I love for all of my students to have jobs all of the time, so this is a system I devised that involves EVERY student EVERY day. Also, with traditional job assignments, which I used for several years, I found that a) I always forgot to switch jobs, and b) it was time consuming to assign new jobs often enough to keep all involved, and c) students would get upset/argue when they weren't picked for the job they wanted. At third grade, they weren't old enough to understand they would get a chance later. But this is a system that cultivates team reliance, independence, and leaves the teacher more time to do the important stuff :)
I think this system would work best with third grade on up, and would be especially helpful for older kids who might feel that "jobs" are childish and whose teacher wants some predictable structure for classroom help (rather than always relying on volunteers).
This system works best for me when students are seated in desk groups of four, or in the case of my classroom this year, at tables of four. There is one of each job at each table group, and each table group has that job at the same seat position (for example, the Materials Managers are all at the back left, and the Routines Managers are all at the front right)...does that make sense? BUT it doesn't matter where you put each job--jobs will rotate OFTEN!
If you don't have a total number of students divisible by four, there are a couple of options.
Option One: If you have just one extra student and you can't make groups of four, that student can be your "helper."
Option Two: If you have a few extras/not enough to make groups of four: Every group NEEDS a Materials Manager and a Homework Manager. The other two are negotiable. Keep reading to find out why :)
So...here's how the job assignment and rotation works.
I print off enough of the above labels, which are about 2x2 1/2 when they're printed off, for all of my table groups. I print them on card stock and laminate so they last longer. Then I put a tape "doughnut" on the back of each and tape them onto the SIDES (whichever side is facing out--the sides facing the front or the sides facing the back when desks are placed into groups of four) of the desks/tables so that the kids can see them and they don't get as messed up as if they're on the desk tops. I make sure that all the desks in the same table position are the same job, so that around the room, all the different Managers are in the same exact spot, regardless of group. This helps me call someone if they aren't paying attention (for example, "Bobby, you're the Materials Manager for your group. Come get these materials please!" or "Jane, did you check and turn in the homework for your group? I can't find it in the bin.")
Once a week (on Friday in my room), the students rotate jobs in their table groups. They take the labels off the sides of their desks, pass them clockwise, and re-tape them to the side of the desk. Again, every group has the jobs in the same order. This year, I have tables instead of desks, so I just have the students stand up and rotate themselves, and the jobs labels stay put. This way, every student has an important and helpful job every day. No arguing over jobs, no time consuming job rotation. Once every FOUR weeks (the students have done each job for one week), I give new seats and the students all get a new table group. Even though they may repeat jobs in their new group, it's a new place, new people, and a new Routine!
You can interpret and adapt the system to your needs however you need to. However, here is the job description for each Manager in my classroom:
-Make sure each student at their group has their homework agenda open for me each morning to come around and check for parent signatures.
-Collect the homework for their group in the morning and hand it in to the Homework Bin. Report any missing homework to me.
-At the end of the day, make sure each student copies the homework correctly in their agenda.
-Make sure their group is on task and focused, not talking, etc.
-Clean up the table group at the end of the day, making sure everything is neat and put away.
-Record group points on the board (each table group earns points for behavior; winning group receives a treat OR gets to be the team leaders for the next seat change and pick their own teams)
-This job can be done by the other team members if you don't have a total number of students divisible by 4 and choose to eliminate a Conduct Manager.
-Collect any materials needed for different activities (my tables have community supplies at each one, like scissors, glue, colored pencils, highlighters, Sharpies, and pencils, BUT Materials Managers come to get handouts or other supplies that aren't there.
-Hand in work from each group into the appropriate Hand In Bins.
-Race to get books, etc. as quickly as possible for their group, while being cheered on by their team (I use Whole Brain Teaching in my room, and this is a fun component!) (You'll never hand out papers again!! :)
Now--the more complex one, but simple once you get going :)
Find several jobs around your room that are not covered by the above. For example, in my room the Routines are things I never remember to do, but are simple enough for students to handle:
- Put the new date up onto the calendar.
- We have a 6-day cycle. Put the next cycle day on the board (magnetic letter days they just have to swap).
- Hand out student mail into mailboxes.
- Take attendance/lunch count.
- Line caboose to shut the door and lights when we leave.
- Check the lockers/cubbies/hooks to make sure all is neat.
- Check the different areas of the room to make sure all is neat and put back correctly.
- Teacher's Helper to run errands or notes to the office, etc.
- Sharpen class pencils.
- Reset behavior management clips/magnets/cards back to where they start each day.
- Make sure each student makes a lunchtime choice, and then reset lunchtime choice chart/clips/popsicle sticks at the end of the day.
- Check Daily 5 supplies for each "center" and report low supplies to me. OR Set up listening center each day with proper CD/tape.
- ANY jobs you never remember or think a student can handle.
I assign one of the above Routines--or anything I decide to make a Routine (and this changes when I change my room around or move rooms, etc.)--to each table group. Whoever is the Routines Manager at that table group is responsible for handling that Routine. (For example, Table 1 does the calendar, Table 2 does the lunchtime choices, Table 3 does the student mail, Table 4 does the locker check, Table 5 is the line caboose). If you don't have a total number of students divisible by 4, just skip a Routines Manager at a table or two, and either eliminate the jobs they would have done, or reassign them to other tables. I've done both before.
This system has worked wonders for me for the past 3 years. It's been my favorite way to do jobs by far. It does take a fair amount of reminding at the beginning (and throughout) the year, but it's rewarding because the classroom starts to run really smoothly, the kids take ownership of the room, and I get LOTS of help, so I can concentrate on teacher stuff!
I am putting my job labels on my Teachers Pay Teachers store for FREE!! Grab it if you want to give this system a try. Even if you've already implemented a system of your own and you want to try this, you can always do so after a break by telling your students you think they're ready for something new! Or, you can always wait until next year :)
Enjoy a smoothly running, well-oiled machine with a structured Classroom Jobs situation.
*This post is part of my "Back-to-School" series!*