Hey, school’s starting. We all have new supplies and books, and at this time of year, we place them neatly in our desks. But toward March things start to go downhill, at least for some of us. Books start to slide out of our desks, and we start losing pencils rapidly, but not everybody. Some kids manage to keep their pencil cases zipped closed. They keep their books from creating an avalanche whenever they take one from the middle of their book pile. But do the kids who keep a neat desk try to do so? Do they even care about having a neat desk?

We interviewed two fourth-graders who we know keep their desks organized. Eilise Marino and Courtney Corcoran both said that it was not easy to keep a neat desk. They have to try a lot, and by the end of the year, their desks get neater because they remove items, such as finished books or folders that they no longer need. We also spoke to two other fourth-grade students who tend to keep a messy desk. Frankie Curry said that when he cleans his desk it doesn’t take long for his desk to get messy again. He also said that when he takes something out of the middle of a book pile in his desk, everything falls out. Frankie said the most bizarre thing he ever found in his desk was a used piece of gum. Michael Pattilio told us when he cleans his desk, it takes a month to get messy again. He once found a Rubik’s Cube in his desk. Clearly, a neat desk does not come easily to most.

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We also surveyed 199 third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students in our school. We wanted to know if a neat desk is important to them. We found most students felt it was important, but there were still some who thought that it’s fine to be a little messy.

Clean desk? 165

Not so clean? 34