Hello from GrowingRoots! I’m an elementary teacher with a knack for streamlining classroom routines. Rachel, thanks for letting me share how two cans of cheap-o shaving cream will save you from a necessary, yet gross, chore, PLUS keep crazy kids busy on the last day of school.
As this year winds down, I’m sure you are busy ticking off items on your end-of-year checklist. Scrubbing desks is required at my school, and I can think of a million things I’d rather do instead. So, I figured out a way to get the whole job done in roughly 30 minutes with fantastic results. I save it for the last day, because it’s cheerfully loud. Once the walls are stripped and everything is waiting to be piled in the middle of the room prior to clicking off the lights, I pull out two cans of Barbasol Original Shaving Cream. It’s the least expensive foaming shaving cream I can find. Sometimes I am able to find a coupon, yet I’ve never spent more than $4 for this project. In fact, I rarely spend my own money. I keep this on a ‘wish list’ each year so that when a wonderful parent asks what I need, I tell them. When it comes in, I cross it off the list.
Our last day release is after lunch (thank you wise and benevolent calendar planners!), so the day is centered around the games (no electronics) I allow students to bring in on that special day. Around 10:00 AM, when energy starts to lag, we put the games aside, and I put a big squirt of shaving cream on each child’s desk. Their eyes get big when I tell them that the only rule I have is that the shaving cream must stay on the desk. They can’t wait to touch it! Many kids have never touched shaving cream, and there is a lot of squealing. I have them push up their sleeves, but it is okay if it gets on clothes or the carpet because it won’t stain.
Of course there will be at least one lil’ darlin’ who puts it on their face–or someone else’s–and s/he is asked to sit out for a bit. I’ve never had to give a second consequence. Closing the door is optional. The fresh scent will waft into the hall, along with the giggles and shrieks. Adults walking by often pop in to see what is going on.
Limited instructions are needed as students smear and make the most incredible mess on the desk. Kids love to write in the shaving cream. Expect kids to work on their names, math facts, spelling words, cursive, drawings and tic-tac-toe games. It takes roughly a half hour for the shaving cream to evaporate and dissipate, leaving the desks spotless. When the kids are off rinsing their hands, I use a wet rag (I like a microcloth) to quickly wipe down the surface. They’ll dry, and your desks are ready to stack a few minutes later.
Thanks for checking in today! I hope this quick and effective way to clean desks is something you find handy. Check out my TpT store for lots of other end-of-the-year ideas and teacher-tested lessons and my blog for more ideas to save you time in your daily routines.
GrowingRoots is a wife, mom, and teacher in Colorado. She has taught a variety of grades and specialties at the elementary level. She is a teacher blogger and teacher-author on TeachersPayTeachers.