Use Cleaning for Icebreaker Activities
You can turn cleaning into a game and use it as a way for your students to get to know each other. For instance, if you are trying to collect the supplies that they brought for the whole classroom, you could create a whole activity out of that. Ask your students to sit in a circle and place one item in the center if they agree with a certain question. "Who went on vacation this summer?" Students that did place their tissue boxes in the center of the circle. Then you can gather them up and put them in the appropriate place. Move on to the next question.
For the last one, ask the students who is ready to have a great tie this year, and have them put all the extra supplies into the center. It may seem like a drawn-out process, but it lets you gather the supplies you need from them and get to know your students at the same time.
Isolate Messy Activities
You don’t know how your students will behave yet, so you cannot be sure just how messy they might get for arts and crafts. If you know you are going to have a messy activity for them to do, try to contain the activity in one part of the classroom – preferably somewhere that has tile flooring for easy cleaning. Once you start to understand how your students act this year, you can plan activities that best suit their maturity level and cleaning abilities.
Teach Your Children to Clean as They Go
Every time you get ready to start a new set of lessons, ask your children to clean up from the previous set. This may be something as simple as putting their books away and bringing out the new books for the new class. It could also mean putting away papers, pens, tablets, or anything else you use from one subject to the next. If you have indoor recess, make sure the students clean up before returning to class. Instilling this frame of mind will keep clutter to a minimum in your classroom.
Encourage Students to Use Hand Sanitizer
You may not always have time to let each of your students wash their hands, but you can at least teach them to use hand sanitizer before and after certain activities. For instance, you may ask them to use hand sanitizer when they get back from playing outside or just before they go to lunch. Place a big bottle near each of the doors for easy access when your students want to use it. This will get them in the habit of cleaning their hands in the winter months when germs run rampant, and it will teach them the importance of having clean hands.
Make the most of your first few weeks of school by teaching your students the importance of classroom cleaning. Once they get the hang of it all, they will enjoy helping you keep your class looking great.