November 16, 2007
Years ago I learned this trick from an amazing fellow teacher. A minute prior to the dismissal of a class, inform students that their ticket out of class is X pieces of trash. Vary the number each day, depending on how messy the floor is. I've found this procedure reduces the trash for several reasons. First, students don't litter as much because they understand that they will be responsible for picking up the trash. Second, students exert peer pressure not to litter, as students will be cleaning up each other's trash. Third, students automatically pick up trash even if I forgot to ask them to do so, as it becomes an ingrained habit. The custodians appreciate that my room is always relatively clean, the students learn responsibility and I don't spend my own time cleaning up after school. It's an all-around win-win situation!