February 2012 | Peace, Love, and First Grade


Hope you are having a great week! We are exactly 7 school days away from our Spring Break! Unbelievable! This year has flown! I don't know about y'all, but this time of year makes me a little nervous for my kiddos! I want them ALL at a second-grade level NOW!

So, on to what works for me...I just have one today because it's pretty lengthy!

***I wish I had more pics for this post... 

I have tried a dozen different ways to manage helpers in my classroom.

What works best for me:
1 Daily boy helper and 1 Daily girl helper
Everyone has a 9-week job.

Let me explain. Each day, one boy and one girl are the class helpers. They are responsible for monitoring the restrooms, alternating leading and caboosing the line, running errands, passing out papers, etc.

This works well. No fancy chart needed here! And...another glare!
9 Week Jobs
ALL students have full-time 9-week jobs. Below is a list of the jobs in my classroom. I marked the number of students who hold each position for a 9 week period.

**Note: Because some jobs are much easier than others, some students have more than one job. For instance, the student who changes the Daily Helper chart clips also helps make sure the closet is clean.

1) Gathering and sharpening pencils at the end of the day (We just received a Classroom Friendly Sharpener! Love!) (2 students)
2) Putting all the behavior clips back to green (We use clip up/down chart.) (2)
3) Setting up and taking down the class store on Friday afternoons. (3)
4) Changing the clips on the Daily helper chart (1)
5) Making sure the student staplers and tape dispensers always have staples and tape (1)
6) Changing Date Stamps daily (1)
7) Straightening the Reading Center (2)
8) Straightening the Daily Five Table (2)
9) Straightening the Math shelves (2)
10) Making sure the closet stays clean (This includes letting classmates know when their bookbags or jackets are on the floor, etc.) (2)
11) Turning on and off the SMARTBOARD (1)
12) Turning on and off overhead lights and lamps (We have quite a few lamps.) (1)
13) Throwing away teacher trash at lunch (They came up with this, not me.) (1)
14) Recording lunch count-marking trays or boxes. (We use magnetic name cards to choose lunch box or tray.) They're actually very good at this job! (2)
15) Taking down magnetic names from the lunch count board at days end (1)
16) Taking sidewalk chalk and other playground "stuff" out to recess (1)
17) Taking the trash cans to the custodian when she walks to the door (We have 4 trash cans.) (2)

  Pencil Sharpener-#1             Behavior Chart-#2 

Our lunch check-in names-#15 above

All students are responsible for keeping their areas neat. Everyone gets to use our mini brooms to sweep!

My tips for you:
I have students fill out an application stating what jobs they are interested in and why. I "hire" students according to these job applications.

We add jobs as the need arises. Very often, a student will say, "That should be a class job," and we just make it one.

Do students ever get "fired?" I am sorry to say, "Yes, they do!" Some students also quit if the job is not everything they dreamed it would be. When that happens (just like the real job market) the student has to take whatever is out there.

I hope some of this makes sense to you! Implementing our 9 Weeks Job Program has made my life SO much easier! AND- the kiddos love having the responsibility of a "real job!"

Have a great week!


Are you a junkie for classroom organization tips? 
Since I love seeing what works for others in their classrooms,  I thought I'd share a few things that work for me.  Seriously, seeing other classrooms never gets old to me!

I'm sure many of you use this or something like it, 
but in case you don't, let me share. 

Students' names are written on clothespins and placed in a container. 
I use a little pail. 

When we do ANY activity that requires taking turns, the bucket comes out! 
The rest I think you can figure out. 

The first time I tried something like this, I used popsicle sticks. The problem with those was there was nowhere to put the sticks once they came out of the pail. Clothespins easily clip onto the pail. 

My Tip for you: (What I learned the hard way!)
*I paint my clothespins first so the ink from the Sharpie won't bleed. Actually, this year some other teachers' children painted them for me. They loved it!

Side note: One of my sweet girls should NEVER buy a lottery ticket but should ALWAYS enter a draw-down because her clip is consistently pulled last. She's a really good sport, though!

If you don't use something like this, I encourage you to try it! 
Makes my life much easier!

The next things that work for me, and I truly could not live without, 
are my mini brooms and dustpans! 

That may sound nuts to you, but they are an enormous help in this classroom. 
My kids LOVE using the little brooms and can share the workload with a friend. 

I promise, they all use them without being asked! 

I hang my brooms on 3M hooks behind my classroom door. 
You can tell there isn't much room back there.

My Tips for you: (Things I learned the hard way!)
*Make sure the plastic is thick enough to withstand little hands that aren't always gentle. 
*I also suggest angled brooms. They're easier for the little ones to handle. My current brooms are straight and not as easy to use.
*Make sure you hang the brooms where all kiddos can reach.

Well, that was fun! I hope to keep this midweek post going. That's all for now! 
I'm going to try to remember to snap a pic of our Gumball Math Facts board WITH gumballs! That seems to be working, too! Much fun!

Happy Midweek!!!