Have you ever walked into a Kindergarten classroom and marveled at how, even with 25 little ones who are new to this school thing can be so focused, organized and tidy with only one teacher (maybe two) while at home your two trash the place in 30 seconds flat the minute your back is turned?
Early elementary teachers have a host of tricks up their sleeves!
Table Trash Bins
When littles are doing crafts that require cutting out, have a container in the middle of the table for them to put their trash in. It doesn’t need to be big, a 3-4 cup ‘Tupperware” is fine. But they likely have one in the classroom and they are used to keeping things tidy there – use this to keep them tidy at home
The Colored Clip-Person On The Board
Ever look in a kindergarten classroom and see various colors of clip-people on the board holding different things, or just hanging out waiting. They all have a purpose. The kids all know what the purpose is. For example, the red one may hold work that the class did yesterday so if you were out, look at the clip for what you need to do. The white one may hold the envelopes of lunch money so if you have lunch money go clip it with everyone else’s….etc. Get a clip-person and put it on the fridge. Tell the kids this is where they have to clip their permission slips so that you will see them and sign them. Remind everyone before/after dinner “slips are all on the clip yes?”
Do Now Activity
In most classrooms, up through High School you will see these written on the board. The kids enter the classroom and immediately look to the Do Now to see what they have to do on entering the room. The hit their seats and immediately pull out the materials for the Do Now and get to work. The teacher now has 5 minutes to get things together for the class! Give them a “Do Now” fun activity while they sit at the restaurant table and wait for meals to be served. They will quickly get used to the routine. It can be as simple as a plain piece of paper and crayons and ask them to draw a specific thing (frog, chicken…).
Create a picture chart for the morning routine (or any time of day routine that you need to get through). In all classrooms, you will see a chart that shows how to write a book report or how to’s for all kinds of other things. If you have the same morning/evening routine every day have the kids help you create a poster that shows all the steps in order. Number them too so they have another opportunity to learn their numbers.
The Classroom Helper Board
Kids love to help out. Classrooms have the “classroom helper” board and pins, pegs, or sticks to show who is assigned each particular task that week. Use this system to rotate chores between kids or if there are things that the kids often fight over.
Use Command Hooks
These are great to place things at kids’ height. This allows you to move things up as they grow. If they can’t reach the hook to hang their coats then the coat is going straight on the floor.
Sarah Moore is a business strategist who turns women business owners into CEOs. She has over 20 years’ experience of slaying chaos in the corporate world as well as at home as a single mom to two, now mostly grown daughters. To learn more about Sarah you can visit her Facebook page here.