Friday, June 28, 2013

Keeping Students' Desks Organized

Messy student desks drive me NUTS!! I have found a solution which has been effective year after year.   My students keep all their books, folders, white boards, etc. on the left hand side of their desk. I teach them to make a capital "L" with both hands. The one that is facing the correct way is their left hand. Eventually they learn the difference between left and right. They can also cheat and use their name tag. I always purchase the Really Good Stuff Desktop Helper, which has so much useful information for  the students to use throughout the year. Here is what the Desktop Helper looks like. (Click on the picture to go to the website.)

** I recommend the Deluxe Plastic version. Also, I do not just stick them to the desk. I Velcro them to the desk so that the students can clean under them throughout the year. 

Back the student desk... Here is a picture of one of my student's desks...


The biggest thing to keeping the students' desk clean is the small Sterlite basket. It hides EVERYTHING! You will have to measure to make sure it will fit in your desks. It fit perfectly into mine! Click on the image to go to the best deal I have found on them. 

12 baskets for $31.92. What is nice is that you will be able to use these baskets year after year.  It is worth the investment.

In these basket the students store their dry erase markers, scissors, classroom incentives (tickets, punch cards, etc.), dry erase board erasers, etc. These are the things that can make a desk look cluttered and messy. If you look at the picture of the student desk above, you will noticed I placed a binding ring on the basket. This helps the students pull their basket out of their desk more easily. 

Overall, the majority of my class has an organized desk. This is also due to desk inspections. There are two ways of doing this. One is having random desk inspections throughout the year. Before the students arrive at school, walk around and check each student desk. If it is clean and organized, they get a reward of some kind (candy, note, ticket, etc.). What ever your incentive may be. If it is messy, I "dump" their desk. I remove everything from the desk and place it on the floor under their desk. When they arrive at school they will have to reorganize their desk. To make this process go quicker, I usually ask other students (who keep their desk clean regularly) to help the students who had their desks dumped.  OR you can have the "Desk Fairy" come visit your classroom. Same concept as above (rewards for clean desk, desks are "dumped" for messy desks), but you pretend their is a fairy that actually comes to the classroom and checks the desk. The fairy may leave notes to the class or to individual students. You always play dumb as to what the fairy did. There always seems to be questions as to why their desk got dumped. I just tell them "I don't know. This is the way the room looked when I came into today. Maybe you should work a little bit harder at keeping your desk clean." The kids really enjoy it.

I hope these ideas will help keep those student desks clean.

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