The first few weeks of school I began having problems with my elementary students during clean-up time (last 5 minutes of class). So I began brainstorming about what I could do to control the chaos in my room.
I also probably need to explain that I teach two classes of each grade K-4. I see each class once a week for 50 minutes. So I feel some of my problems at the very beginning of school was that by the time the students came back to my class the following week they had forgotten all the rules.
So now to the answer: I made a clean-up song that the students could groove to. They can chant along with the song, but as soon as the song is over they are expected to sit in their seat, put their head down, and there is so to be absolutely no talking.
Does it work? So far! The students really love the beat of the music!! Most of the students dance around while singing and cleaning up. It is effective in lessing the chaos. The students also make it a race to see if they can clean up by the end of the song, which was the entire point! I now do not have very much trouble at all with talking during clean up! They sing and then get quiet at the end of the song. Ahh, the power of music!! (and technology)