Thursday, June 16, 2011

Assigning Tasks to Helpers

This post is part of my series on decluttering your classroom. If you are just joining us, you'll want to start here.

My mother-n-law always says, "Many hands make light work." It's a nice way of saying, "Get your butt in the kitchen because we're all going to clean up from dinner." Truth be told, your task will be much much easier if you have help. That's what we're focusing on today.

Now that you've identified every nook and cranny that needs to be decluttered, it's time to enlist the help of others in your plan to tackle the task. I love utilizing student help. It's a great way to make a connection and to make a child feel important. I frequently will invite students to come in 15 minutes early to take on jobs that they are very capable of, but that would take my time away from more important "teacher tasks." If you teach a younger grade you might want to consider inviting some of your alumni back to help out.

I've created a planning sheet so that you may organize the tasks and chip away at them efficiently. You can download it for free from my store. Simply click here and scroll down to the item titled, FREE To Do List for Organizing & Cleaning Your Classroom.

Using the Clutter-Clear Out Planning Sheet, assign the tasks to your helpers. If you don't have helpers then add "recruit some helpers" as your first job! :)

Kids are great for:
  • sorting
  • testing markers and discarding dry ones
  • going through book baskets and pulling out misplaced books
  • cleaning (as long as it's chemical-free)
  • going through games and puzzles to check for missing pieces
  • taking down bulletin boards
  • and many other tasks
What jobs do you use kid helpers for? Leave a comment to let others know how they can best utilize the extra little hands!
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  1. During the year I use students for many jobs, it makes my life easier and makes them feel special. In the afternoon I have a student pass out morning work for the next morning, another student picks up any trash on the floor before the janitor comes in, another student moves student pictures to new centers for the next day, find the correct pictures for lunch choice for the next day and display those, and move trash cans to the door for the janitor to dump them easily. I also have a weekly hand sanitizer and listening center set-up clean up person. They truly enjoy their little jobs.

  2. I used to assign jobs on a rotating, helper(s)-of-the-day basis. This school year, however, I started assigning students "full time jobs". I would announce a description of a job that needed to be done (light monitor, board eraser, paper collector, etc.) and tell students that anyone who wanted to apply should simply raise their hand. I'd then pick an "applicant" I thought could regularly do the job well. Within a month or so, every student had a job assigned to them. They did their jobs well, there was no arguing over who was supposed to do the job, and I didn't have to remember to rotate positions on a regular basis. It worked great!


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