Good Morning!  Einstein, my sweet cat, says “Happy Sunday!”  Of course, everyday is the sabbath for Einstein.  😉
I have a trick to keeping the classroom tidy and clean.  It works wonders!  I use two strategies – procedures and group tally marks.


Clear procedures save hours of struggle in the classroom.  It is one of my best tips for classroom management on multiple levels.  I love the book “The First Six Weeks of School” from the Responsive Classroom folks.  It gives great tips for setting up those procedures.  Here is how I employ procedures to keep the class tidy:

My students are divided into five color groups.  Each group has their own table with their own “supply tub.”  (Tubs are from Mardel's and I found little matching cups for each color group at IKEA!)  Gotta love that place!)  There are rules or procedures for keeping the supply tub.  I start the year with just crayons, glue sticks and scissors.  The procedures are:

  • crayons go in their cup with the point up.
  • scissors go in their cup with the point down.
  • glue sticks go in their cup with the cap side up (so I can see that the caps are on!)
  • name tents go on the side of the cups.

Once they have these mastered, I add pencils and markers.

  • pencils go in their cup with the point up.  The erasers and pencil sharpener are kept in the same cup.
  • markers go in with the cap side up.  (so I can see that the caps are on!)

You can see the pencil sharpener in the same cup as the pencils – all points up.
MOTIVATION STRATEGY:I have my color groups posted on my white board (this is a photo from several years ago).  The names of the color groups are under the color marker.  The color groups sit on the carpet together in a row.

  • I give tally marks for groups who are following procedures on the carpet, during table work, and other special activities.  (Table procedures – all chairs pushed in, table cleared off, and nothing under the table or chairs.)
  • I mark those under their group on the white board.
  • I check their supply boxes and tables after table work (several times a day) and give 5 points the best kept table and supply box.   Some days the groups can have up to 35 – 40 points.

I begin the tally marks as the reward itself.  I like the group rewards vs. individual rewards.  I do not use rewards for individuals in my classroom as a rule.  I love the team work of the groups and the holding each other to account to care for their group resources.
After 6 to 8 weeks I move into – the groups “earn” the reward of markers.  Next comes glitter glue pens.  We are still here.  (There is one time a day when the groups are free to use the glitter glue pens.)  Oh!  Get this!  I have the group vote on the glitter pen they want!  It is so cool to see how after the first few times – they figure out how to get the majority rule!  Each group has about 4 glitter pens now. I found them at Michaels – very cheap!  Next the groups can earn colored pencils. for-the-teacher-10
The tally marks are put below the row of each color group.
There are those prized glitter glue pens!

It astonishes me how much pride and work they take to make sure their group's table and tub are in good tidy order.  Recently, the children have taken to cleaning the table and chairs with baby wipes.  Go figure!  But rock on!  Love the cleaning vibe happening!
Next Sunday, Guest Blogger Kerry Weisner shares her procedures that she uses to order her class.   So excited to share her wisdom!
Have a blessed day!