Bright Idea: The 60-Second Clean-Up

I hate when my classroom is messy.   It drives me crazy when there is paper or other things strewn all over the floor.  I mean, why does there have to be a junky mess everywhere?   It makes sense to me that if a mess is made, it should be picked up.  So from day one of class, I teach my students how to clean up and show them the that I expect that their workspace will be spotless. (seriously, I don't allow trash on my floor.  Ever.  I just can't take it.)

One thing I implement in my room is the "60 second clean up".  It is the easiest, fastest way I know to get the room spic and span.  Here is how it goes.

I count down aloud from 60 to 0.  During that time, the students are moving around the room, some with brooms, some without,  picking up any mess that they made.  Pencil shavings are swept.  Pieces of paper are picked up.  Anything that has been dropped is removed from the floor.

By the time I get to 10, the students begin heading back to their seats.  When I reach 0, they are all sitting with their hands folded.

There are only two rules:  Everyone helps.  No talking.

It is quick and simple and painless.  My room is clean and we have a place to function that we can be proud of.

How do you get your students to keep their areas and the common class space clean?


  1. I love this idea! I also hate a messy room.

    Thinking Out Loud

  2. Such a great idea, Stephanie! I always need a clean room or I go a little crazy ;) I love the idea of counting down and no talking! I think I'll be starting this tomorrow ;)

    Fun in Room 4B

  3. oooo...I love your way of doing this!! I am with you on the cleanliness, I have to have a clean room before we leave for the night. Well, MY desk is another story sometimes ;)

    1. I hear you on the desk part. The rest of my classroom is totally clean, and then there is my desk..... ;) One of my students actually volunteered last week to stay after school and clean it up! haa haa

    2. Ummm, yeah on the desk! I've also had kids volunteer to clean my desk for me!
      Thanks for the idea, though, Stephanie. I use songs in my class a lot, so I could easily find a 60-second song, which would translate to the quick-clean-up song!

  4. I love this! I can't stand to have my own classroom messy. I have a procedure for everything. Btw, how did you get involved in Bright Ideas. I would love to join.

    1. Courtney, The Bright Ideas blog hop was set up by a bunch of old long time bloggie friends. Everyone has known each other for a while now and it just snowballed from there. Currently, it is capped at 150 participants so there is no more space for new additions. So sorry about that :(

  5. I implemented the "magic object" at the end of the day. I would look around the classroom and choose something that was out of place. I wouldn't say it out loud, but let students know when I had decided. Students then scrambled to clean up and find the magic object. After a couple minutes (when the class was cleaned to an acceptable degree!), I would announce who had found the magic object. They wrote their name on a slip of paper and on Friday we did a draw for a prize. HIGHLY motivating and engaging for my students.

  6. Great tip! Everyone should take note of that, as well as the underlying principle of simply keeping the mess to a minimum. A clean room is not only a healthy room. It is also a mannered and proper room, that accomodates everyone because very little stand in the way, such as germs or mere clutter, and that is what's of utmost important for places of learning. Thanks for sharing that, Stephanie! Kudos and all the best to you!

    Gregory Snyder @ Executive Image


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