Building Community

Classroom Jobs for Elementary Students

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Classroom jobs—or classroom chores—are a win-win for teachers and students. They keep the classroom running smoothly. Plus, classroom jobs teach responsibility and teamwork.

Teachers sometimes use the beginning of the year to kick off assigning roles to students. Discuss with students the importance of classroom jobs and make a connection to real-life occupations. Ask: What classroom job would you like to do? Why is that an important job? Make a list of student ideas. Then, ask: Are any of the jobs on our list similar to ones that adults do? How so?

How long students hold jobs is up to you. You could adjust the requirements of the jobs based on grade and consider what to include on the list based on your needs. Additionally, you could let your little helpers offer suggestions based on their interests and skills. No matter how you customize the experience, classroom jobs for elementary students can provide a sense of belonging and excitement!

Why Are Classroom Jobs Important?

Classroom jobs can help students develop the five social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies and other skills that lead to success beyond the classroom. As discussed in this blog post on the importance of SEL, the five SEL competencies developed by Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) are crucial to students’ learning and development. Here’s more about the skills kids can develop as helpers in their classroom community:

  • Accountability & Responsibility: Students might complete their tasks without much supervision. They must hold themselves accountable to achieve their goals.
  • Teamwork: Classroom jobs keep the classroom running smoothly due to students sharing work. Plus, classroom jobs can help take the load off of you.
  • Leadership: Some jobs, like “line leader,” literally allow students to take the lead.
  • Student Voice & Choice: When students “apply” for a classroom job, they are making choices for themselves and becoming invested in their learning. Students will also have the chance to voice their thoughts about their roles throughout the process.

Overall, classroom jobs can help students feel valued and included in their learning environment. They allow students to take responsibility and see how their contribution keeps the classroom humming along.

Classroom Jobs List Example

We’ve gathered examples of classroom jobs, along with brief descriptions.

  • Attendance Taker: Responsible for taking attendance
  • Backpack Monitor: Keeps backpacks organized
  • Caboose: Monitors the back of the line
  • Calendar Helper: Keeps calendar up to date and reminds the class of upcoming events
  • Chair Stacker: Stacks chairs at the end of the day
  • Door Holder: Opens, closes, and holds doors for the class
  • Gardener: Takes care of the classroom’s plants
  • Greeter: Greets guests with a big smile and introduces them to the class
  • Homework Collector: Collects homework from classmates
  • Librarian: Keeps the classroom library tidy and keeps a record of the books that students check out
  • Line Leader: Stands at the front of the line and leads the class
Classroom Jobs For Elementary Students Inline Image 1
  • Messenger: Relays messages to other teachers; delivers and picks up items from the office
  • Paper Passer: Passes out papers throughout the day and picks them up, too, if necessary
  • Pencil Sharpener: Sharpens unsharpened pencils at the beginning of the day
  • Recycler: Ensures recyclable items are put in the correct bins
  • Snack Helper: Hands out snacks
  • Sweeper: Sweeps dust and trash at the end of the day
  • Table Washer: Washes tables whenever necessary, such as after snacks or at the end of the day
  • Teacher’s Aide: Ready to help the teacher at any time throughout the day
  • Technology Helper: Turns the computers on in the morning and assists with other tech issues

To ensure some of these jobs are accessible for all students, incorporate adaptive items that can make completing tasks easier from the start. You could have step stools and wheeled carts ready for students with jobs that require moving or putting away items. Additionally, some of these jobs can be adapted for a remote or hybrid classroom. For example, the helper with the role of attendance taker can help you send out a form or poll to track students.

After deciding on the jobs available, showcase them in a chart on a whiteboard or bulletin board. If necessary, use large print and Braille labels to ensure everyone can access the information. The board will remind students of their responsibilities and allow the entire class to track job assignments.

How to Assign Roles

Before assigning classroom jobs to students, let them know what’s available. You can provide job descriptions or discuss them with your class. Students can then apply for jobs—another opportunity to gain valuable skills.

For example, students can submit a job application to express interest in the jobs they want to take on. Students respond to these prompts in our job applications: “I want to be _______ because _______“ and “Explain why you are a good candidate for this job.”

Students should be able to put into words why their skills are valuable for a particular role or why they want the job. To practice communicating effectively online, they could send their job applications by email. (See our blog on effective email writing).

Alternatively, you can conduct an interview to screen students for jobs. A sample of questions you can ask include:

  • Tell me about yourself and your skills.
  • Why do you believe you’re a good fit for this job?
  • Why does the job appeal to you?

A third option for assigning roles is to distribute them randomly. This can be a fun option, but remember, it doesn’t allow students to have a choice. An interactive way to assign jobs is through using a “Wheel of Fortune” game. You could design a big wheel out of cardboard and include one job per section. Students can spin the wheel to determine their next job!

Teachers might check in with students from time to time to see how everything’s going. Additionally, allowing students to reflect can help them see where their performance is solid and what they need to improve on in the future.

Share Your Favorite Elementary Classroom Job Ideas!

Do you have jobs for elementary students that are essential to your classroom community? Share your classroom job ideas with us on Twitter (@HMHCo) or Facebook, or email us at shaped@hmhco.com.

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Looking for a social and emotional learning curriculum for your school or district? Discover how SEL embedded throughout our core, intervention, and supplemental programs can help your students thrive.

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