Meaningful Responsibility

February 23, 2016

I believe that every classroom responsibility should be meaningful. Children know when they are given "busy work." I've been in many classrooms with jobs such as "Line Leader" which serve no purpose but to encourage the idea that being first is important. Instead of Line Leader, we have "Line Manager."

 

When it is time to travel outside the room in an orderly way, this person chooses a method for calling people up (by clothing, by favorite food, etc.), counts and ensures that everyone is ready, leads a chant ("Are You Ready?"), and makes sure the lights are off as we exit the room. It's an important responsibility and is useful to us all as it helps us transition easily and more calmly, and very rarely does anyone scramble to be the first in line. 

 

This idea of meaningful responsibility should show up in every "job" we offer children. Our Classroom Librarian role is a great example.

 

Our classroom Librarian has a daily responsibility as well as a weekly one. Daily, the Librarian makes sure the Library is maintained and calls on friends, two at a time, to choose books for Quiet Time. This requires that the librarian not only watch to see when it’s time to call someone else, but they also have to keep up with whom they’ve already called.

 

Some of the children choose to call on friends in the order cots are placed around the room. This is a very logical way to ensure that no one gets skipped and demonstrates beginning math and ordering skills.

 

Other friends enjoy calling on people randomly. This requires more advanced memory and attention skills in order to be successful and ensure that everyone gets a turn to choose two books.

 

The big job for the Librarian, however, comes at the end of the week; this is when they choose 10-12 books to REMOVE from our library and 10-12 REPLACEMENT books (either from our school library or from our new stash of Scholastic books.

 

But their duty still doesn’t end there.

 

After choosing the new books, the Librarian then decides how to arrange them on the main bookshelf, ensuring that they are facing front cover out and that all the books can be seen. This involves additional skills such as organization, visual discrimination, planning ahead, adjusting that plan as needed, etc.

 

 

 

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