Image by Sheelamohan
No, I’m not talking about classroom jobs, like the all familiar paper passer, pencil sharpener … etc. I’m talking about using the idea of jobs as a community builder.
The new school year is here. I’m once again finding myself digging up lessons from the past. For the past six years I’ve used an activity that always seems to generate student interest and builds a positive learning climate. This activity can also be utilized and referenced at back to school night. I’m referring to the activity My Job, Your Job, Our Job. Here are my subjective steps to implement:
1.) Pass out a Post-it note to each student in the classroom. Ask the students to write down 2 – 3 sentences (or it can be just a few words) that describe their teacher’s job. In other words, what is the teacher’s job? Often, you’ll get a few surprised looks and then the students get busy writing down their ideas. I try not to model too much during this, as I want the students’ original thoughts and ideas. I then ask the students to place all of the Post-it notes under the “Teacher Job” category on the whiteboard. You can write out the answers or just use the Post-it notes, as it adds to the authenticity of the activity.
2.) Follow step one, but instead of writing about the teacher’s jobs, the students will describe their job.
3.) Students will describe their parents’ jobs at home (not their employment). This may require a bit of modeling, as some of the answers may be way off base (although that may add value and humor to the activity). I remember one student of mine a few years ago wrote down that her parents’ job was to provide health insurance for her. The parents thought that was hilarious, especially coming from a second grade student.
4.) In my opinion, the “Our Job” portion is extremely important and what I generally emphasize in class. I ask the students to think of a common goals that all participants (teacher, student, and parent) share. I ask the students to write down their answers and the class starts to conclude that all stakeholders seem to be working together (for the success of the student). This is a unique learning experience and also provides a critical foundation during the beginning of the year.
5.) Optional – Take a digital picture of the poster that was created and show it to the parents during back to school night.
A few examples are below.
Or students can fill out their own individual sheet …
Additional Resources: MCPS Baldrige and Word template for activity.
8 thoughts on “My Job and Your Job – Community Builder”
I love this and am so gonna steal your idea. I teach high school and expect to get multitude of suggestions, especially on what “my job” is!
Great, I’m glad that you found the idea useful. I also tend to get a lot of suggestions in that category as well. It’s great material to hang up before back to school night.
I think this is a fundamental activity for each classroom that will help build trust and respect for each other and all involved. I wonder if I ask my teachers what their job is , what my job is, and what our jobs are, what they would say. Hmmm… That’s a thought for next PD! 🙂
I like this activity! The impact on the classroom environment would be strong by building ownership and trust. I also love how it incorporates parents into the classroom. Not to mention, sharing a synopsis of student ideas of parent jobs at parent open house would definitely alter the dynamic from a teacher-parent discussion to a teacher-parent-student discussion. Thanks for writing about it!
I’m planning on using this activity at some point during the first week of school. I find it’s great in helping build a classroom community and provides an opportunity for parents to engage in the community-building process. Thanks for the comment.
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