Spring is known for many things, but one of the more reoccurring themes is renewal. A time to start fresh with new ideas and clean spaces. With the school year already half way over, classrooms can become cluttered with past work and begin to stifle the learning environment. That's why we thought we would help you out with tips on how to make spring cleaning in the classroom beneficial to you and your students!
1. Purge the Paperwork
With as many little minds as you have to keep up with, there is no wonder stacks of paper litter the classroom. Spring cleaning will allow you to relinquish the tendency to horde. It will make you think twice about the piles in your classroom and whether or not they are necessary when plunging into the second half of the school year. Here are a few tips from teachers on how to keep the mess manageable:
- Avoid piles: You're not alone if you find yourself surrounded by 'organized' piles. A great way to avoid this is to have a 'home' for every pile in the classroom. Set aside bins for paper and supplies.
- Recycle what you can't use: A great idea for surplus material is to recycle the paper! This can be done through regular recycling bins or it can be passed on to an incoming teacher.
- Use the 1-year rule: One teacher simply suggest that if you haven't used the material in a year, "Get rid of it!"
Resources: http://www.teachhub.com/spring-cleaning-3-tips-tackle-classroom-organization and http://www.uft.org/new-teacher-articles/don-t-look-now-it-s-time-pre-spring-cleaning
2. Re-organize Your Classroom
How a classroom is organized plays a huge role in how children function academically. If a space is stifling, children can find themselves easily distracted and less prone to pay attention. Here are a few ways to breathe life into your classroom and inspire your students to learn:
- Personalize the space: A great way to make an inspiring space is to put children's work on display around the room. This fills them with a sense of accomplishment and allows the room to feel personalized.
- Labeled learning centers: Make sure your centers are clearly defined. Centers need to be mapped out and contents belonging to each one should not be scattered around the room but within designated centers.
- Clear away the clutter: It is important that everything in your room can be easily found by you and your students. Take the time to throw things out like broken crayons, floating papers, and knick-knacks that no longer serve a purpose. One teachers suggested labeling storage bins with pictures of what items inside should look like.
- Get inspired: Every great classroom has the following elements: texture, colors, nature, furnishings, displays, elements and focal points. Make sure your students step in and feel inspired!
Finally, if you're more interested in the design aspect of reorganizing your classroom, you can read how to design creative spaces and find organizational tips, visual examples and more in the following books:
3. Get Students to help Clean the Classroom
Finally, we can't overlook the actual cleaning part of Spring Cleaning! Instead of a drudgery, this time can be turned into a fun hands-on activity for your kids to get involved!
Use kid-friendly supplies: Here are a list of kid-friendly supplies you can set your students loose with as they put their boundless energy to good use. Your classroom will be left looking shiny and smelling fresh!
Dance as you work: Kids love to move! Turn some music on as they dance while they clean.
Play a sorting game: Using the bins mentioned above, students will be more likely to engage in cleaning when there are designated storage spaces. Competition always spurs children to become more invested.
Resources: http://www.education.com/magazine/article/spring-cleaning-get-kids-involved/ and https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2013/03/five-tips-spring-cleaning-classroom
We hope you found these classroom spring cleaning tips helpful! Join the conversation and let us know how you keep your classroom feeling fresh for the latter part of the year by commenting below.