Classroom jobs are a great classroom tool, both to manage transitions in the classroom smoothly, increase time spent in the TL (target language), and to help create a culture that is special to each class. It helps create a bond between the students and brings everyone together as a team. There are many great blog posts about classroom jobs, however these are the jobs that have worked best for me, in an elementary setting. Many of them were inspired by Ben Slavic's work. Some are unique (as far as I know). I've promised to blog about the jobs that work well in my room many times; and have finally found time at the airport on the way back from presenting at the incredible CiMidwest. To save you some time, I am including a free download to my job badges. My students wear these in lanyards around their necks. In previous years I have used props to identify jobs, but for elementary students the props were a big distraction. They are proud to wear the badges, but mess with them less, so this works better for me. Download your copy (if you are a Spanish teacher) here. If any teachers of other languages would like these, let me know, and I can delete the Spanish words and leave them blank so you can write in your own words.
What jobs do I use? Read below for a list and a brief explanation of each job.
Artist - Draws characters or stories as they happen. Can use these pictures for a retell, or add words to them and add them to your FVR library.
Writer - Writes the story in Spanish or in English. Helps me keep track of what is going on in each story.
The watch- tells teacher 5 minutes before the end of the class. I often have so much fun with my students I forget to watch the time.
The boss - Walks around at the end of class and makes sure class is in order, doesn’t clean the mess, tells others to pick up after themselves.
Host- Greets visitors, offers them a comfy place to sit (can kick kids out of the best seats if they say it in the TL (target language) and a glass of water.
Doctor- If someone sneezes, stands up and says 1,2,3 and class says ‘salud’. Escorts kids to the office for injury or illness if necessary.
The door- Answers the door during class and asks for the password if letting people into the class.
Points- adds class points or teacher points for me when I am too far away from my point place.
Props- Brings me props (or retrieves props we throw across the room).
Calendar - Changes calendar date, and helps me with the calendar (older students can lead calendar)
Mini Teacher - Passes out or collects paper , turns off lights, and brings me things from across the room, and chooses two helpers to quickly pass out badge jobs at the start of class. At first I call out the Spanish words and they pass them out. When they have acquired the words they call out the jobs in the TL too.
Designer- If the room does not look good when they enter the classroom, the designer fixes it up (and can pick a friend to help)
Spy- Takes top secret messages from me anywhere in the school they need to go (the office, another teacher) sneaky like... They also "spy" on kids during class and report to me when kids speak English (so I can give myself points). The spy also reports to me when students speak in the TL OUTSIDE of class. So I can give the class points. This is the MOST popular job. It also gets the kids speaking lots of Spanish outside of the class, because they hope the spy will report on them. I don't care how many points my class gets (see here for a link to La Maestra Locas' blog and an explanation of the point system I use).
No English- If this person hears someone speaking English they have to say ‘No English, Spanish Spanish’ in the target language. If they say it before I can get to the board to give myself a point, I cannot give myself any points.
King or Queen- Makes decisions I don’t want to in the story (usually low pressure decisions like where someone lives).
Expert- Makes up details we don’t know in a story (how fast a car is, how far away the sun is, etc.). Whatever they say, we "believe" for the story. For example, if I asked the 'expert' what the fastest car in the world was, and they say 'a school bus', we are going with a super fast school bus for the rest of the story.
Computer Crew (3-4)- When we use computers they are in charge of re-setting computers for the next class, plugging them in (if necessary) and making sure headphones are wrapped.
Sub- Takes the job of any and ALL absent students
The below jobs fall away when students do not need to hear the English anymore.
What? - When we say ‘qué’ (what in Spanish) the “What” person, stands up, shrugs their shoulders and says “What” in the voice of Gato, from El Perro y el Gato. Not very helpful if you are not a Spanish teacher. Perro y Gato video at the bottom of this post in case you haven't seen it.
Who? - Says ‘who who’ like an owl when I say ‘quién’ in the TL
Where? - Looks back and forth quickly and says where, where, in a scared voice (as if looking for a monster) when they hear the word ‘where’ in the TL.
When? - Taps on an imaginary watch, and says ‘when, when’ in an annoyed voice when we say ‘when’ in the TL
How- Says ‘how how’ in a shocked voice (as if they broke their favorite toy) when we say ‘how’ in the TL.
Why? - Raises their hands and says ‘why’ in an anxious voice when we say ‘por qué’
Because- Says ‘because’ in a annoyed voice when we say ‘because’ in the TL.
How much- Makes money sign with fingers when we say ‘how much’ in the TL.
Translator- helps new students or guests in the room
That's it, my favorite jobs. I used to have classroom actors too, but almost all my students want to act, so I have decided to not make it a job, to give more students the spotlight.
Hope that helps, let me know if you have any questions!
Entering my 13th year in the classroom; I am a TPRS/CI Elementary Spanish Teacher. Passionate about TPRS/CI, Brain based learning, and using technology to bring the world to our students, and our students to the world.