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Brooke
 
 
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cure for messy desks?
Old 01-01-1970, 12:00 AM
 
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I have several students who come to a point when they can't close their desks. We investigate together and generally I find there are papers everywhere. These kids go to their mailboxes at the end of the day and apparently don't get to the step where they put those papers in their take home folder and then backpack. Are other teachers able to police this? It's amazing how those extra papers are the source of so much disorganization. I'd love to hear from you.


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some things that have worked before
Old 09-02-2006, 07:07 AM
 
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When this has been a problem before, I created a classroom job called "Desk Area Inspector." THe student would walk around and take a peek into each desk as we were packing up and look for papers and also loose pencils that should be in a school box or bag. This helped me a lot. Also, I've had a Desk Fairy when I taught 1st grade. I would look at the desks after the kids left and find someone who had it organized neatly. A small prize (pencil and note) would be left on the desk for the students to find the next day. I did this randomly throughout the year so the students never knew when it would happen and so I didn't have to remember a certain time either!

I hope this helps.
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desks
Old 09-02-2006, 07:56 AM
 
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I've also used the desk fairy which helps for some students. What I found to be most beneficial is to actually teach them how to clean their desks. We cannot assume that they know how to clean their desks. Just like anything else they need to know, we need to first show them what is expected. Also, give them time during the week to clean their desks. In the beginning of the year they bring in supplies. Some bring in too many things. So I have them put everything on their desks. Then I read from our supply list as they put items in their desks. I tell them what goes in their pencil cases too. When all has been read, they can see what is left on their desks. I tell them to take all that is on their desks home for use there. The only things that are to be in their desks are what I just read off the supply list. Then the next week or so, we have a desk cleaning time. I tell them to put everything from their desks on the floor under their desks into three piles. One pile is for things to throw away, the second is for things to take home and the third pile for things that stay in their desks that they pup on top of their desks for now. I like to roam around the room to make sure they are following direction the first few times. I have a student bring around the trash can for their garbage. I tell them this is how they will clean their desks when we have desk cleaning time again. This is when I tell them that sometimes a desk fairy comes into out room to see how clean their desks are and she might leave something in their desks if it is.
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desk fairy
Old 09-02-2006, 09:37 AM
 
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I'm so glad I read this! I remember reading about the desk fairy in the past, but had forgotten about it. I have a few students whose desks are just unbelievable - in no time at all. I'll remind them there should never be loose paper in their desk - that means it's not where it belongs. I have actually shown them and gone through the process of cleaning their desks, but I think I'm going to start with a desk fairy and a cubby fairy (that's also a problem with a few) to reward the ones who keep it neat, and hopefully encourage the ones who don't. They'll love that, and it'll be easy to do!
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Old 09-02-2006, 09:49 AM
 
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I use team points and have a "desk drawing" at the end of every day. If the student whose name I pull has a clean desk, three points are added to their group. If it's messy, I take away three and they need to stay in to clean out their desk.


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Desk Fairy
Old 09-02-2006, 11:40 AM
 
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Here is the poem that can be typed on a card.

THE CLEAN FAIRY
STOPPED BY TODAY
YOUR DESK WAS NICE AND NEAT
SO AS A LITTLE NOTE OF THANKS
SHE LEFT THIS LITTLE TREAT!
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guided cleaning
Old 09-02-2006, 11:42 AM
 
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It's a great idea to teach them how to clean their desks, but with my grade ones, I find I really have to guide them through that process step by step all year. Otherwise, the messy ones still have messy desks. I do as another poster mentioned, and tell them one item at a time what can go back in their desks, the rest of the stuff goes home, The first times we do it, it takes 10 - 15 minutes or so, but after a couple of months it goes much more quickly. However I found if I just say "clean your desks" I don't get the result I need, so I guide them through the process every Friday, just before "Free Choice Friday" activities. (That way, those who have tidy desks are done and packed up and enjoying their free choices while those with a pile of things to go through may not get to the fun so soon.) I also have a "desk fairy" (I use a different name but its me) where I check desks about once a week, not on a predictable day, and leave a calling card that can be turned in for a visit to the treasure box.

It is important to really think about what kids store in their desks. See if some items that are used only occasionally could be stored on a shelf instead, things like extra supplies, and books needed only once or twice a week. I even keep the scissors and gluesticks in baskets and pass them out as needed. That way I also have fewer items lost or misused. I try to have as little as possible stored in those desks.

If a paper will be needed often, like a poem, research info, hundreds chart, or numberline it goes into a subject duotang. If its only needed once or twice, and then will go home, it goes in the pocket folder. When I tell them "Put it in the orange folder", I scan for the flash of orange - I know which kids are prone to just toss it loose into the desk and I try to stop that if I have the time. When its no longer needed it goes into the mailbox or is collect for me to file into the home folder.

With all of this, there are still a few messy desks, but the majority are easy to find things in, and the Friday cleanup ensures nothing is lost for long.
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desk map
Old 09-02-2006, 03:17 PM
 
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Make a desk map.

I have one that I use that shows exactly where I want everything. (Actually I'm not really a very organized person, but my kid's desks are always immaculate). To make the desk map, use construction paper to cut out the objects-- make sure they are even the same color. On one of the sides, I have a cut out of a clipboard, yellow, green, and orange folder. It might sound really annal-- but I even make them put them in the same order as the desk map. The other side has a color copy picture of our math book, a cut out of a white board, and a copy of the front of their journal. I put a rectangle where the pencil box goes, and I draw in the only thing that they are allowed to have in the little lip of their desk-- one pencil, a dry erase marker, and an eraser.

The rule is that "every paper has a folder". Our class puppet checks the desks (similiar to the desk fairy), but only gives tickets to those that look exactly like the map-- no loose papers.

Yes-- it's extreme, but the kids like the structure and really pride themselves on copying hte desk map to the tee. Ever since I've started it, I've had no problem with desks, and have spent very little time worrying about them.
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