The Magic Thing (La Cosa Mágica)

I have such a hard time keeping my classroom tidy, so I just wanted to share with you a great little trick for getting your students to clean your classroom in a jiffy. The trick is called "The Magic Thing" (La Cosa Magica in my classroom) and has been around for awhile. I originally read about it Teaching on Track.





 How I do It:

  1. First, I scan the classroom for something out of place, whether it be paper on the floor or a chair that is not pushed in. 
  2. I write the "magic" thing on a scrap piece of paper. 
  3. Students then hurriedly go around the classroom trying to clean and find the missing thing. Important rule: They are NOT allowed to ask me if they have found the magic thing. If they do, they are automatically out. If you don't implement this rule, they will be bugging you after every piece of trash they find. 
  4. Once a student finds the magic thing, I write his or her name down on the paper by the magic thing they did or found. 
  5. If the classroom still needs work, I find another magic thing and allow the students to continue to clean. I continue this process until the classroom is back to how it should be. 
  6. I call all the students together and announce the winner(s). I show them the paper, so they know it was done fair and square. 
  7. In my classroom, the winners receive a QR code coupon, which they absolutely love, but you can use whatever reward system you have in place.

Hope this is helpful! Do you have any tricks of the trade for getting students to keep the classroom clean?


    I use it in my classroom, but I don't write anything down so I am always cheating. hahaha
    I teach 1-2 grades so I try to choose a different kid each day so everyone can choose form the magic bag.

    1. That's a good idea! I started off that way, but my fourth graders were too smart for that, so now I have to make it fair and square. :p

  2. This is a great idea. I teach Special Education Kindergartners and they really don't like to clean up. This may just be the motivation to get them moving.
    Carolyn Exceptional Kinders

    1. Thanks for commenting, Carolyn! Hope this works for you!

  3. I call it "A Minute to Magic" and they have one minute to be done. I teach 3rd grade. They love it, and I'm not using much time. I set the timer to keep it to one minute. I don't write it down.

  4. I do this but don't write down the item .. I try to ensure everyone gets their name in at some time .. we put names in a box until Friday - then draw out one name and that person picks from the prize bin.

  5. I like this idea too. I teach pre-k. I might have to come up with some pictures instead of words for the magic thing. Thank you for sharing!


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