Tuesday Teacher Tips: Classroom Helpers

Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas Tuesday Teacher Tips: Classroom Helpers
Tuesday Teacher Tips: Classroom Helpers
Every Tuesday Michelle, from Teach 123, and I will have a new installment of my favorite post, Tuesday Teacher Tips!
This week's tip is about classroom helpers. 
Sure, you see all sorts of great things on Pinterest and TPT. Twenty jobs all over a bulletin board, with jobs like Line Leader all the way to Shoe Lace Manager. Sure, it looks wonderful, but when you see everyone in action, it usually turns a teacher's wonderful day into pure ciaos.
I've had a simple plan for over twenty years. If you are new to following my blog, I've spent most of my career in Title I schools. Absenteeism due to a variety of reasons is usually our biggest problem. If you are constantly absent, you just don't receive a full, quality education.
The system I use for helpers really helps cut down on absenteeism. I have two helpers each day. I go down an alphabetical list, two at a time. 
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas Tuesday Teacher Tips: Classroom Helpers
At the end of the day, when everyone is in line I move the pins down to the next two students and I turn to them and say, "Anna and Calvin, you have to be here tomorrow, you're my helpers." And then I give that day's helpers a piece of candy....yep, ONE ENTIRE PIECE OF CANDY...no one else. They've been excited to help all day and the candy is just a little extra thank you. When I was in a "no food reward" school in Texas, it was a sticker and a hug. Use what you like, just make it something that only your helpers get. 
With two helpers a day, everyone usually gets a turn every two weeks. Last year's class loved to count down the list at the end of the day and figure out what day would be their turn.
For this to help with absenteeism, you have to be a little bit firm, if they miss their turn, they have to wait until it cycles back to their name. Now, if the poor kid broke his arm, I might say to the class, "Since Calvin was a the hospital yesterday, we're going to go back up to his name." Then everyone agrees and it helps to foster a sense of kindness too.

This system also keeps your instructional time flowing smoothly.
  • Someone needs to go to the clinic, send the two helpers.
  • The office needs some forms picked up, no need to have hands waving in the air, pick me, pick me...just sent the two helpers.
  • Line leader is the first name, door holder is the second name.
  • Who gets to get their lunch first? The helpers!
  • Who gets to go to recess first? The helpers!
  • You need some books returned to the teacher across the hall? Send the two helpers!
This helps you, the teacher, not have to stop a lot to make decisions, your instruction time can just continue to flow!  
Looking for more tips? 
Click on the picture below to go to my Back to School Time Pinterest Board
I would ♥love it if you would like to follow it too!
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas Back to School Time Pinterest Board
 Michelle has some great tips about classroom helpers and what has worked for her in the classroom that she would like to share with you, too.
Be sure to head over to her blog!
Teach123's Tuesday Teacher Tip
In addition to our tips each week, we are hoping that you will share some of your ideas in the comments below!Tuesday Teacher Tips: Pencil Management at Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas
Each week we will choose one person who shared a tip on our blog to get a $10 shopping trip. We will announce the winner in the following Tuesday's post. The winner for today, July 22nd will be announced on the July 29th post. 
Tuesday Teacher Tips: Classroom Helpers
Do you have a great classroom helper tip to share?
Please be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you're the winner of the $10 shopping trip.
 

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13 comments

  1. This is a great way to motivate attendance. I have something similar with my star of the day. The person who is star of the day gets to do the calendar, line up first, hand out things, and do any special jobs. They also get to choose a friend for some jobs.
    It is exciting to see my stragglers get there early so they can get the calendar ready to go before the bell. They also tend to have a wonderful day, because they don't want to lose the privileges attached to being the star.
    I think having 2 names is a great idea, but what do you do if one of them is away? Do you let the other person pick a buddy?

    Charlene/Diamond Mom
    Diamond Mom's Treasury

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    1. Hi Charlene, First, I love the idea that your students get the calendar ready, that is so neat. To answer your question, yes, if the "first name" is absent, I skip to the next two children. If the "second name" is absent, I keep the "first name" and I drop down to the "third name" to be the second helper. Thank you so much for your comment! ~Fern

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  2. I just started using numbers instead of names last year. It works like a charm. I also divide them using odd and even for different activities. I don't have a separate jobs chart, but I was considering using one this year. I like your idea.
    I usually have a star of the day and that person does the special jobs, but for classroom jobs, maybe I can expand on that.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Charlene/Diamond Mom
    Diamond Mom's Treasury

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  3. I have tried several student job systems as a new teacher. I'm glad you referenced the end of the day headache because every afternoon felt that way. I'm so excited to hear about a system that is simple, fair and something that I can be successful at implimenting. My craft supplies are out and ready to make special glitter clothespins! :)

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    1. Your comment made my night! I wish you smooth sailing this school year! ~Fern

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  4. What I have found that worked in my room last year was assigning each student a job. Not having an assistant, I had two students who would check homework for completion. I also had what I called "a clean up crew" who would pack up first and then spot sweep and clean around the classroom. Those students who didn't have afternoon jobs only got up to get their book bags. It worked in my room. We changed jobs after progress reports. I noticed that it gave my students responsibility and they really learned their job which helped my classroom run smoothly. I like the idea of having two students do everything though. That seems really simple.

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    1. I love all your ideas, I'm sorry I missed this when you first published it. Thank you for sharing with my readers some other wonderful ideas!
      Fern :)

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  5. I also have a Star Student who is line leader and, along with the door holder, run errands, pass out papers, etc. I also have table captains who make sure the glue caps are secure, pick up and empty table trash cans and make sure their table is neat before getting ready for home. Makes my life easier and our custodian calls our class the neatest kindergarten class in the world. Ha!

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    1. I love all your ideas, I wish I had known about table captains when I was teaching....dried up glue sticks are the things nightmares are made of! :)
      Thank you for sharing with my readers some other wonderful ideas!
      Fern :)

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  6. I love the idea of the two daily helpers. Do these helpers also tidy the room at the end of the day?

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    1. Hi there! Yes, they do everything possible that I can think of that day! And if a task is too difficult, I let them pick a friend each. For example, if some library books needed to be returned to the school library, four children carrying them is easier than just the two helpers.
      Have a great year,
      Fern

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  7. I love the idea you have shared with us. I am thinking of using it as well. Thank you.

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    1. You're welcome, thanks for stopping by the blog! Fern :)

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