Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Works For Us Wednesday: Secret Scrap

Heidi says: We were cutting a lot of papers for math the other day which, inevitably, left a blanket of confetti on the floor. It's those moment when I'd like to kiss the person that invented "secret scrap." I do it a little differently than Emily, so I'll let her chime in with her ideas below. In my class when we have a huge mess to clean in a hurry, I choose a bit of litter on the floor (as minuscule as possible) and announce that I've picked a "secret scrap." They immediately go crazy getting everything they can off the floor. The first few times we have a talk about what to do with things (like books) that obviously aren't garbage. If their little hands are starting to get full (and the floor is still dirty) I tell them that no one has found it and to dump their piles and keep looking. When the floor is clean or the scrap is found, I have them line up at the garbage so I can inspect their finds. I look at their piles until I find the person who found the right bit of litter. And if I sometimes don't really pick out an actual scrap and instead give the prize to someone who was working hard or could use a little happiness, well the kids don't know the difference!

Emily says: I do the routine in the same way except I don't want to look through the trash from the floor so I just tell them I'm watching them as they clean and I see who picks up the "secret scrap." I don't announce who picked it up until the floor is as clean as I want it. And, like Heidi, I often pick the person who worked the hardest to clean or who might need a pick-me-up.

Do you have any ideas for cleaning up the room?


  1. i think this would go over so well with my kindergarten kids! i'm definitely going to try it out.

  2. This is SUCH a cute idea! My daughter has recently become a scrapbooking addict (much like her momma) and I walk into a living room full of tiny pieces of paper all the time. I wonder if this would work with just one child! :)

  3. I also use this idea yet in 5th grade! I call it "Magic Trash." I too pick a certain person based on how hard they tried, or if I haven't picked them in awhile. Sometimes, I just pick the person that found the most interesting piece of trash. Anyway, that person gets a treat from my "Treasure Chest."

  4. oh-h-oh-ho... very clever! My mother-in-law was a teacher and at the end of the year she would give out "awards". "AWARDS" that all their classmates had voted on .... so if she had a class of 25, there would be 25 catergories... I watched her "tally" the votes. She took joeys paper that he filled out and then.. whatever he marked himself as... that was the award he got! Sometimes there were mulitples.. so she would have to look at the actual count- or use her best judgement- but I thought that was a sneaky- teacher insight!


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