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An Effective Approach to Classroom Jobs

I have always used student jobs in my classroom.  I didn't, however, always run them well.  Sure, we rotated the job chart every week (if I remembered).  Sure, most of my students completed their roles (half-heartedly).  But, it seemed as though my classroom jobs were becoming more work than they were worth.  Where was I going wrong??  After a lot of trial and error, here is what I discovered.

Watch my Facebook live video on this topic here:
Get Organized Live! Create an organized community in your elementary classroom with student jobs.

It's Their Classroom Too!

Always remember that your classroom belongs to your students too.  They are a part of the community that is your room.  The more that you involve your students, the more that they will feel as though they belong there and will be more interested in taking ownership in it.  

Some of the classroom jobs will even lend themselves to teaching your students more about the class room (for example, a librarian will really get to know which books they can check out).  They will, in turn, become more responsible for their own materials in an effort to help the classroom as a whole.

Well, How Can My Students Help?

Think about those tricky areas of your classroom that always seem to be messy at the end of the day.   How can your students help you stay organized in those spots?  More often than not, they want to help you out!  Many times, I had students who would just start organizing my stuff or continually ask what they could do to help me out.
Think about jobs where students can actually be helpful.  When I moved to 5th grade, I discovered that my students were not terribly interested in being line leaders.  However, they jumped at the chance to file papers into mailboxes.  Make sure the jobs make them feel helpful and important.

You could even ask them what jobs they think the classroom needs.  They will probably surprise you with their answers!  Click here to download your free job questionnaire!

Don't Forget to Teach Them!

I'll be honest and say, that this is where I dropped the ball when it came to classroom jobs.  I didn't discuss with my students what was expected of each position.  As a result, they either didn't complete the job well or at all.

I learned to have a class discussion about how each job would be completed.  And it was a true discussion.  It was not just me telling my students how to do each role.  I asked for their input about what they would expect from their peers who were in each job position.  We talked about every job, even ones that seemed very simple.

Through the first round of jobs at the beginning of the year, I would walk each student through their responsibilities of their position.  When it was time to rotate, each student would train the next student in their previous role.

Give Them Time

Once classroom jobs have been successfully launched in your classroom, make sure you give students time to fully complete their responsibilities.  I often gave my students 3-5 minutes at the end of the day during pack-up and dismissal time.  It didn't take away from our learning, but gave them just enough time to carry out their job.

I've found that it's important to subtly remind students to complete their jobs, especially right after we have rotated positions.  With everything going on in their minds during the day, it is easy to forget!  Another way to help keep them accountable, is to double up on certain tasks.  For example, have two librarians instead of one.  They will be sure to help each other out.

Make Sure Students are Invested

It is crucial that students are invested in their job positions. As the teacher, you can amp up interest in classroom jobs by posting 'help wanted' posters for students to see which positions are available.
Then, have students apply for a role that they are interested in.  Have students fill out a job application.  This will ensure that they are invested in that particular job.  Bonus - this will also give them real-world experience!
On the application, students will share their personal information (name, teacher, room #, etc) as well as their expertise and experience.  This will also help you get to know your students really well!

Looking for the free job questionnaire?  Enter your info below to grab it!

1 comment

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