It's 2:10 and dismissal inches closer. My classroom floor is littered in pencils, books, papers, textbooks, reading bags, snack bags. Each day I feel my blood pressure rising a few notches as I try to remind my third graders to pick up their things over their gleeful, packing up chatter. It's always messy, it feels chaotic, and it's in sharp contrast to the organized, peaceful way our day begins.
This year, after reading Paul Solarz's Learn Like a Pirate, I've given up more ownership of the classroom to the students. My desk is now their desk- truly. It's called the Student Supply Center and we all have access to the materials on there. I don't sit there, not that I ever sat at the desk when it was MY desk anyway. I've assigned them many jobs I used to do and it is a good, positive thing for all of us. Still, dismissal has remained chaotic and the classroom left messy.
Today, I stopped them before they could begin packing up. I explained we were adding a job to our board- the Clean Up Captain. The Clean Up Captain would first remind everyone what they need to pack, then walk around the room and remind children what to pick up off the floor. By the time the C.U.C. got back to the first table, he would pick up any items left on the floor and put them in the large, brown box on the carpet. Students would need to pay 1 Class Dojo dollar for every item of theirs in the box.
The Captain willingly took on the task, saluting me to the laughter of my class. He inspected each table and removed a couple of items left behind on the floor. The room was spotless by the time we lined up to leave for buses.
If you have a lovely, peaceful way to get your students to pack up neatly, I would love to hear it! If you've been struggling with a crazy, messy dismissal, let the Clean Up Captain save your day, too.