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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Classroom Ownership

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I want every child to have a sense of ownership in my classroom. It is important for the children to develop a sense of responsibility.  The way to do that is to give them opportunities to be responsible.

I assign classroom jobs.  There are weekly jobs that rotate so that every child is able to practice that skill.  There are jobs that are earned and there are permanent jobs that are chosen.  There are also jobs that change periodically.

The weekly jobs that rotate consist of:

  • door holder-self explanatory
  • equipment person-carries out the playground equipment and accounts for all the pieces
  • lights person-self explanatory
  • teacher assistant-This student is my go-to helper.  He/she passes out papers, puts mail in the mailboxes, stamps papers, takes notes up to the office, or any other job that pops up.
  • classroom inspector-He/she is in charge of checking to see if chairs are pushed in, desks are clean, areas are clean, helps find missing pieces, etc...

The job that is earned is the classroom star student.  This student is the line leader and assists the student teacher assistant when need be.  He/she is the substitute for the teacher assistant if the teacher assistant is absent.

Every child has a permanent position. Depending on my students sometimes the permanent position gets reassigned or I might change them out after a couple of months.  Most of these jobs are end of the day jobs and are completed after we pack up.  Some are during the day.  All are important.  Because they are so important, I like to know who is responsible for completing the jobs.  There are so many that it makes it easier on me for them to be permanent AND the students really like becoming the expert in their area.  Here is a list of permanent jobs.

  • lunch cups-changes the cups from red to green and green to red.  At my school when the cups are on red there is no talking.  When the are on green there is quiet talking.  The first ten minutes of lunch are on red so I teach the cup person how to watch the clock and then look for my signal
  • library people-several students help organize the classroom library.  Each tub is numbered and all the books in that tub need to match the number on the outside. 
  • Accelerated Reader helper-he/she organizes the AR books and answers student questions about AR.  
  • computer shut down-a student shuts down the computers at the end of the day and straightens the keyboard, mouse, and mouse pad
  • board eraser-erases all white boards
  • stick person-students have to move their stick as part of my behavior management plan.  After we have colored in our citizenship chart, the stick person moves the sticks back to where they need to be.
  • floor monitor-sweeps up the big pieces of trash with the cow broom
  • missing pieces-I have a tub for lost and found in the room.  At the end of the day, this child attempts to put back toys/tools that were left out.
  • backpacks-this person makes sure that everyone has picked up their backpack and lunch box
  • paper/clipboard person-makes sure that the paper trays are organized and the clipboards were put back neatly
  • pencil people-sharpen the community pencils in the red cup and place them in the green cup.  They also sharpen other student's special pencils at the electric sharpener.
  • glue monitor-checks to make sure all the glue bottles were closed
  • counter person-wipes down the counters and some tables with a baby wipe.
  • substitute-fills in for any student that is absent
Sometimes I add extra duties to smaller jobs like the glue they arise

The jobs that change periodically are the materials managers.  Next to each team is a three drawer bin.  Inside the bin are all the necessary math manipulatives.  The materials managers pass out and collect these manipulatives for their team.

In my post Blue Moment / Blue Day (Happy Times)  I explain about how the Star Student of the week is the line leader.  That position is earned. 

I hang a poster with the names and assigned jobs so we can all easily keep track.  This takes a little extra time to set up at the beginning of the year but it is worth it later on.  You can even have the job experts train the other person that replaces them (if they get replaced).

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  1. I like your list of classroom job descriptions. I also think that having a line leader is essential for any classroom jobs system.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment. You're right! I described how the line leader is selected in a previous post and didn't link it to this one. I added it just now towards the end of the post. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.