Are you looking for a messy classroom desk solution? I always tell my kids that teachers have superpowers and can always spot the kids with messy rooms at home? Why…because their desk is a hot mess!!! You know it's true!
I've tried a lot of things over the years and have a few solutions to your messy classroom desk worries!
1. Desk Fairy and Mystery Student
I've always had a desk fairy, but never one with his or her own door that connects fairyland to our classroom. I was inspired by Teaching in Wonderland and knew I needed a fairy door as well. I added some velcro and the kids voted where the fairy door should reside. We posted it right above our daily schedule so they can see it daily. It definitely helped with student buy-in but isn't necessary.
Every few days, the desk fairy will visit and pass out certificates for friends with clean and messy desks. The kids get so excited about it and try harder to take pride in a clean workspace. So how do I remember to pass them out. I grab a few certificates and set them with my copies for the day so I don't forget. Want a free set?
Another idea that has worked well is the Mystery Student. I've used it in the past for behavior but have started using it for clean desks as well. Read all about it here and grab the label freebie.
2. Clipboard for unfinished work
I've tried every system to get my students to organize their unfinished work. The best thing I've found is giving each student a clipboard to keep on their desk. It's by far my favorite classroom hack! Any unfinished work gets clipped on it. It makes it easy to see who has work to catch up on. This also eliminates all those a ton of papers crumbled up in student desks.
3. Supply Caddies for every table
My favorite way to organize student supplies is with a simple supply caddy from Michaels or Target. No more storing supplies in messy desk where they tend to get lost in the black hole. I use cheap plastic cups to hold pencils, markers, and scissors. Super easy and everything is in one spot! Plus, our supply caddies double as a place for table points as well, which is great for small group incentives. All supplies go in the caddy for the entire table to use. In our class, we've got 5 table groups and 5 kids per table and this works great!
I struggle with my kindergarten kiddos and their unfinished work!! I LOVE the clipboard idea (and everything about this post)!!!!!!
I will definitely be putting this idea to use this year.
I have always used clipboard until this year. The challenge I have had was what do you do when they forget to put their name on their paper and you do not catch it. Then I have kids that would not remember it was theirs. Seriously cannot remember if they put their papers on a clipboard. Now I use folder with their names already on the folder. It secures their paper and help with identity crisis. I have them place the folder in the unfinished box and we come back to it later. Just a suggestion.
Sarah Lancaster says
I really liked the idea you shared about the “desk fairy”. I think this is a great way to help kids become more aware of keeping their desks organized and clean! I remember my brother’s elementary school desk was always a mess! His teacher would become so frustrated! I am planning on becoming an elementary school teacher and this is a great idea that I may use in the future when I have classes of my own! Thanks so much for sharing this!
Hi. I love all of your ideas. I am struggling with the behavior of 3 students who have totally changed the dynamics in my room. Please give me suggestions if you can. Thank you so much!
What are the behaviors?
I love the idea of unfinished work on clipboards. Do the students keep their clipboards at their desks or in a specific place in the classroom?
They keep it on top of their desk so that it’s a reminder for them!