The Great School Clean-Up

K, 1, 2

The purpose of this lesson is to engage the learners in a school wide clean-up event. Learners will be asked to participate and reflect on the activity by creating a heightened awareness of community based environmental issues and how everyone should be good stewards of the Earth.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty five minute class period: The duration of this lesson is flexible due to the service component.

The learner will:

  • participate in a school wide clean up.
  • engage in a classroom discussion focused on community based environmental issues and stewardship.
  • reflect on school wide clean-up activity through the use of group discussions and individual journaling.
  • participate in a school wide clean up.
  • Garbage bags
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rakes and brooms
  • Flowers and shovels (optional)
  • Journals
  • Digital camera
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Handout One: Family Letter, Lesson Three: The Great School Clean-Up The parent letter should be sent home prior to the lesson in order to allow parent time to collect needed items and give them the opportunity to volunteer their time to help in the clean up activity.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Prior to the start of this lesson you may wish to ask learners to bring in rakes,shovels, gardening gloves, leave and trash bags, and any other clean up tools that may be necessary for the success of the activity. Meet students in a classroom discussion area to prepare for the clean up event. Teacher should begin by building classroom excitement for the activity. “Today we are going to help celebrate our Earth by being good stewards and by working together to keep it beautiful! We all have a part to play and if we work together we can really make a difference.”

  2. Begin by grouping learners in clean-up teams. Parent volunteers would be very beneficial for the clean-up teams. Assign each team to an area of the school or school grounds to focus their cleaning efforts. (Hallway clean, playground, in front of the school, side yards, etc...)

  3. Offer suggestions for improvements. Learners should clear the area of trash, wash off graffiti if necessary, and rake leaves, sweep hallways or sidewalks. Learners may also choose to plant flowers with the given permission from the school. Be sure to address proper conduct during event. Learners should demonstrate appropriate behaviors as ambassadors of the school.

  4. Begin clean up: Allow time to complete event. Depending on the need you may wish to work for an hour or for an afternoon.

  5. Allow learners time to come together as a class to discuss their clean up activities. Each group should share what they have done and how it made a difference to their school community. Learners should reflect individually by writing in their journals about the event. Why was it needed? What effect did it have? Should it be continued?


The assessment will be teacher observation of service activity and group discussions. Learners must also be able to answer the why, what, and should questions in their reflection journals.

Cross Curriculum 

In this lesson learners will be asked to participate in a school wide clean up of the school grounds and the building. Learners will be meeting a continual need in their school community as well as understanding the concept of stewardship. Learners will be given the opportunity to reflect on their service activity through whole group discussion and independent journaling.


Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Define stewardship and give examples.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.