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Lesson 3: Cleaning for the Classroom Have you ever had to get ready for your mother to come and visit? You spend days cleaning and by the time she arrives you are worn out. I want you happy and rested by the first day of school. We use a simple little technique to keep us from crashing and burning. At the same time it keeps us fresh and excited about what we are doing.
We are going to do what I call Crisis Cleaning for the Classroom.
The object of crisis cleaning is to keep our energy levels up and not get bored with what we are doing. In our homes we spend 15 minutes in our kitchen, 15 minutes in our Living Rooms, and 15 minutes in our bathrooms.
The last 15 minutes of each hour is spent with our feet up thinking about what we are going to do next, resting, and drinking our water.
Now if you would like to break your classroom room area up into zones this would be a good time to do it.
Zone 1 -The front of the Room Zone 2- Your desk and where your students work Zone 3 - The wall the door is on Zone 4 - The back wall (or side wall, if your door is opposite of your back wall) Zone 5 - The wall opposite the door Now that was easy!
You can use Crisis Cleaning with the zones or you can include working on your control journal templates, decluttering and cleaning into the system. It is your room and you get to play any way you want to.
Just don’t forget to take those breaks each hour. I don’t want you to crash and burn! Pace yourself and have fun. Work with a friend. Put on some peppy music and FLY!
Lesson #4: Daily Routines Routines are the foundation of what I teach. A routine is a set of habits strung together into a chronological order. It is like learning a dance step.
As the habits become part of us and our students we all know what comes next without even asking or telling. Your students love routines.
Here is a testimonial from a homeschool mom to give you an example:
I have four children, and we homeschool (adventure school - we get out and DO rather than sit looking at books). Anyway part of their life training is household management. I want them to leave home knowing how to run their own homes and to be empowered to do it Flylady style! So they do the morning routine with me, after breakfast and before our morning walk (also instilling a habit of exercise). It can be tough to keep four kids from running in different directions when they know it's time to clean so we make it fun! THEY have thought of three variations, and I wanted to share in case it helps other families make cleaning fun.
Variation 1: We only do three rooms on each floor (I'll tell you why in a minute). We set our timer for two minutes and attack the first room. We bustle around the room and distribute the clutter: anything that belongs in that room gets put in its place. Anything that belongs on another floor gets set in front of the stairs. Anything that belongs in a different room gets placed in the doorway of that room. It sounds confusing, but if you picture it, you're just staging the items for the next room rescue. At the end of two minutes we stop. We pick another room and start the timer. As we begin the other room we swoop up the small pile of things that were staged in that doorway. The part the kids like best is the stair chain.
Remember the small pile at the bottom of the stairs? The kids pick spots on the stairs and pass up the items to me, at the top (or bottom). As they hand them to me I dash around and put them in their proper doorways. The kids love seeing me move my franny. And then they come upstairs and we do three rooms. Why three rooms on each floor? Three rooms at two minutes a room is six minutes on each floor. Allow a couple of minutes for the stair chain, and we have a 15 minute HOUSE rescue. They are always amazed at the difference just 15 minutes has made in the ENTIRE house. Lately the kids have pretended they are bees buzzing the clutter out of their hive, as we attack each room. Whatever works - they are being creative and making cleaning FUN, and we are moving our bodies and getting some exercise - and some fun family time. (What happens to the small piles in rooms we didn't choose? I just put those things away, there are usually not many. Or I can put them in a basket in the entrance of that room for us to do the next day.) Variation 2: We march through the house counting our multiplication tables.
Every 10 numbers the lead drops to the end and the second person gets to lead. The leader takes us through the house as fast or slow as (s)he wants.
Along the way we grab anything out of place and either run to put it away if it goes in that room (before the leader takes us out of the room), or we carry it and drop it as close to its room as the line takes us. We count up and then we count down. We may boogy, run, or act crazy in our line. When I lead it I might vamp, sashay, or act like Dory from Nemo ("who are these people following me??). It's like Follow the Leader while we clean. When our three year old leads the line he pretends we are chasing him and he runs with us running after, grabbing clutter and putting it away. It is fast and fun and so is the math learning. It's good to incorporate the body in learning math - it internalizes the memory better than does sitting looking at a multiplication table.
Variation 3: With no timer, the kids pick a room. One kid plays a drum (an African talking drum each one made) while the others clean. When the drummer stops, they freeze. They take turns drumming.
As you can see the variations are always coming. I love it as much as they do and besides the family fun, it reinforces that they don't need One Perfect way to clean. And they don't have to Clean Perfectly each time - as you say housework done imperfectly still blesses the family. The last thing I want to do is pass along perfectionism or a dread of housework, so I'm doing my part to make it as fun as possible.
Shannon in CA
CHECK YOUR MORNING SCHOOL FLY LIST
1. Do you have your exercise clothes, water bottle, lunch, and snack planned?
2. Have you checked your Hot Spots and put out any fires?
3. Fill your coffee mug and water bottle.
4. Have your needed teacher supplies out.
5. Did you have any breakfast?
6. Fulfill your to-do list before school starts.
7. Have you taken a break this morning? Have you had any water?
CHECK YOUR AFTERNOON SCHOOL FLY LIST
1. Did you have any lunch/water?
2. Have you exercised today?
3. Go do a 5-Minute Desk/Closet Rescue!
4. Have you taken a break this afternoon to just sit and be good to yourself?
5. Are you caught up on grading/filing?
6. Make copies/lessons for tomorrow, including necessary supplies.
CHECK YOUR EVENING SCHOOL FLY LIST
1. Lay out your lessons for tomorrow. Are the copies made?
2. Is your DESK CLEAN?
3. Go put out your Hot Spots!
4. Finish before dinner is served.
5. EXERCISE after dinner, if you have not already done so.
START YOUR BEFORE BED ROUTINE AFTER DINNERWe need our beauty sleep as well as rest for our bodies and minds.
1. Lay out exercise clothes and water bottle.
2. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow, including shoes.
3. Put things on the launch pad if you have something on the calendar the next day.
4. Review menu plan for next day. Move items from freezer if necessary.
5. Make a to-do list. (Keep it short!)
You can use the FlyLady zones in your school room. Every week declutter and detail clean each zone (but the kids bear the brunt of the responsibility here - never do for a child what he can do himself!). However, your desk still has to be clean each day before dinner. Five minutes at the beginning of the day, check to see that the learning area is tidy and running efficiently. You can use the jobs listed below for the children. Your plants will never die, library books will never be overdue, attendance gets taken, the room is always clean, and the Reporter and Meteorologist help remember to do calendar and weather, and they lead it instead of you. You can start teaching at 9:00 sharp instead of 9:30 - WITH a CLEAN room.
Librarian - returns all library books in book crate, straightens books, arranges pillows in the Reading Corner Custodian - keeps floor clean, washes tables, makes sure desks are organized Secretary - Files worksheets in each student's file, marks attendance Botanist - waters, fertilizes, and prunes plants Meteorologist - keeps track of weather charts on bulletin board, calls Time and Temp, gives the morning weather report Reporter - keeps track of and performs calendar duties Add to this as needed. I need to add a Veterinarian for animal care in the mornings. I hope these tips help other teachers, and that some tips help other Payroll SHEs. The best way to learn is to teach, and writing this testimonial reminds me of things I do well.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Teaching myself while teaching kids to FLY What do you need to have done before you start school each day? This is part of your Before School routine. I don’t want this weighing on you when you are ready to start your morning. Get it done so you can have fun. This is your homework; Grading papers, lesson plans, and recording grades. This is the most important routine of the day.
Make a list of the things you need to do each day before your children are ready to start school. This is your checklist. It is just like getting dressed to shoes to start your day. Don’t forget the things you need to take care of yourself; water.
1st Hour _______________________________________
2nd Hour _______________________________________
3rd Hour _______________________________________
4th Hour _______________________________________
5th Hour _______________________________________
6th Hour _______________________________________
Later in this Control Journal, I have listed some sample schedules. This is a suggested schedule to help you organize your day. Stick to it as much as possible. You may not need this many hours to homeschool young children, but your high school students will need this much time each day to complete their school work. With younger children, you may want to use 30 minutes of each hour for instruction and learning time, and the other 30 minutes each hour for quick household tasks, movement time, and water breaks. Young children are more productive in shorter lesson times, and they need to move
Isn’t it strange that we try to teach our students to break things down into BabySteps and yet we don’t follow our own instructions? We take pride in ourselves for working well under pressure. If the truth be known we really do not work well under stress and we don’t multi-task worth a flip either. We get sidetracked and nothing ever gets finished.
We also have a tendency to let our homes go down the tubes when we start homeschooling. There has to be a middle ground and it starts with shining your sink and establishing habits.
You don’t have to spend your Saturdays cleaning and Sundays playing catch up. You can do this, but you have to pace yourself, quit procrastinating that you don’t have time, and set your timer. When we get in a hurry everything falls apart.
Here is what happens when we procrastinate. We have looked hard at our procrastinating personalities and why we are so good at putting things off till later. The main reason that we don't do something right now is because we think that it is going to take too much time and right now we don't have time or we don't feel like doing it now. I want to look at how this kind of thinking actually creates an avalanche effect and before we know it we are suffocating under a heavy load of guilt and we are paralyzed by our inactions.
For the most part we are a very social happy-go-lucky spontaneous vivacious group of people. We love to have fun at anything we do. When it comes to housework or other things that we may need to get done; we can come up with every excuse in the world to not do it. The main excuse we use is "I don't have time!" When the truth is we really don't want to do it because it is not going to be fun, or we don't feel like it. We don't like to do things that are the mundane boring aspects of living. That is one of the reasons that our FlyLady routines get those things out of the way so we can get on with the enjoyable part of our day.
People ask me all the time if I spend all day cleaning. The truth is that as long as I do my simple routine (15 minutes) in the morning and a routine at night (10 minutes tops); our house is always company ready. This will work for any size home; now I do have to pick up after myself and keep my hotspots policed. This only takes a couple of minutes at the most.
Here is what happens when we put something off. Let's start with our before bed routines.
1. We go to bed at 1:00 or 2:00 am and have to get up at 7:00 am. We procrastinated by not going to bed at a decent hour. Then we can't get up on time.
2. After you hit the snooze button a few times and it is 7:30 am and the kids need to get up and start on their day. Now you have 15 minutes to get dressed, and you have no clean clothes and don’t know where your shoes are.
3. Not only did you go to bed late, but you did not lay out your clothes for tomorrow. So there again you have procrastinated and you are rushing around.
4. Now you are feeling the time crunch and the pressure of running late again. Then the guilt starts to pile on.