Don’t Have The Disgusting Classroom… How to Keep It Clean


The beginning of the year is SUCH a fun and exciting time. We have fresh supplies, clean classrooms, new books for our library, fresh notebooks for our students, sometimes even new furniture.. and GRAND ideas of how our classroom is going to be run. HOWEVER, this year, and ALL years, CLEANLINESS needs to be top of mind for the classroom.

Guide to keeping a clean elementary school classroom.

Below I outline 5 steps to set our students and ourselves up for CLEANLINESS success this year:

1. Set EXPLICIT expectations for ALL classroom furniture

  • Students need to know EXACTLY how to use and NOT use furniture in the classrooms. These expectations should be posted, taught, retaught and referred to when necessary. By doing this explicitly in the Fall and keeping them posted throughout the year, there is no room for confusion with students, parents, guest teachers and any guest entering the classroom.
Flexible seating expectations for elementary students.

Looking for a quick (and editable) flexible seating expectation set? Snag what I use here and or click here to read more about how I set up flexible seating in my classroom.

2. Set CLEAR expectations for ALL supplies

  • How do you want students to keep track of their pencils, glue sticks, markers, crayons, etc. this year? Set CLEAR expectations with your students, keep this posted and make time to review/help your students get organized at the beginning of the year. By starting the year off slow and taking time to go over these routines, students will know your expectations and will be more likely to continue to follow them throughout the year.

Snag this EDITABLE classroom supply expectation chart set here.

3. Set ROUTINES for all activities including using the bathroom, washing hands, entering/exiting the classroom.

  • Practice, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Students need time to learn and master these routines to keep everyone safe and healthy. Start by making a list of every time students will be leaving the classroom or their seats, and write out exactly what you want that to look like. Then, review this with your students. And then… review it again! Give them time to practice and remind them throughout the year.

For example: Bathroom Routine:

  • Student Raise hand
  • Student Put on Mask
  • Student Use Hand Sanitizer
  • Student Grabs Bathroom Pass
  • Student Student Walks Quietly In Hallway
  • Student Uses Restroom
  • Student Washes Hands
  • Student Returns Bathroom Pass
  • Student Returns to Seat

You can even attach this to your bathroom pass as a constant reminder for students.

It might seem excessive, but it will pay off in the long run! For younger students, add images or keep your directions more simple.

4. Attend to SOCIAL EMOTIONAL needs.

Morning Meeting to boost social emotional learning in the elementary classroom.

5. Set aside time for cleaning each day.

  • Make a list of the days of the week and what you want deep cleaned each day.

For example:

  • Monday – Clean iPads
  • Tuesday – Clean Inside of Desk
  • Wednesday – Clean Book Bin
  • Thursday – Clean iPad
  • Friday – Clean Out Mailbox

You should also have a daily list:

  • Desk
  • Chair
  • Water Bottles
  • Masks
  • Personal Items

But most importantly.. students need TIME to do this. If you want it to be a priority, you have to make time for them to be successful. You will also need to provide tools for students to be successful. This might mean making sure students have plenty of Clorox Wipes or whatever cleaning supplies your school allows.

What are you implementing to make sure your students are successful in cleanliness this year?

Emily - The Mountain Teacher

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