Have each class make student folders using 18 X 24 inch construction paper.
Make the folder by folding in half and stapling only the bottom, so that
it can hold larger pieces of paper. By having different colors, one can
easily see if a student folder is out of place.
Spend a little time at the end of each day checking to see that materials
have been put away in the correct place. I know my middle school students
often look for the closest receptacle when cleaning up! I try (but do not
always succeed) to free myself during cleanup time, so I can really monitor
who is doing what where.
I agree with Heidi that students will take better care of well organized
and maintained equipment. Not all will agree with me on this one, but
often, I have students put brushes into a bucket to soak. After a good
soaking, I rinse all the brushes and make sure they're really clean and put
away with the handles down.
My room maintenance habits drastically improved when enough (no not enough
--there's never enough --rather more) cupboards and cabinets were
constructed. I also try to hunt out storage spaces outside my classroom
for infrequently used items (good luck on that one....)! Inexpensive
stacking storage containers are very useful for items that are not used on
a daily basis.
I reserve as much space as possible for storage of student work.
Have several dust brushes and dust pans in the room. For many cleanups,
students are asked to dust surfaces before sponging.
Falmouth Middle School