Job Charts and Engagement

By: Mary Kienstra on: August 26, 2015  in: Engagement

Who knew that a job chart could generate such excitement?   I thought assigning a few jobs to my students would IMG_1952foster some responsibility in class and might help my class run more smoothly.  What I didn’t realize, though, is how the jobs have affected engagement.  Job charts and engagement seem to go together very well  – and I didn’t expect that at all.

I’ve taught for many years and have never assigned classroom jobs.  My schedule is different than many elementary teachers’ days as I teach a pull out program for reading and math.  After reading Paul Solarz’ book Learn Like a Pirate and visiting his classroom, I realized that maybe I should try assigning the students jobs.  It seemed to work so well for him!  I wondered how I would set this up since I teach different kids all day.

After much consideration, I decided to assign just 6 jobs:

  • Chief Target Officer:  This helper announces the day’s learning target at the beginning of class and then summarizes the target at the end of class.  I hope this will help keep the focus on the learning target and give students ownership of the target.
  • Supply Clerk:  Classroom supplies are always an issue so this helper will be in charge of making sure our supplies are in place, sharpening pencils, and organizing supplies at the end of class.
  • Tech Monitor:   Taking care of our devices is everyone’s responsibility but this person will make sure everything is charging and put away properly.
  • Postmaster:  Passing out and collecting papers will be this person’s responsibility as well as handing back work to their classmates.
  • Librarian:  We have a new organization to our classroom library this year and this helper will keep all of the books organized and categorized properly.
  • Student Leader:  This is a “catch-all” category for a student who can help in any capacity.  The most exciting parts of this position include dismissing the class daily and directing the weekly Kakooma Challenge game.

Several responsibilities remain for everyone to share.  Timekeeper, for example, is a shared job.  I asked the kids to help me keep track of the time so that we transition on time.  Without fail, I’ve had someone remind us every day so far.  It’s also expected that everyone puts away whatever learning materials they take out.  These are responsibilities that help the room run smoothly and cut down the transition time.  That means more learning time.

After I introduced the jobs to the kids on Friday, I asked them to create their name card for the chart.  I laminated the name cards and attached the cards to the wall with velcro dots.  When they came in on Monday, the job chart was the center of their attention.  As we went over the jobs again, the buzz in the room was real! They couldn’t wait to get started.

What I didn’t expect is that they are so excited to perform these simple tasks.  They are learning responsibilities to each other as well as helping the classroom fun smoothly.  Seems like a WIN – WIN.  Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

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