Gold Collar Jobs

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SWBAT understand previously unknown words, connect them to their lives and, over time, will use them properly.

Big Idea

Keep your kids engaged by making them feel golden; all through the use of your classroom jobs!

Why This Lesson?

1 minutes

The more words we know, the more words we can read.  Well, of course! 
So, why not expose our students to as many words as possible?  As we expose our students to different ideas, it is important they see that not all words come from books- some of our best ideas come from conversations and things we see or do!  After all, since oral language is the underpinning of reading skills, we should expand the oral language abilities of our students by allowing them to SPEAK using exciting, colorful language! 

A quick, easy and free way to help our students get exposure to rich language is to simply change the names of our classroom jobs.  Initially, I thought these job titles might over their heads, but indeed, they always soak it up and fight for the jobs with the "gold collar" names!

Introduction to Students

5 minutes

I introduce my jobs, two per day, at the beginning of the school year. 

    However, I have also had to re-vamp my jobs mid-year.  When I did that, since I was changing something my kids had already gotten used to, I introduced "Gold Collar Jobs," one per day or maybe even two per week at that time. (I typically use my knowledge of my students to decide how much change they can handle at one time)!

*Important procedures for this process:
- students listen and repeat, so they have double exposure to words and ideas
- students practice speaking in complete sentences
- students use their own words to describe "job titles" to deepen their understanding of the terms
- students who are chosen for the jobs will be able to make a personal connection to the new words

When I introduce my jobs, I follow this procedure for introducing each time:

"Today, I am going to pick someone to be my ________.
Can you say _________?" (Students should repeat the job name.)
"If you are the __________, your job is to __________________________.
Can you repeat that, please?" (Students should repeat the job name and description.)
"Great!  So, today's _________ is ___________.
Who is the ___________?" (Students will say _____ is the ________.)
*****This step is the key- "So, please turn to a friend and tell them what ________'s job is today!"
(Students should turn to someone and explain the job in their own words.)
Students need to be able to describe the actions of each job to others- this is where the important vocabulary acquisition comes in!  This is the key to making these jobs a true learning experience!

"Today, I am going to pick someone to be my finale person.
Can you say finale person?" (Students should repeat, "finale person".)
"If you are the finale person, your job is to close up the end of the line-- because you are the final person.
Can you repeat that, please?" (Students should repeat, "If you are the finale person, you job is to close up the end of the line-- because you are the final person.")
"Great!  So, today's finale person is Bobby.  Bobby will be in the back!.
Who is the finale person?" (Students will say, "Bobby is the finale person".)
"Yes.  Now, please turn to a friend and explain to them what Bobby's job is today!"
(Students will turn to one another and give a job description in their own terms.)


"Today, I am going to pick someone to be my meteorologist.
Can you say meteorologist?" (Students should repeat, "meteorologist".)
"If you are the meteorologist, your job is to tell us the details of today’s weather.
Can you repeat that, please?" (Students should repeat, "If you are the meteorologist, you job is to tell us the details of today’s weather.")
"Great!  So, today's meteorologist is Bobby.
Who is the meteorologist?" (Students will say, "Bobby is the meteorologist".)
"Yes.  Now, please turn to a friend and explain to them what Bobby's job is today!"
(Students will turn to one another and give a job description in their own terms.)

A great idea here, to deepen the connection even more, is to allow students to experience texts (of some sort) related to these job titles.  For example, I could read a book about meteorologists or show this video, the day I introduce that specific job title.  I could read a book about zoologists or show this video, the day I introduce their job.  As for the finale person, the alphabet presenter and the path director, I put up reference charts dictating what those words mean: final, director, presenter.  Also, on the day I introduce maintenance crew as a job, I like to have our school custodians come in and talk about what all they do to clean our classroom!  There are so many ways you can deepen the connection for your students; the opportunities for new words are endless!

Assessing the Task

1 minutes

It is pretty easy to assess student's understanding of and connection to these new words.  I like to asses this, throughout the year, in may different ways. 

My favorite, and the easiest way to assess is to ask, "Who can tell me what the ________ does?"  Then, I call on students to see who can correctly provide a fitting description/definition.  Whoever provides a correct and detailed response is who I will choose to be that helper/job for the day!  I assign jobs this way for the first month or so of school.  Also, I love to assign jobs this way after fall, winter and spring break!
You will notice, in the video attached, that I am specifically asking students what their job descriptions entail; this is a good tactic because it helps me, throughout the day, assign someone else to a job if needed.  Also, it serves as a perfect, brief practice for speaking and listening skills.  (You can see in the video that I practice using appropriate vocabulary and speaking in complete sentences with one of mys students during this activity!)

Here is a list, in order, of ways I assess this task as the year goes by:
I listen to students' explanations of job descriptions (and correct if needed), as discussed above.
I have students write about the job that is their favorite and why.
I have students nominate others for jobs by telling me why someone is great at a specific job.
I have students speak about their jobs to determine if they were successful for the day.
I let students design new jobs and use them if they are good!

In the end, informal assessments of this task are really easy!  I like to let students write about their jobs at the middle and end of the year and compare their answers to see what has changed and what is popular to my students and why!

Expanding the Lesson

5 minutes

The way to keep my students interested and using these words is for me to stay interested and using these words.  That won't be too hard; the first time I heard a student stand up and say, "Hello, I am meteorologist Kelli Smith, and today, the weather looks ......," I was enthralled with this new "Gold Collar Job" list!

I make sure to use these names every day AND I have my students use these names every day!
If they say, "I am the leader," I correct them.  "You are leading the line as my best example because you are the path director!"  I then have them repeat me whenever that happens.

I also love to add different jobs throughout the year!  In the spring, I grow a garden and need someone to go outside and spread the dirt- they are my cultivator.  Sometimes I need help putting art up in the hallway- the helper for that is my curator.  For rewards, I let students choose the music we get to listen to for a celebratory "brain break,"- the helper for that is my music conductor!  It's really fun (and easy) to come up with lots of jobs that students may not know and use them in our classroom to make personal, meaningful connections with new vocabulary! 

I continue to push my students' language use and vocabulary knowledge as much as I can!  I am continually amazed at how much my students aspire to have "Gold Collar Jobs!"