the plants in the classroom.)
- Recommendations on when to complete the task (e.g. Please water the plants at the beginning of quiet time).
- Directions on how long the task should take to complete (e.g. 10 minutes).
If you're good with computers, consider using a word processing program to create the cards, adding clip art and other interesting designs or graphics. If creating game cards by hand, use a variety of colors and think about adding magazine clippings or your own hand drawn graphics. To use cards, draw student names (or numbers if you use a numbering system) from a cup at the beginning of each day and have the selected students draw from the deck of cards. Some students will be able to complete their chores right away, while other will need to wait for the specified time, but charge them with doing their best job as they'll receive bonus points, a treat, etc. for their work. Do not return their names to the cup and draw a fresh set of names the next morning until each student has had a turn.