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July 4, 2012

Happy 4th and Student Helpers

Happy 4th of July everyone!

In a bit I'm heading with the family to visit more extended family.  We are going to bring white chocolate filled strawberries with a little blue sugar on the top.  I haven't made them yet, so I should get going on that soon...  Tonight we will be setting off our own little firework display for the boys.  It's the first time that we have bought fireworks and I'm a little nervous about how loud it will be.  We have an almost 8 month puppy who has already been going nuts with the booms from the early partiers.  I love the 4th of July!      

The real reason that I'm posting today is I've been thinking a lot about the beginning of school.  It is July you know and after a month of vacation I have started to be restless wanting to get back into the classroom to start setting it up for next year.  I know, I know - I need to relax during the summer and actually take time to smell the flowers, read a book, take a nap... I am doing that too, but I just LOVE to think about my classroom and my future class.  

These pictures have been on one of my pages and I was thinking that maybe I should share what I do with my Student Helpers.  Over the years I have tried different things, and this is what I've found works best for me. 
I use a small skinny pocket chart to hold our weekly helpers.  Every Monday morning, rain or shine, we choose helpers.  Each student gets to choose their job for the week.  I don't go in number order to ask the students, it's a random 2 person draw.  The only person that can't choose is the STAR of the week (and for that I go by birthday order).  Some jobs have more responsibility than others, but it's all okay.  All students have a job they are responsible for - I tell them that it is their classroom and we all have to work together to have it function.  They believe me and do their jobs.  I really believe that if a student can be responsible for a job in the classroom, then they should do it.  Not only does it alleviate my own to do list, but they love to help out.  On Friday afternoons a helper takes down all the dicuts and puts them in a random pile for me to be ready for the next week.  

I used to write the student names on the dicuts, but with all the fluidity in my classroom I think numbers work better.  I have a class list with their numbers directly next to the chart - I hope that helps any substitutes that have to come into my classroom.  It also helps me the first couple of weeks of school when I'm still learning the alphabetical order of my class.    

Above you can see my jobs close up.  Here's what they do. 

STAR - it's a special honor to be the star.  I tell them that Monday morning who it is for the week.  I used to send home the poster the Friday before, but then I realized that I am so much more relaxed if I just do it that same day.  It's a big announcement and I don't have to worry about forgetting to send it home Friday afternoon with everything else that Friday entails.  The duties of the STAR are to share their All About Me poster (which can be anytime during the week), sit in the rocking chair during silent reading, turn the lights on and off, be the line leader, and answer the phone if it rings "Student speaking..."  It's a big job but someone has to do it!

Helpers and Papers - I have 4 of each.  Helpers usually help with all the odd jobs, being a messenger, taking people to the office. Papers pass out all the worksheets and the workbooks.

Librarian - Usually I have 2 kids that keep the library nice and neat but I'm not opposed to more wanting to help out.

Clean Up - So many kids want this job because they get to use the mini vac that is in my classroom.  What did I do before my dust buster?  I don't know, but am thankful for Scholastic's Bonus Points!  I also have a bunch of little brooms and dust pans that these students get to use.  The rest of the class still has to clean up, but these kids get the special tools.

Lunch Count - I used to do lunch sticks that the kids moved every morning.  I got tired of all the time it took for the kids to go through the line to move their sticks/clothespin/magnet.  Instead we come straight in, get out our homework, and I tell them it's time for the most important question of the day.  "Who's buying lunch?"  They always giggle and raise their hands... those Lunch Count kids do a quick count and tell me the number.  They make sure that all their numbers match each other.  It makes it go fast. 

Doors - Pretty simple, it's doors.  These kids keep the classroom open when we walk on through, and they also keep the cafeteria door open when we go through it. 

Basket Holders - My school has a lunch basket that the kids put their lunch boxes in in the morning.  It's just a laundry basket.  As we line up for lunch the kids grab out their lunch boxes, and the basket holders carry the empty basket up to the cafeteria.  After lunch the kids go directly to the blacktop, and drop their now empty lunch boxes into our room laundry basket.  The basket holders bring the tub back to place in front of the classroom.  

Thanks for stopping by to learn about what I do for my Student Helpers.  I would love to hear about how you tackle this in your classroom.  Have a great 4th! 

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