Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tricks of the Trade: Classroom Jobs

Tricks of the Trade Thursdays are back!!

After a two week involving me being in India and Jessica moving across the country, both of us are finally ready to get back to Tricks of the Trade.  We are hoping to help out all you folks who are going back to school very soon.  Sorry to remind you.  Hehe.

This week's theme is:

Before I begin sharing my tips, I just have to say that I LOVE having classroom jobs.  They are so beneficial to me and the students.  I think it is so important to teach the students responsibility and to help them feel ownership over their learning and the classroom.  Also, having the students do a lot of the odd jobs around the classroom saves me precious time and energy.  That being said, I am going to share how I have run my classroom jobs and some of the changes I am thinking about making.

This is what my jobs "board" has looked like.

I am an ice cream addict, so when I found this cute kit at JoAnn's a few years ago, I was ecstatic.  The scoops and cones are so cute.  However, now that our school has implemented the CATCH school-wide health program and I am on the committee for it, I am beginning to reconsider the ice cream theme.  I already have a cupcake themed birthday wall, so I am not sure I need to keep the frozen treats around.  

This year I plan on using an awesome product that I won from Sandra at Sweet Times in First.  She has two classroom job packs, one zebra-themed, one chevron-themed.  I chose the fun and colorful chevron pack.

I can't wait to print, laminate, and set up her cute classroom helper cards.  That's one of my must-do projects.

Now, on to my tricks of the trade...


Calendar- Adds the date card to the calendar every morning.  Also, changes the days for "Today is...," "Yesterday was..." and "Tomorrow is..."  Creates/continues the color pattern.

Weather- Checks the weather and temperature daily.  Graphs the information.

Days of School- Adds 1 day to each of the various "Days of School" counts.  Click the picture below to read more about the different ways we count the days in my room.

Lunch Crate Carriers- Carry the tub of lunch boxes to the cafeteria at lunch time and bring back the empty crate afterwards.

Line Leader- Self explanatory.

Door Holder- Ditto.

Caboose- Ends the line.  Shuts of the lights when we leave our classroom.

Librarian- Organizes and straightens the classroom library.  Returns school library books on library day.

Teacher's Helper- Does random odd jobs for me.  Runs errands to the office.  Fills in in two students are absent.

Substitute- Fills in for any absent student.

Next year, I plan to add at least a Clean Up Officer and perhaps a Pencil Sharpener.

Jobs are rotated weekly.  I have enough jobs so that half the class has a job and half does not each week.  I may change that next year as I tweak my list of jobs, but I may not.  I do not want to create jobs just so that every student can have one every week.  I want my jobs to be useful and necessary.

I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my job rotation.  A kindergarten teacher who hosted me in her classroom for a college practicum showed me this method.  It totally suits my insane organizational needs.  Hehe.  Here's what it looks like:

I admit this looks a bit OCD, but it's actually really helpful and not that complicated.  The goal of the chart is to make sure the job rotation works out for every student to try every job before repeating, not to plan the whole year.  To do this, I list the jobs across the top and then fill in the students numbers across the rows.  I highlight the ones and check to see that they are alternating without repeating.  Once the "1" gets back to the first job, I check to be sure that person hit every job.  If it did, then I'm done and the rotation works.  If the "1" repeats or skips a job, I have to adjust the number of jobs to make the rotation work.  Then, during the year, I just move each student one spot every week.  Make sense?  Hope so.

Those are my tricks of the trade for classroom jobs.  I can't wait to read yours.  Grab the button to link up.

Also, check out Jessica's classroom job ideas over at Joy in the Journey.

Joy in the Journey

Before I go, it's time for Day 2: Part 2 for...

Left My Heart in Hyderabad
This morning we woke up and went down for breakfast in the hotel.  The employees did not have the food ready yet, which I am beginning to realize is a trend.  Everything here runs on “India Time,” which is much more chill than “American Time.”  Our host, Paul played guitar and we sang some worship songs while we waited for the food to be ready.  It was a beautiful way to start the day.
After we ate, we loaded up in the bus and drove to a super fancy hotel, Royal Reve, for a meeting of the Blossoms Network, an organization uniting different organizations to care for children in need.  They are based in Hyderabad and are incredibly well-organized.  What a cool idea to unite together to meet all of the kids’ needs!

At the hotel we met in the Gold Room, which featured white clothed tablecloths and covered chairs.  The fanciness of the hotel stood in stark contrast to the rubble and trash-covered streets just outside the doors.  I always have a really hard time seeing the disparity between wealth and poverty.  Back home, it’s always hard to drive from Newark into my town because there is such a visible difference between the two.

After waiting awhile (India Time again, hehe), the meeting began with worship led by Paul and our song team.  It was so neat to be able to worship with people in a different country.  The Holy Spirit definitely showed up as we sang songs like Yeshu Tera Naam and Trading My Sorrows.  One of the Indian ladies led the motions for us all.  It was so much fun to sing, "Yes, Lord.  Yes, Lord.  Yes, Yes, Lord!"
At the end of worship, Paul spontaneously shared his testimony.  I was shocked to hear that he almost died at 4 years-old after drinking a whole bottle of kerosene during a game of “Doctor” with his brother.  Paul was in a coma for days, but his dad wouldn’t give up on him.  He miraculously lived and then later got into break dancing.  He faced some serious trouble (we don’t know what) and attempted suicide twice before accepting Christ.  He explained that a woman had been diligently praying for him.  Now, Paul is a faithful, generous servant of the Lord.  In just two weeks’ time he became one of my chief role models of what a true Christ follower looks like.  What an amazing example of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit!
When the actually meeting began, the leaders’ presentations convicted me about the things I do that either intentionally or unintentionally offend and/or hinder children from coming to Christ.  This could be anything from not really listening to them when they talk to being overly harsh when disciplining them etc.
After a huge and tasty meal at Paradise Restaurant, we were all excited to head to the first children’s home.  On the way, we saw the first slum homes that we had seen.  It was a bit surreal to realize that people really live on the side of the road in tarp tents.  Another interesting moment was when Paul told all of us to close the bus curtains because there had been riots in the area.  Apparently, nationals like to take advantage of white people to get more attention for their causes, so we had to lay low.

            While at the children’s home, I was overcome with joy as the kids introduced themselves, sang to us and with us, and recited verses.  When we did the Jonah craft, I had fun helping the kids color their chepas (fish) and then having them bite my finger with the finished craft.  

Raju's smile stole my heart!
Later, we played hand-clapping games for literally 2 hours!  We did “Down By the Banks of the Hanky Panky,” counting to 10 in English and Telegu, ABC’s in English and Telegu, and then learned a new game called “7 Up.”  I loved seeing the kids and everyone else laugh uproariously as we all messed up at “7 Up..”  To play the game, you have to put one of your arms across your chest and say a number 1-6 in order.  The direction your arm points indicates who goes next.  On 7, you have to put one hand on your head and say “7 up.”  Play went in a circle.  The kids laughed so hard when we Americans kept messing up!

Though we had a blast today and I can see the love the children have and receive, I still wonder what emotions and fears they are battling.  I hope to hear more of their stories.  


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