Monday, July 22, 2013

Tips for Creating and Managing Classroom Jobs {job charts, student jobs, classroom management}






{Click to Access and Download: Classroom Job Chart-Blackline Design}

Jobs in my classroom have evolved over time. I started with an elaborate system involving a rotating sunflower which took me an absurd number of hours to create. The system involved students receiving new jobs each day because I was told that the responsibility and sense of community were important.


It is.

But so is your sanity.

I'll skip all the middle stages and tell you about where I am now.

In my classroom everyone has a job. However, they are gainfully employed in that position for a very long time. I no longer rotate the jobs so that each student does every job at some point. Instead students are matched with jobs that they express interest in and I feel is a good fit for them. This allows me to take the time to really teach them how to do the job well and it becomes a routine for them.

Which means your classroom will run very smoothly. 

When I rotated jobs too often my friends would forget to do their job or else wouldn't know exactly what the role involved. The consistency of keeping the same job means that everyone has a special part in helping our room to function. They are ALL responsible for cleaning up the classroom at the end of the day when we play Find It / Fix It. I also have a "helper of the day" and that person does everything else for the day (help with odd jobs, erase the white board, etc).

When I do change jobs (maybe 3 times a year), each student is responsible for training their replacement. I couldn't be more happy about this system.

I do still have a job chart. It just doesn't change very often.

I recently remade my chart for the new school year using library pockets. I used to do an annual classroom theme, but switched to a color-scheme a few years ago. My classroom is currently a mix of Bright and Colorful with lots of Black and White elements. The new chart merges the two together.

{Click to Access and Download: Classroom Job Chart}

You’ll notice that it is a bit different than the typical job charts that list positions such as door holder, caboose, line leader, etc. I really want the classroom jobs to be a way to promote teamwork and responsibility so the title reads, “We are responsible for. . . “ and I listed the jobs as nouns and actions instead of titles or positions. 

It’s just a subtle change, but to me it feels more collaborative. 

TIPS FOR CREATING AND MANAGING CLASSROOM JOBS


# 1 Keep it simple. Classroom jobs should improve the function of your classroom and provide children with a sense of being helpful. If you create a system that is too complicated or changes too often you run the risk of the jobs actually creating more work for you along with unwanted chaos. 



#2 Select classroom jobs that will be useful to your specific classroom needs. 

#3 Think about safety and school policy. Having an “electrician” in charge of plugging in an overhead or a “table washer” using cleaning products with chemicals might not be allowed in some schools. Always use caution. If you include tasks like this you may want to consider drafting a parent permission slip before assigning the job.

#4 Don’t start classroom jobs until you get to know your students each year. It’s very helpful to match students with jobs that best suit them as individuals.

#5 Think about ways a job may benefit a child. Encouraging your shy student to be responsible for being the classroom greeter or answering the phone may help to bring her out of her shell. Having your spirited little guy be your messanger would be a great way to work in some movement breaks throughout the day.

#6 Think about ways a job may benefit you. If you have a student that needs monitoring more than others make her the line leader. This will keep her close by and limit off task behavior in the hallways. 

#7 Don’t let your job chart consume too much prime wall real estate. Students don’t need to be able to see it all the time. In fact it can be a distraction as kids love knowing what others are doing and reading their peers names. Find an out of the way location that students can access when they need to.

#8 Match students with jobs that are appropriate. A job requiring increased responsibility and organization should be completed by a student possessing those skills (i.e. managing the classroom library). Students who struggle in that area would be better suited for a job that is completed without remembering (i.e. turning off the lights when you are going to use the Smartboard).

#9 Be aware of confidentiality. Although it may seem like a good idea to have students put stickers on corrected assignments or check in homework, it exposes them to other childrens’ work and progress.

#10 Take the time to write out a thorough job description that makes your expectations clear. Much like having a procedures and routines manual, this will be a valuable document in ensuring that everything gets done as intended. It will also be an asset to a substitute teacher filling in for you.


Materials:
  • a package of library pockets (these come in so many colors and patterns)
  • colored card stock
  • glue gun/glue sticks
  • framed corkboard
  • fabric 
  • ribbon
  • printables

I had painted the wooden frame on the corkboard black a couple years ago. I  added fabric for the background and a ribbon border. {I love using ribbon to define edges because it is cheap and narrower than traditional border and it comes in so many colors and patterns}.

I printed out the job titles and attached them to the library pockets.


Although the pockets were self-adhesive, I have always found that they don’t really hold in the long term so I knew I would need to reinforce them. Prior to “committing” them to a location on the board with hot glue, I used a single staple to hold them in place. When I was happy with the alignment of the pockets, I glued them all down and removed the staples. Finally I added the title at the top.

To use the chart I will simply slide cards with the students names or numbers into the pockets. 



For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom
 please check out my Clutter-Free Guide along with my Teaching Procedures and Routines Workbook
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13 comments:

  1. Where did you find the chevron library pockets? They are awesome!

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  2. I love your library pocket job chart. I had something similar to this last year. I am particularly interested in your library pockets and where you purchased them from.

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  3. Same question...super cute chevron library pockets! Where did they come from? Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I absolutely love this! I love that your jobs are aligned with being responsible and that the jobs themselves are nouns...really terrific way to tie in teamwork and virtues (which we use in our school). Now, off to find those adorable chevron pockets!! (So, where'd you find them? :)

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  5. Typo....on the first "Classroom Jobs" it says "CLASR room". But otherwise AWESOME! Thank you :)

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  6. I found the pockets on teachers-tools.com. I couldn't stop myself!! Good luck!

    emma

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  7. I really love this idea, and I love the look of the black circles on chevron library pockets. I'd love an editable option...I have a few different jobs in my classroom than those listed in your set. Is an editable (i.e. PowerPoint) version possible?

    Thanks so much! I really love your blog and regularly implement your ideas in my classroom!

    Kristen :)

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  8. Love this classroom job set! There's a typo....classroom jobs - you have clasr instead of class. Otherwise they are great!

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  9. I so agree with your job philosophy. Thanks for sharing. I think it is really important that they feel that they are all responsible for general cleaan up. I haven't tried keeping the jobs for longer terms but will give it a whirl this year. I hated the hassle of weekly switching and kids not knowing what exactly they were supposed to be doing.

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  10. I love this idea! I just went to get the freebie (7:30pm central time) and it isn't free anymore. This has happened to me a couple of times recently. Are you only doing things free for a certain number of hours? Just want to figure out the system so I don't miss anymore. I love all your stuff and buy often. You have been a great inspiration to me!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love this idea but I'm running into a major problem getting your emails. I subscribe to your blog but won't get the email about a new post until HOURS after. Sometimes even a day later. So that means I miss out on the freebies :( Does anyone else have this problem?

    ReplyDelete
  12. The chevron pockets are not there anymore, but there are some other cute ones!!

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  13. If you have a Facebook account, that is the best way to see when they are available. I check mine frequently throughout the day and am so excited when I'm at home and can immediately download the freebie! :)

    ReplyDelete

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