Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Classroom Jobs

Classroom Jobs are a great way to give your students more responsibility, help them to take ownership in the classroom, and to free you up from easy tasks that take up too much time.  I am totally a fan of classroom jobs!

Last year was the first year I was a classroom teacher- I had never had students in my classroom all day or even for a long enough time period to make classroom jobs worthwhile.  When I was able to use them, however, they rocked!  It was wonderful to have students help me do the jobs that take up so much of our precious time!

So here's what I did: 
I thought of all of the jobs I wanted students to take care of in my classroom.  Then I got some Library Pockets from the local teacher store and created a little chart area under my SMARTboard.  I labeled each Pocket with a specific job title.  Then, I wrote all of my student's names on index cards.  I let them keep their job for one week, then I would rotate all of the cards down the list one spot each, and I had an extra pocket for the extra students who didn't have jobs.  I would pull a card from the front of the extra pocket to put in the very first spot on the list after I'd moved all the cards down one spot.

Looking back on this system, it was ok...it worked fine... but it wasn't GREAT.  So I researched what other teachers did.  I really liked the idea I found on one blog where the teacher had a job for EVERY student.  This way no one feels left out AND it gives them a sense of purpose when everyone is doing a classroom job.

Another thing that didn't work GREAT for me was having to switch out the jobs every week.  You would think that it takes seconds (which it doesn't take long), however, at the end of the week sometimes I would forget or just think I would do it Monday morning.... it kind of became a thorn in my side... and it was annoying.  Several teachers blogs I've read use a Classroom Job Application.  Students apply for the job they want (and add 2 back up choices) and tell WHY they want that job.  Then the teacher decides which student would be best for that job.  The students keep this job for a whole MONTH.  No switching of cards every week- just once a month.  Then the next month they apply again for another job.  I really like this idea because it gives them more choice in the matter and I feel like they would take it more seriously if they actually had a say in what job they got.  If you are doing this type of system with your class, I would suggest having jobs for EVERYONE- just because it would be a whole month before a student could get a job if they didn't have one.

This year I will be teaching 5th Grade Language Arts... so I will see 3 classes of 5th grade instead of just having one class all day.  I still plan to have classroom jobs, but I think I am going to just split the jobs up between the classes.  That means not all students will have jobs.  I am also going to use the Classroom Job application system, and only change out the jobs once a month.  I wish I could have jobs for everyone- but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way.  (I mean, I could probably create jobs for everyone, but I don't want to keep track of 90 jobs!! ;)

Also, instead of just writing names on index cards, this year I am going to use my classroom numbers- I picked up an awesome set from Clutter Free Classroom's Flash Freebie one day... and they rock!! If you have the money, I would definitely suggest getting them!  If not, check out the links below for some other great FREE classroom numbers!

I couldn't find any Classroom Job Applications that I liked for my older students, so I ended up creating one... you can download it for FREE below! :)

**Update  8/25/14- I have uploaded an EDITABLE version of this Classroom Job Application at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Below are some awesome links to FREE Classroom Job Applications and Job Posters & Cards for your classroom:

Cute & Customizable Classroom Jobs AND Classroom Job Application  (from A Year of Many Firsts)

Owl Themed Classroom Jobs (from Middle Grades Maven)

Hollywood Themed Classroom Jobs  (from First Grade Parade)

Red & Light Blue Background Classroom Job Labels

Plain Background Classroom Jobs (from What the Teacher Wants)

FREE Classroom Numbers for your Library Pockets (simply print and then glue on an index card & laminate)

Brightly Colored Class Number Circles

Yellow Stars w/ Red Background Class Number Circles

Zebra & Lime Green Class Number Circles

Dr. Seuss-like Red and Teal Blue Class Number Circles

Do you have any tips or suggestions for classroom jobs?  What works in your classroom?