Thursday, July 5, 2012

FIND IT & FIX IT {Teacher Tip #3}

{click here to download from my store}

One of the procedures and routines I teach every year on the first day of school and continue to use every. single. day. (sometimes more than once a day) is something I made up and call, Find It & Fix It. It's my secret to maintaining a Clutter-Free Classroom and is just about the best gosh, darn thing ever.

It's sort of a game.
But, not really.
If kids think it is a game they will want to play along.  If you simply tell them to clean the room they may not be so interested. 
Here's how it works:
Picture a classroom at the end of a school day.  While it may not be a complete disaster, there are surely things out of place.  I'm talking about things like a pencil on the floor, a pillow that is not straight, papers left on desks, a random crayon in the colored pencil box, a stapler left out of place (usually by me), books that are not facing the same direction, a goldfish cracker lying belly up just waiting to be crushed by a pint-sized Croc, and other nit-picky things.
You pick one of those things and secretly put it into your brain.  Then you tell the kids to "Find it / Fix It."  At that point they scurry around like little elves and perfect the imperfections of the day.  The whole scene lasts about 1-2 minutes.  It doesn't end when the mystery item is found, but rather when the room is perfect.
The rules are simple: No talking, no running, no crawling under tables and no moving something unless you know for sure where it needs to go.  The last one is important because you'll always get some kiddo who shuffles things to look busy.  If a child talks, crawls or runs they are 'disqualified' and must sit down.
After everything is made to look spotless and every last thing is in it's place, I tell them to return to their seats to find out who won.  I have them stand behind their chairs and will give them elimination clues to reveal the "winner."  I say things like, "the winner is wearing shorts" or "the number of letters in the winner's first name is an even number."  As the year goes on I incorporate a lot of math practice by saying "the number of letters in the winner's last name is the sum of 4 + 3" and things like that.  As they are eliminated they sit down until only one friend is left standing.
It wouldn't be any fun without a "prize."  The prize is that the Find it Fix it winner earns a certificate to take home and gets to be the "helper of the day" on the following school day.  That simply means they mail the folders and bring any messages I have up to the office.
Want to know a secret?  Come closer and I'll whisper it.
It's usually rigged....shhhh!
I try to make it fair so that everyone gets a chance to be the helper.  I will often pick the winner before they start playing and will watch to see what he/she fixes and claim that was the "secret thing."  I then put the date next to their name on tracking sheet {see below} so I know that the student has had a chance to be the winner. When a column us filled, I start again. I never let them see this paper.  Third graders are crafty and would be onto me in no time. 
{click here to download this printable from my store}
Either way you play your room will be clean.  Add this to your first week plans and tell others.  I promise you will be glad you did.  It's so nice to have the classroom looking perfect as the kids leave so your prep for the next day is much easier.

The printable above is a great tool for organizing and managing Find It  & Fix It in your classroom.  It is part of my Blackline Design Product collection that I've created to provide teachers with resources that save money on ink and can be customized to match any classroom theme or color scheme. The Find It & Fix It Packet includes 3 different styles / patterns with the following components in each (15 printables in all).
  • a game rules poster that I have filled in for you
  • a game rules poster for you to customize
  • a set of winner certificates to use as "prizes"
  • a tracking sheet to ensure that all students have a fair amount of turns numbered 1-25
  • a blank tracking sheet for you to fill in with names or #s if you have more than 25 students and need to print multiple copies

For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide along with my Teaching Procedures and Routines Workbook. This post is part of:
This item debuted as a Flash Freebie on 7.5.12 and was available from 6:36 a.m.- 4:47 p.m.
Be sure to follow my blog and store so you never miss the Freebie of the Day

Follow my Teacher Store so you don't miss
Flash Freebies or Discounted Debut Items and view my easy-to-navigate online catalog.

Check out CFC's Helpful Series for Teachers: 


  1. Genius! Definitely using this next year!

  2. I love it and will be using this in my room. Thanks so much!

  3. Can't wait to start using this idea! Thank you for sharing!!!

    One Class, One Sound

  4. I do play "magic trash" and probably have one of the tidiest floors at the day's end. But that only covers the floor! This will be great. Loving these freebies!

  5. Seems so simple and brilliant! Can't wait to use this! Thanks for sharing!

  6. What a GENIUS idea! I am definitely going to try it this year. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Peace, Love & Learning

  7. Great idea!! Thanks so much for all the freebies!! I love the black and white.

    Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks

  8. I love your black and white designs! My room is modeled after the Vera Bradley Baroque design. I have to know, do you make your own black and white designs, or do you purchase them from someone? They are so awesome!!!

    It's All Elementary!

  9. I have always played "Magic Scrap" but this is taking it to another level! I also love that there is a tracking system, I always felt like I had to remember which kid already won "Magic Scrap." I love the Chevron & Polka dot prints. Thanks again!

  10. I love playing Find It, Fix It and so do my kiddos. Sometimes though if they've been bad, there isn't a winner! I'll pick a tiny miniscule piece of paper and tell them that was it.

    Living A Wonderful Life

  11. This is such an awesome idea. Thanks so much for sharing it and for sharing your freebie.

    My (Not So) Elementary Life

  12. I absolutely LOVE this!! I will be using it this year for sure. I do have one tiny little thing to "fix". Page 6 of the packet says "Find it & Fix is a silent game" Shouldn't that say "Find It & Fix It is a silent game." The second "it" is missing on your poster.

    1. Same with the other game rules poster. I tried to just email you but the "contact me" above wasn't working.

  13. Thank you so much for this freebie, what a fantastic idea!!

  14. I too have done "Magic Trash/Clutter" and it works like a CHARM, but I have never thought of incorporating the 'elmination rules' to reveal the winner.....LOVE that! Thanks for the great tips!!

  15. I love that idea!!! I usually end up cleaning up after them because letting them clean up at times is a mad house but I had not thought of giving them rules before! It's genius! Will definitely be trying this next school year.

  16. Thanks for the freebie! Sounds like fun!
    First Grade Found Me

  17. We play magic scrap...when you win, you get to start your name one step up on the clip chart. I love the idea for keeping track of the winner.

    Chickadee Jubilee

  18. I think I'm doing something wrong. I am trying to download this freebie, but it keeps sending me to a place to buy it for $3. I live on the west coast and am wondering if the time difference is effecting it somehow. It's just 2:50 here. Did I already miss it?


  19. I did Find It/Fix It last year after you wrote about it and it was legit the highlight of my class's day. Sometimes in the morning I'd see a marker on the floor and ask someone to pick it up, and they'd be like, "But then what if there's nothing left for Find It Fix It???!!" Haha!

    Thanks for sharing this great idea.

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  20. I can't wait to use this in my classroom. What a fantastic idea. Thanks for sharing and I will definitely pass this along to my team!

    Miss Rorey's Room

  21. This is fantastic, it not only gets the room in shape, but having my books turned the right way in the bins would make me thrilled!!!


You may also enjoy...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...