As anyone who has ever entered a classroom is well aware, the biggest challenge we face is that of classroom management. What makes it even harder is that because our students change every year, our classroom management system may need to be adjusted as well. My experience hasn’t been much different, but I did find a few components that I liked to use and worked with most of my groups– even some of my middle school groups.
As a math teacher, I try to tie the things that we do to the real-world. With that idea in mind, when I first started teaching, I wanted a way to give students a better understanding of how the world works. The classroom management system I want to share with you today is one that has served me well over the years and created an opportunity for me to infuse a little bit of economics into the classroom.
The basic idea of the system is that students each have a classroom job, earn classroom cash based on their job duties or for other contributions to our classroom society, and have the opportunity to spend their cash on things they want. The system is designed to be pretty simple because I did not want to overwhelm myself with a system that required a lot of time and effort. Once the system was set-up, it required minimal effort to run.
Here’s how it works:
- I create a “Help Wanted” center in the classroom where I display all of the classroom jobs with the job responsibilities and salary displayed.
- There are two types of jobs: nine-week jobs and weekly jobs. Nine-week jobs require students to complete an application and interview for a position. They pay weekly for nine weeks and the salary is a great deal more. The weekly jobs are available to students who do not have a nine-week job, but they rotate weekly. They do not require an application and pay less than the nine-week jobs. They also pay weekly but are typically only available every other week.
- I review all of the job postings and explain that all students will have a job, either as a nine-week worker or as a weekly worker. I then offer the students an opportunity to apply for a nine-week job. (I usually ask each student to find some way they can contribute to our classroom and apply for at least one job.)
- I review each application and ask follow-up questions to determine which students are the best fit for each nine-week job. (Once I make the initial selections, I do some job training with each student before setting them loose.)
- Students who are not selected for a nine-week job are placed in the rotation for the weekly jobs.
- Each Friday, my Banker hands out the salary to each student based on his or her weekly pay.
- Students then have the opportunity to make a purchase, a coupon for a reward of some type or a treasure box pick, with their earnings or save them for later.
- After nine-weeks, I offer students another opportunity to apply for a nine-week job. (As much as possible, I try to ensure each students get a nine-week job at least once during the school year.)
The picture above illustrates an example of the job postings on my job board. I place student pictures or a name tag next to the job responsibilities on each posting to identify the current job holder. For the weekly jobs, I post weekly job titles and my job manager rotates the job board each week and displays a new name next to each job title. I have included a list of my classroom jobs below.
* Nine-Week Jobs
- Banker- hands out weekly salaries
- Classroom Manager (2)- maintains various aspects of the classroom based on teacher needs
- Birthday Coordinator- prepares student birthday certificates and attaches a birthday pencil
- Job Manager- manages the job board and rotates weekly jobs
- Lunch Monitor- takes the lunch count and records it on a campus Google doc
- Attendance Monitor (2)- prepares folders of absent work when students are absent
- Maintenance Manager (2)- maintains classroom cleanliness and organization
* Weekly Jobs
- Teacher Assistant- helps the teacher as needed
- Library Helper (2)- delivers books to the library for check-in on library day
- Runner- runs errands for the teacher
- Thursday Folder Helper- helps to stuff Thursday folders
- Recycler (2)- takes recycling to outdoor receptacle
- Gardener- waters classroom plants
- Noise Monitor- maintains classroom noise during group work or unstructured times
- Computer Monitor- ensures computers are turned off each day
Sound Off! How do you manage jobs in your classroom?