So, if you were the one who forgot, you would come home from school to find that all the sheets and bedspread and pillowcase had been stripped off of your bed and wadded up into a big pile in the middle. Very shocking the first time it happened, let me tell you. Quickly, we discovered it was FAR easier to make our bed in the morning than to start from scratch making it that afternoon.
I used this idea when I was teaching 3rd grade one year. Never in the history of public education was there a class with messier desks. We had the kind of desks that had an opening as wide as the desk all the way across. Just like this one:
At the beginning of the year as we were passing out supplies, etc. I always drew a little diagram on the board depicting how I wanted the inside of the desks to look. Journals and school box stacked on one side, books on the other. You get the idea. I taught it and encouraged it. Digging around in your desk each time you needed something cost precious classtime.
When I saw the desks begin to get messy, the desk fairy would start coming to visit. She would leave little treats on top of neat desks. A pencil. A piece of candy. A cool new eraser. All with a little note that said, "Love from the Desk Fairy." You get the idea. It always worked.
Until this one year. The Desk Fairy could only find about 2 clean desks when she came. They usually belonged to the same kiddos too. So......
Desk Fairy? Meet the Desk Gremlin!
My students came back from P.E. one day to find that the contents of their desks had been dumped ON TOP of their desks. What a sight it was! On top of that, the trash can had been hidden next door.
They all stopped in their tracks and their mouths fell open when they got inside. "The Desk Gremlin must have come!" I told them. "Better start cleaning!"
As the students gathered up armfuls of trash and papers, they began to walk over to where the trash can usually sat. Hmm. No trash can. Now what?
Me: Can I help you?
Students: Where's the trash can?
Me: Why do you need it?
Students: To throw away all this trash!
Me: Trash? What trash? There can't be any trash in here. You have carefully kept all that paper and stuff in your desk for months! Surely it must be terribly important to you. You'd better take all that treasure home with you.
Yep. I made them load all that stuff in their backpacks. They told me how their mother would not be happy. I told them their teacher wasn't too happy either. I told them use of the trash can was free to all who were willing to get up and walk over to it.
So, I'm thinking....the Gremlin/Desk Gremlin might just morph into a Toy Gremlin REALLY REALLY soon around here. His weapon might be a box.
Think when they get down to about 10 toys they'll get the idea? I better round up some boxes.