The beginning of year is such a chaotic time; students are learning the routines, teachers and students are getting to know each other, and at the end of the day, the classroom usually looks like an F5 tornado went through.  Our long days turn even longer as we stay after school to clean up the classroom.

One way I get through the long days in September is by putting the responsibility of the classroom environment back onto the students’ hands.  This is our home for the year.  If we keep it clean, if we’re respectful of each other and of our materials, we will have a better year.  Plus, there is no better time than the beginning of the year to teach students what the classroom expectations are.  In my rooms these expectations include cleaning, organization, and routines.

It is important that we use job boards in our rooms because they help students become invested in the environment and the materials.  If they know where everything is located, what the expectations for cleanup time are, and how to clean up the year will be a little bit less stressful.  And, I for one, will take less stress in my life.

Not to mention, there are some literacy skills and social emotional skill building while doing a job.  See… your mom had a point when she would make you help clean the kitchen after dinner every night.

…. Aka the right way…

The main thing you have to do is have a spot for everything.  Students mean well when they help clean up, but if your centers are not labeled they won’t know where things go.  This is when the markers end up in the library or the Legos inside the kitchen cabinet.  Label both the item and the location where the item goes with the same label.  In pre-k and kindergarten, it should be a visual and a word label.  In the older grades a word label should suffice.

Along with having a spot for everything it is of utmost importance to teach students how each job is done safely.  Again, you can’t expect your students to know what to do if you’ve never taught them.  Trust me, it should be common sense to pick up something from the floor and place it in the garbage can.  However, sometimes our kiddies don’t have that modeling from home and we have to be the ones to do it.

A couple of years ago I had a carpet cleaner job.  I bought a small dirt devil, taught the entire classroom how to use the vacuum safely.  After weeks of practicing with each student we were able to roll out the carpet cleaner job.  The students were able to clean the carpet on their own.  Again, I would supervise the usage of the vacuum but overall they did it on their own.  Go kids!

Absolutely!  Jobs also serve as behavior reinforcers.  It is such a pleasure and honor to have a job in my classroom.  However, if students make choices that are less than ideal (and go against the classroom rules) they can’t have a job.  I have a ‘You’re Fired’ rule- if students break rules more than three times (and redirection is not followed) they are fired from their job for the day.  Students always get their job back the next day.  However, for one day students who are fired get to see someone else fulfill their duty.

Life is tough and we don’t always get what we want.  Losing a job is a natural consequence after breaking rules or making bad choices.

It all depends on what help you need, how many students you have, what materials you have access to, and just how messy your kids get.

I did some research for fabulous and free job boards on teachers pay teachers and I found these great job boards.  Enjoy!

  1. Classroom BRIGHTS Job Board
  2. iHelp Job Board
  3. Editable Classroom Job Cards

Jobs are an easy way to help students become invested in the classroom environment and culture.  They can help keep your students on track when it comes to cleanup time.  And they will most certainly help you gain back a few minutes per day.

What do you think?  How much responsibility do you give your students?  Do you have great job ideas or boards you want to share?  Let us know below!

Cinthya Quintana
Cinthya Quintana

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