Creative Classroom Jobs

August 30, 2012

By Sandra Rief


Part of establishing a sense of community and positive, cooperative classroom environment  is to ensure that all students learn to take responsibility for making the classroom run smoothly. Many teachers create a variety of classroom occupations for this purpose that students are assigned or select/volunteer to do.  Here are some typical classroom jobs at the elementary level: banker, board cleaner, line caboose, calendar aide, center inspector, computer technician, door holder, energy monitor, floor monitor, librarian, lunch counter, mail carrier, materials manager, messenger, paper monitor, pencil patrol, pledge leader, recycler, secretary, water monitor, substitutes (for taking over any absent students’ jobs).

In our book: How to Reach & Teach All Children in the Inclusive Classroom, 2nd edition, my dear friend and co-author, Julie Heimburge, shares 27 jobs she created in her 5th grade classroom, aligned with the theory of multiple intelligences.  She had her students officially apply for the jobs they were interested in by filling out a job application for their four top choices.  Julie found students were motivated and took their responsibilities seriously.  Here are 17 of these jobs and their descriptions:

From: Rief, S. & Heimburge, J. (2006) How to Reach & Teach All Children in the Inclusive Classroom, 2nd edition.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Classroom Job Descriptions

Book Boaster– Reads extensively.  Monitors the classroom library.  Gives short book talks when new books come in.  Assists with book orders and their distribution.  Makes suggestions of new books that the class should purchase.  Makes sure new books are marked with the genre label and placed in correct basket.  Oversees the teams that are in charge of maintaining certain sections of the library.  Must be an avid and enthusiastic reader with good organization skills.

Conservationist:  Is willing to help in the recycling effort with paper, cans, cleanup of the playground.  Making posters to remind students not to litter and to conserve water and electricity.  Looks for books and articles about saving our environment and pollution control.  Appreciates the need to protect and preserve our environment and is committed to doing so.

Culinary Caterer:  Enjoys planning food preparation and serving food.  Sets up a plan for an orderly, fair and well managed disbursement of food and makes sure that there are adequate supplies such as napkins, plates, and utensils.  Assists students who bring in food for a party or celebration and helps the teacher when food is sent in by parents.  Keeps track of needed supplies.  Talks with school nurse about nutrition and food choices and shares those ideas with class.  Must have good skills attending to details involved in planning food preparation, as well as attention to food handling hygiene.

Enthusiastic Energizer—Plans and leads simple exercises when the class needs to release stress or on rainy days.  Leads the class in jogging the field.  Looks for sports books to add to the sports book basket and will watch for playground problems and report them to the teacher.  Will be in charge of choosing fair teams for sports activities.  Must enjoy physical activities and have good leadership and people skills.

Financial Adviser—Assists in collecting money for classroom field trips and special occasions. Assists an adult with the counting of money.  Will check off names of students who have paid, and will label and mark envelopes in which to place returned notices and money.  Must be skilled in arithmetic and have efficient organizational skills.

Gracious Greeter: Meets visitors and new students when they arrive.  Helps them adjust to the classroom and feel welcomed.  May be asked to give tours of the classroom or school or assist a visitor with supplies. Must be personable, friendly, and polite.

Helpful Housekeeper— Is willing to do extra cleaning and pickup that is not done by the class.  Jobs might include cleaning up the teacher’s desk, wiping down the sink area, putting up chairs, moving desks, or washing off the desks. Is responsible for picking up team or individual point cards from tables and helping make a new seating chart with the teacher.

Interior Designer—Is good at putting colors together, and likes to arrange things artistically.  May be asked to help with bulletin board design, door or window displays, or help classmate’s design, glue or staple projects that are eye appealing.  Knows how to use the paper cutter and teaches others the correct way to use it.  May help with special school-wide projects.   Must be skilled in artistic design and willing to help others.

Mail Manager—Sorts through all the special bulletins and mail from the office.  Places all mail in student mailboxes and goes to office to retrieve more if there are not enough. Glances over each bulletin and gives a brief summary of what each is about to entire class.  Is responsible for organizing returned mail in paper-clipped or rubber-banned piles.  Must have good organizational skills.

Math Materials Distributor– Hands out math manipulatives, graph paper, rulers, compasses, calculators and other math materials as needed.  Makes sure math materials are in working order and informs teacher if items need to be repaired or replaced.  Must be willing to check and deliver materials in a timely manner.

Performance Director— Helps organize readers’ theater scripts and presentations, poetry parties, and author’s teas.  Announces upcoming assemblies, gives an overview of the performances and writes brief summaries of the performances. Must be very interested in theater and performing arts, and capable of planning, organizing and overseeing such events.

Rippin’ Reporter— Is interested in writing articles for the school or community newspaper about activities that we are doing in class. May be asked to write summaries of class activities for the school website.  Must be a strong writer and excellent speller who is willing to put time and energy into representing the class to the outside world.

Sensational Secretary—Takes messages to office.  Writes thank you letters to visitors, consultants and reminder messages to students.  Changes the date on the board each day.  Assists the Homework Helper with those assigned tasks (as needed).  Must be a strong and neat writer and excellent speller.  Must also be polite and willing to assist.

Serious Scribe–Likes to write and is very neat at lettering, printing and cursive writing.  Must be organized and be able to use a ruler to draw straight lines on unlined posters.  Might be asked to rewrite charts, sentence strips, poster lettering, and word wall entries so they are exemplary for bulletin board and window displays.  Might be asked to type up and format items for formal display.  Must have very neat penmanship and able to pay close attention to details.

Squad Leaders (two people)–Act as line leaders and make sure that their lines are well managed for movement throughout the school.  Will stop at teacher directed locations to realign their squads if necessary.  Will make sure that the squads are well behaved and quiet as they walk through the school if the teacher is not visible when they move to library, computer, or P.E.  Must be able to take leadership role and be respected by classmates.

Substitute Assistant–Is responsible for helping the substitute teacher, student teacher or adult when the teacher is not in the classroom.  Will be clear and concise in communicating with the adult so that he or she knows procedures, locations of items, and management techniques.  Must be polite and helpful, and interact well with adults.

Word Wizard— Is a good speller and likes to use the thesaurus, dictionary, and spellchecker on the computer.  Assists in teaching others how to use these tools, as well. Classmates will rely on this person to know how to spell a word or help them look it up.  They may ask the word wizard to proofread their paper for spelling mistakes.  Must have strong spelling, editing, and vocabulary skills, and be willing to help classmates.

Other jobs students could apply for incorporated strengths and interests in music, art, technology, etc.

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