Back to School Blog Hop & TPT Giveaway

BTS Blog Hop Giveaway

I'm linking up with Heidi over at Droppin Knowledge and a whole crew of other wonderful first grade teachers to share our favorite back-to-school tips and for a HUGE TPT giveaway! There are four different prize packs including our favorite products from our TPT stores, just in time for the start of the new school year!

Click here to check out the sponsors! Make sure to enter then read on for one of my favorite ways to keep kids organized from the start of the year.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

For the first few years I was teaching, I notoriously over planned the first days of school. I had so many activities I wanted to do- and I would feel defeated when I wouldn't get to everything. It finally clicked after a while, and I learned to prioritize the activities I had  to do (attendance, lunch count, snack, procedural lesson) and save the fun activities for when time allowed it. By the end of each day I would have accomplished everything I truly needed to do, as well as several extra things! Anything I didn't get to? I moved it to the next day.

Truth is- the first day is chaotic. We can't expect to do too much. Keeping it simple is much better! One activity I always do on the first day? The Anatomy of a Clean Desk. Yes, yes- I do realize that first graders have no clue what the word "anatomy" means. But it's the perfect word for this lesson!

The Anatomy of a Clean Desk

Organization is very important to me. I try my best to help my students stay organized throughout the year. In the past I would get extremely frustrated by desks that were in constant disarray. I would have my kids clean them out, help them put everything back- and the desk would be back to its previous state in a matter of hours. Then it occurred to me- maybe some kids don't know how to organize a desk...

I mean- I don't expect kids to just know how to read and write... why would I expect them to know how to keep a desk clean? I decided then and there I would come up with a first day lesson on keeping a clean desk.

After collecting communal supplies (more about that in a later post), I teach my kids exactly how to keep a clean desk. 
  • Talk about what a clean desk is.
  • Discuss why it's important to have a clean desk. (I like to write their responses on chart paper or the Smart Board).
  • Go through identifying each tool and book. (After eight years of teaching first grade, I've learned to assume they know nothing).
  • View and discuss The Anatomy of a Clean Desk on the SmartBoard. (Or print the pages out if you don't have one). It's simple, but effective.

  • Model exactly how to put the supplies away.
  • Guide the students in putting the supplies away, step by step. Some will need more help than others-even after this whole lesson!
  • When everyone is set- challenge them to put things back in the same order. Ask them to take out one or two supplies/books and then put them back in the same place. Do this a couple times.
  • Throughout the rest of the week, refer to this lesson- reminding them to keep their desks neat.
I know it seems like a lot of trouble- but it doesn't take long, and makes such a difference! Be ready to revisit the lesson at different points during the year as a refresher... there will always be a couple of sweethearts that need it. :) Click the image below to grab The Anatomy of a Clean Desk.

Anatomy of a Clean Desk

How do you help your students stay organized?