If you want an organized and well-run classroom, one of the easiest ways to make this happen is to get your kids involved! Classroom jobs for elementary (and probably even secondary!) is a great way to get them involved and help you with the big task of keeping an organized classroom.
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One day after school, my friend Holly came into my classroom and asked: “how do you always have your classroom so clean at the end of the day?” My answer was simple- “my students do it.”
Within a few days, she set up her own plan for classroom jobs, created her new classroom job chart, and was telling me about how much her students bought into the idea of classroom jobs.
Even better, though, was how excited she was to be able to walk back into a clean and picked up classroom at the end of the day.
First, I’ll show you how to manage classroom jobs, then I’ll give you the good stuff, the jobs you should incorporate into your classroom. Here we go!
It’s All About Routines
Everything I talk about on my blog and podcast revolves around creating routines. Classroom jobs are a form of student routines.
The classroom isn’t just the teacher’s and it isn’t just the kids’ either. It belongs to the group. And the group is responsible for maintaining a safe, clean, and organized space.
Because of that, I recommend giving each student a classroom job. Here are a few ways I’ve managed the classroom jobs in the past.
- This was how I started out. Each job had an envelope with a job description in it. Each student also had a stick with their name (although I would recommend using numbers if possible, so you can reuse them) and a red and green jewel (or sticker or dot). This way they could flip it to “green” when they did their job.
- This is the chart Holly (my friend from the story above) used.
- I also used a clip system when I was teaching multiple classes.
However you display the classroom jobs is not that important. There dozens of ways to do it. The important thing is you pick something clear, concise, and stay consistent.
Assigning Student Jobs
As much as I love the idea of student choice and students applying for jobs, it isn’t always feasible. I did allow students to apply for jobs my first few years.
Once I began teaching multiple classes, it no longer was worth the time I was investing in it. I was spending my Friday nights reading through job applications and filling out a tracker to ensure no kid got the same job too frequently.
My Friday nights and self-care became way more important than honoring student choice with classroom jobs. (There were plenty of other areas of my classroom that students had a choice, so I didn’t see the problem with taking this option away.)
I switched to a clip system that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers and rotated their jobs every two to three weeks. Each student had a clip with their roster number on it. They could quickly see what their job was.
I distinguished the two classes by colors (blue group and green group) so their number was written in the color of their class.
Students Perform Jobs
Most students do their job at the end of every day. A few of the classroom jobs happened throughout the day, so they did them as necessary. Some of them do them multiple times throughout the day.
I spent plenty of time teaching classroom jobs at the beginning of the year. But by the first time we rotated jobs, the previous “jobholder” was able to train the new person.
Thom Gibson has a free course on classroom jobs and talks all about how to “hire” and “train” students for these jobs. It’s geared towards middle school but any teacher can utilize the concepts.
If you aren’t ready to implement class-wide jobs, then you could try implementing a daily helper and team captain. This would give a few students some responsibility and a good way to ease into classroom jobs.
I would encourage you to also assign some roles for students to do before leaving at the end of the day. This will give them ownership and help you out more than you might think!
Classroom Jobs for Elementary Classrooms
There are your standard jobs like line leader, caboose, electrician, etc. But I also recommend some other jobs. Here is a quick list of a few unique jobs and their duties:
- Technologist– Make sure iPads and computers are put away properly at end of day
- Mail Person– Puts graded papers in student mailboxes
- Librarian– Organize library at end of day
- Paper Organizer– Organize all papers in turn in baskets so they are facing the right direction, like papers together,etc.
- Board Eraser– Erase board, change date, and change Team Captain/Daily Helper for next day, possibly even write daily objectives
- Attendance Clerk– Move clips from present back to absent for the next morning
- Daily 5 Manager– Move literacy station cards for stations next day
- Language of the Day Captain– (part of Dual Language Program) Change LOD sign and add one word to Spanish word wall from class discussion that day
- Chair Stacker– Self-explanatory
- Caddy Organizer– Clean out caddies at end of day
- Station Captain– Make sure that all stations are put away correctly
- Gardener– Waters the plants
- Phone Operator– Answers classroom phone
- Lunch Helper– Pass out lunch boxes
- Room Inspector– Monitors/checks room at the end of the day
There are SO many ideas for classroom jobs out there. I found a few lists for you if you want some other ideas.
- 30 Classroom Job Ideas from Teaching Made Practical
- Here’s a list of 40 Classroom Job Ideas from Teachers Love Lists (LOL yes, we do!)
- Classroom Jobs for All Your Student Helpers from Scholastic
- Classroom Jobs for Distance Learning
Using a Classroom Economy
Classroom Jobs for elementary students is a great way to accomplish many things.
Not only do you have students helping you maintain an organized classroom, but you also help the behavior management aspect of the classroom.
Classroom jobs were a part of my classroom management system. I had a whole classroom economy that students were able to participate in and learn from. They had jobs, earned money, learned respect, paid rent, got fired, bought desks, and were awarded more money for positive behavior.
You can read about how I implemented the economic system in my classroom here + learn how you can make it happen in your own classroom!
The Behavior Management Economic System is available for purchase in my shop and ready immediately! This means you can get your classroom economy up and running in no time at all! Learn more here.
Classroom jobs are a super practical way to help keep your classroom organized.
If you feel overwhelmed with where to start with classroom jobs, start by implementing a Daily Helper and Team Captain. It’s only two jobs and will help you figure out what kinds of jobs you need in your class.
Once you feel confident with those two, try adding on some of the other classroom jobs shared above.
Here is a quick recap of all the links I shared with you in this post:
- Daily Student Routines to Keep a Classroom Organized
- Classroom Job Ideas for Distance Learning
- Behavior Management Economic System (how I used classroom jobs as a management and teaching opportunity!)
- Student Job Application
- Self-Care for Teachers– More important than spending Friday night assigning jobs
- 2 Must-Have Jobs: Daily Helper and Team Captain
- Download the free Daily Helper and Team Captain Resource
Until next time,
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