But.... they will not BE in my room because I do not have a job chart. Yes, that's right.. a second grade classroom with no job chart! But how in the world do you keep jobs organized, you ask? And how do students take responsibility for the classroom and feel invested if there is no job chart? Let me
When I first started teaching (way back in the dinosaur age), I always had a job chart. I would scour catalogs (we didn't have Pinterest back then) each year to find a great chart to use in my classroom. I would hang it up, write the student names on the little die-cuts and thought it would be wonderful. Nope. Then I tried things like a rotating wheel, library cards, etc. Still no. Nothing ever seemed to really work for me.
Then there is the whole issue of deciding WHAT the jobs will be. Line leader, door holder, paper passer... I don't even NEED some of these jobs in my room. Did I need a job for everyone? Should I create jobs like "line caboose" and "person who gets to choose a book first" just to make sure everyone had a job? And if not, how do I deal with the ones who don't have a job that week? Which brings me to another issue for me... (and obviously I have issues with this as you can see)...
How do I change the jobs each week and keep track of who is supposed to be doing what? Yes, I know I can just rotate jobs clockwise (works great if you have enough jobs for everyone) or randomly pull from a bag of clothespins... but it always seemed to be a production. And then there is remembering WHO does WHAT. Time to hand out papers... who's job is that? And can you please pass them a little faster, I'd like to get done before your next birthday. All the chairs are not pushed in... who is my "chair pusher inner" and why are you slacking? Nope, too much for me.
Soooo... I created a foolproof (for me, anyway) way to still give kids responsibility in the classroom without making my head spin. Ready? It is called... "Helper of the Day." (cue the applause and sharp intake of breath) I know... not a new idea, but whoa Nellie! (anyone really use that expression?), it works wonders for me. Here's what we do.
Every day, one person is the Helper. (I capitalized the word because it is important. Some of my kiddos might think it should be in ALL caps.) The Helper does all the coveted jobs for the day - line leader, bringing notes to the office or running errands, being the calendar teacher for morning meeting, choosing the greeting/activity and pretty much anything else I need a student to do. Some days it's only those main jobs, while other days the Helper is my right-hand man (or woman).
Now, don't think that the Helper is the ONLY one who does anything in our room. My kiddos know they are ALL responsible for taking care of the room and getting things done. Cut your scraps from your interactive notebook pages into little bits?... Go get the trash can. Need dice and a whiteboard for the math game? ... You know where it is. General classroom responsibility is claimed by all.
Bu wait? Just one kiddo has a job? How do you remember who it is? Oh, I have a solution for this, too. And it's genius. (One of my former teammates told me that, so I know it is.) We go in order of names on the workboxes. Yep, first person on the top starts it off, then the next day is the next person, etc. If you're absent on your day, then you can be the Helper the next day - but if it's any longer than that then you have to wait until your next turn because it's just too confusing to keep track of. And the best part of this system? I DON'T HAVE TO REMEMBER ANYTHING. There is always someone (or two, or twelve) who know EXACTLY whose job it is today... and tomorrow... and when their's will be two weeks from now. And it's easy to check - Who was the Helper yesterday? Luis? Then, no your turn is not for another week - see how Rachel's name is next? If you don't have workboxes, you can use mailboxes or something else. The key is for it to be something that displays every child's name and is easy to see.
So what do you think? Are you planning on trashing your job chart and moving to Helper of the Day? I promise, it will make your life easier. Still love your job chart and never giving it up? Good for you. The point is that everyone needs to find something that works for them - even if its different than what everyone else is doing. That's ok! You think no job chart makes me a rebel? Wait until I tell you about my "behavior management system"...