A Classroom Job For Every Child
This is the easiest way I’ve found to do classroom jobs. I was doing a lot of tidying up and organizing each day after school and thought that my 1st/2nd graders could do most of these things with a little training. I gave every child in my class a job. This builds community and responsibility. Children have a new job assignment every month, so I have to assign new jobs only 8 times each year. I keep track on a class list on my computer. We have 10 minutes at the end of the day for “Job Time” and don’t line up for dismissal until the room is clean and jobs are done. We also do some “job-sharing” where two children do a big job together. I have a 2 mail carriers, 2 scrap monsters (to pick up scraps off the floor), supply shelf manager, library helper, center inspector, desk inspector, pencil sharpener, overhead projector cleaner, 2 lunch menu helpers, table washer, reading corner helper, plant monitor, chalkboard cleaner, whiteboard cleaner, sink cleaner, math shelf helper (organizes math manips), door holder (holds the door when we line up to go to specials and for the chalkboard helper when he/she goes outside to clap erasers), and a substitute helper who does jobs of children who are absent. I do have to assign jobs carefully; mail carriers and lunch menu helpers need to be able to read, and I often choose very active children to be scrap monsters and board cleaners. Look around your room to see what kinds of things need to be done daily that your students can help with. Your students can probably suggest some jobs, too!
My jobs and discipline follow the theme of baseball. I made a large poster of a baseball diamond with all of the positions labeled on it. (You can add coaches and umpires off to the side if you need to). Each position has a specific classroom job and I rotate jobs every one-two weeks. I separate my class into two or three groups and pick names out of a “dugout” and the students choose what job they want for the next two weeks. I learned not to let them pass on a job if the one they really want is already taken (it takes too long). Cheyenne Swenson
I made a big bee hive out of yellow Bristol board, then made smaller hives for each of the jobs I have in my room (I labeled them with the job). I wrote students’ names on “bee tags” which are put out by a company called Trends. I arranged the small hives around the big hive, and the students names are rotated weekly. The students who are not assigned a job for that week buzz around the large hive. This worked well in a Grade 3/4 classroom. Jennifer Stackhouse, Brandon, MB, CAN
I have a small poster of a kitten in my room. Beside the poster is a laminated card on which I write the names of my helper for the week. This helper is called the “Teacher’s Pet.” Each student gets to be my pet for a week . The pet’s duties include line leader, lunch count carrier, supply manage and general errand runner. The kids can’t wait for their turn to be my “pet” and I don’t have to remember who has what job that week since one person does it all. I do also have “pets” at each table that help pick up papers and pass out folders. These students stay pets for about six weeks or as long as I have desks arranged in that manner. Again every student has a chance to do this job. It cuts down on students arguing that “He did it before!” since they all know that everyone will get a chance sometime during the year. Karen, Third
Classroom Daily Managers
I have a bulletin set up for the year. This year is it the bulletin board set for the “school of fish”. I have 9 managers a day. They each have a job to do, usually at the beginning of the day, and then during D.E.A.R. they are allowed special items to read with. The managers are: Gardener and Pet Caretaker- they mist or water the plants, and feed the classroom pets. They also get to keep a classroom stuffed animal at their desk for the day; Food patrol: takes the lunch count down to the office each day and lists the number of students here and absent on a wall chart; Doorman: is always second in line and opens doors for the class to enter or leave; Line Leader: is always first in line and leads the class everywhere that day; Office Manager: calls tables to sharpen pencils in the morning; checks to see that students have highlighted their names on their handed in papers; Calendar: marks the calendar for today, tomorrow, yesterday. Also marks the 100 day chart; Math Whiz: puts up the daily math money and sets the clock for students to record the time on their math paper; Paper handler: helps hand out or pick up papers, also runs errands; Librarian: keeps class library neat. Each manager gets something special to use during D.E.A.R. The things I have in my class are beanbags, a “Magic Treehouse” out of a refrigerator box, lawn chairs, and children’s lanterns that have cricket sounds. They all love to be managers, and switching everyday gives them a chance to do a least 2 manager’s jobs a week. I keep track of different jobs monthly on an Excel spreadsheet. The job descriptions are listed on the bulletin board for them to review when it is their turn. Once this is set up, it only requires the teacher to move the names each day. It is a great way to teach independence and give them ownership of their classroom! Janet in Oklahoma
I let the children decide (after about two weeks of school) what needs to be done. We brainstorm enough jobs for everyone to have a responsibility each week. This year my students brainstormed the following jobs…
- Historian – writes one page a week to summarize what we did and studied that week. The page then goes into a three ring binder. At the end of the year, we have a “history” book of our year.
- Photographer – Takes one picture a day of whatever they choose. When developed, they must write a caption for the picture, including names and events. These pictures get glued onto paper, with the caption next to it. Then the pages get laminated and become our scrapbook.
- Housekeepers – check floors and clean tables
- Handwasher – squirts hand sanitizer on each child’s hands before lunch and after recess or hands-on activities
- Technician – turns lights on and off for overhead projector use, maintains thermostat upon teacher request, turns computer on at the beginning of the day and off at the end.
- Lunch Duty – tables and chairs at lunch.
- Materials Management – checks materials at centers and keeps inventory, lets teacher know what needs to be restocked from the stock room.
- Librarian and Library Assistant – maintains check in/out of books, keeps library organized.
- Secretary – takes notes for absent people, hands out class papers, books, and folders.
- Delivery – takes lunch count to cafeteria, takes notes to office, takes attendance down in the morning.
- Botanist – waters plants.
- We also have five government positions. Our mayor starts our pledge everyday, serves as line leader, and runs class meetings. He/she appoints a town manager to help them, stand in for them when they are absent, and he/she keeps time for the class, setting the alarm clock for work times since I lose track of time. We also have a sheriff who serves as hall monitor and class monitor when I am out of the room or am involved with an adult visitor. Our tax collector takes up money, homework, and class supplies that people bring in. Our Clerk of Court passes out graded work, takes minutes of our meetings, and takes attendance in the mornings. I have a chart at the front of the room with cards. Each card has a child’s name on it. The posters have pockets on them and each pocket has the job title and description on it. Then the cards go in the pockets. The government positions last for a month and the normal jobs last two weeks – per class decision.
I divide the children into 6 groups for the school year. Each group is represented by a color. There are 6 jobs and 6 groups (6 colors). I make a small poster listing the jobs. Next to the job is a piece of velcro. I attach the color cards to the velcro. The people in that color group do the job for the week. Each week the color cards are rotated so that by week 7 everyone has had a turn doing each job. My jobs are attendance and lunch count, helper, line leader and caboose, librarian, and janitor. Because the students have a week to do the job they are able to decide among themselves how they will share the job in their group. They are usually very cooperative and the teacher doesn’t need to remember which individual is doing what. Doreen W.
I saw some great ideas online, and so I borrowed some and added my own touch. I assign 3 helpers each week…
- The Sanitation Commissioner is responsible for helping the class to keep the room clean (note it is everyone’s responsiblity to keep the room clean) The Sanitation Commissioner also helps by washing the boards.
- Administrative Assistant – this person runs errands, takes lunch count & attendance count to the office, hands out and collects papers and helps with other chores as they come up.
- Historian – this person keeps a record of the major activities of the week, and writes one positive thing about each student in the class. I collect the historian report at the end of the week (sometimes the class helps by offering suggestions) and we will have a written history of our class that I will type and give to each student at the end of the year as a way to remember 4th grade
Rose Freeman, 4th
Star of The Week – As many teachers do, I have a star of the week. Our star of the week is also our class leader for the whole week. During our morning circle we assign each child a class job daily. In addition to leader, we only have 5 class jobs. We put 5 stars with names on them in a bag and the S.O.T.W. picks the names out and they get a job for the day. This way each child gets to be the leader for a whole week, but the others do not get left out, they each end up having had a job by the end of the week. Katherine
1) Head Provost – Student leads class to restroom, lunch, dismissal. – 2) Paper Provost – Student distributes paper. – 3) Pencil Provost – Distributes pencils, keeps sharpened. – 4) Emissary – Delivers messages/goes to office when messages/materials are needed for classroom. – 5) Chalkboard Eradicators – Students clean board at end of day. Lenora Barnes, Grade 4, Gary, IN
I have a polished hard hat. Every Monday morning, I choose a name. This is my worker for the week. They do everything, anything special I need done. This is done at random, all kids get a chance. I velcro the laminated name to a green hard hat at my desk! It’s a great visual and it implys that we all work together! The kids and parents love it! Judith, 4th
I have a very long hound dog with the words “Helping Hounds” written across the dog. Each of my students has a small hound with his or her name written on it. The classroom jobs are written on doggie bones. The jobs are rotated on a weekly basis by simply moving the hounds from bone to bone.
- From clip art or some other source, find a picture of a hound and type helping hounds across it. It should be around 2′ long.
- Find a smaller picture of a hound and print only the outline.
- Students love coloring their hounds during the first day or two of school.
- Out of oak tag, make doggie bones that are about 7″ long.
- Write the various jobs on the bones and then have them laminated.
- Hang on a bulletin board.
- I use clips to attach the students’ hounds to the bones and then I rotate jobs on a weekly basis.
Young students really like having their own hound to decorate and they absolutely love being helpful in the class.
Nancy Z, 3rd grade
Make a handout of your classroom jobs and their descriptions. Then have your students complete a job application form. It should include their name, their top 3 jobs, an explanation of their strengths in carrying out those positions, and their signature. Add to the application if you wish to include previous job experience, hobbies, background, etc.
Lunch Count & Attendance Secretary
A great time-saver for me last year was delegating the responsibility of lunch count and attendance taking to my “secretary.” I bought a cheap cookie sheet and some small round magnets. After spray-painting the magnets white, I wrote numbers on them in permanent marker. I also used the permanent marker to draw and label columns on the cookie sheet as follows: brought, hot, sack, absent. Each morning the kids moved the magnet with their class number on it from the “absent” column to the appropriate column. Those left in the absent column were obviously “absent.” My secretary (selected by me for a 9-week period) then simply counted the magnets in each column and recorded them on the sheet for the kitchen and office and delivered the information. No more trying to get everyone’s attention so I could count hands….usually several times. I loved it! Jane Myer, 5th Grade
Managing Classroom Jobs, Behavior
I have a pocket chart with five rows, and five columns. Each column is labeled a day of the week, to be used for daily helpers. Each row is labeled with moveable arrows attached to clothespins. The classroom chores, such as Leader, Messenger, Clean-up… are labeled and moved at the beginning of each week. Each pocket is labeled with a velcro tag with each child’s name. Each morning, the children place a blue crayon to show they are present. I give out color changes for misbehavior. ( green – time out) (yellow – miss one activity) (red – miss two activities) (black – office or call home). I explain these colors like a traffic light: green – go; yellow – slow; red – stop Susan Conrad, Kindergarten
To emliminate always having to write new studnets names on small pieces of paper or whatever I was using at the time, I simply numbered my students and gave them each a clothes pin. Then I chose 5 needed jobs. I wrote the titles on sentence strips and placed them in a small apple pocket chart (any pocket chart will do- small is the key). I clipped the clothes pin next to the title and then I move them each week in number order. All students not working that week are ‘on vacation.’ Any unused clothes pins go on top at the leaf. No more need to remember who did what last week or what about the new student. Mackenzie Boone, first
Pick a Bell
I bought a beautifully decorated padded box from Wal-Mart that had a stuffed bear on the top. In it I a a gold bell for each child in my classroom. On each bell, I print a child’s name with permanent marker. Each morning I shake the box ( the bells make a wonderful sound) and whoever’s bell I pick gets to be the leader for the day! I put the bell that was chosen each day into a zip-lock bag and after the last bell gets chosen from the box, I put them all back in, and start again. Margo Bassarab
Pre-K Classroom Jobs
In our class we have helping hands. We have a lesson why each job is important. My class has 15 students so I have 12 jobs, so three get days off and the students rotate everyday. I have a door holder, line leader, flag holder, weather reporter, plant helper, pet feeder, lunch helper, snack helper, table cleaner, floor cleaner, book holder, and center cleaner. Ms. Mandi, Pre-K
I made magnets with the names of all of my students. At the beginning of the day, everyone’s magnet is on a designated place on my chalkboard. It is the Boss’s responsibility to remove the magnets of those children not following class rules. Anyone whose name is still on the board at the end of the day gets a sticker. My students love being “The Boss”. It shows me that they know the rules and that they can behave for people other than me. Debbie, 1
I used to have many, many jobs that I would assign each day and found that I had trouble remembering who was supposed to do what, as well as conflicts/hurt feelings among the children. Last year, I used the colorful cut-out handprints and put each child’s name on one. I separated them into boys/girls and then put them together with a library ring. Each day I pick a new boy helper/girl helper and they do EVERYTHING for that day. If that person is absent, we decided to skip that person and then go back to them when they are back at school. I have noticed that with this system, the students are VERY honest about whose turn it is… and the conflicts have subsided since everyone knows that it’s the helper’s jobs to do it all…no confusion!
We Hop To It
I have a large frog that sits on a lily pad and above him I put the words “We hop to it.” On the lily pad I’ve written the jobs for the classroom. (I rotate the jobs weekly.) The jobs include boy and girl line leaders, classroom cleanup (they take care of the class trash and on Fridays they wash the board and get a “crew” of workers to vacuum, clean desks, straighten rows, etc.), clean-up crew (I pick two people to clean off tables at lunch),and pledge leaders (for morning pledges). They love having jobs for the week. It teaches them to be responsible! Plus it’s a big help to me! Stephanie F., 5th grade