- Social Studies
- 55 minutes
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Society and classrooms both require special helpers to keep things running smoothly. In this lesson, students will explore the people that help their community operate and take on some special jobs of their own to help in their classroom.
After finishing this lesson, students will be able to identify and describe common jobs in their community.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Call students together.
- Read aloud Career Day by Anne Rockwell.
- Explain to students that today, they will be thinking about the different jobs people perform in their community.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (5 minutes)
- Encourage students to brainstorm as many different jobs as they can think of. If students need help thinking up jobs, have them think about what their parents do or the various careers mentioned in the book.
- Make a list of these on butcher paper or poster board. (Consider allowing students to draw pictures that represent each of the careers and then label the pictures as a way to help them practice early literacy skills.)
- After students have listed many careers, ask them to think about how each job helps people in their community. (e.g. Bakers help keep people fed. Judges help settle fights.)
- Write the function each job serves next to it on the butcher paper or poster board. If students are struggling with this, ask them to think about what life would be like if no one did this job.
- Ask students to think about the types of skills needed for each job. In a third column, write down this information. (e.g. Chefs need to know how to cook. Construction workers need to know how to use a variety of tools.)
- Tell students that people have to practice for a long time to gain the skills necessary to help others. Today, students will have the opportunity to explore some different careers.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (5 minutes)
- Introduce students to the different activities available for the day:
- Block Station: Adding extra signs, cars, and trucks to the classroom block collection can help students create a construction site. Encourage students to take turns being architects, police, and construction workers. (If orange vests are available, it can be fun to add a dress-up element to this station, too.)
- Painting Station: Encourage students to think like an artist by providing them with a variety of different types of art supplies. It can be fun to have students model for one another.
- Felt Board Station: The felt board station makes a great pretend classroom. Students can practice being teachers with stuffed animals, baby dolls, and their peers.
- Book Station: Allow students to explore different books about careers, such as Jobs People Do. Students can also take turns being the librarian.
- Dress-Up Station: Provide students with a range of clothing and prop choices for a variety of professions. This is a great place to mention that people can take on many different roles in society.
- Snack Station: Students can pretend to be chefs as they help prepare their own snack for the day.
Independent Working Time (30 minutes)
- As students are playing in the various stations, encourage them to think about all of the various jobs and functions each profession performs.
- While some students may indicate an interest or enthusiasm for one station over another, you should guide them to explore as many of the stations as possible in order to get a broader range of experiences. It may also be necessary to limit the number of individuals in stations that prove to be the most popular.
- Students can add their names to a wait list for these stations and enter once a student in the station is ready to leave.
- Enrichment: For students ready for a greater challenge, helping out in more real life contexts can be a lot of fun. For example, helping the school gardener plant flowers, being an assistant in the school’s front office, or even getting to shadow another professional at their job for the morning can be both educational and thrilling. Encouraging students to read extra books about jobs they are interested in can also help to extend the activity.
- Support: For students who need a little extra assistance, partnering up with another student can be a fun way to explore the stations. For students who have a hard time sitting and listening to stories, fidget toys can be useful. A checklist or sticker chart can help students who really do not want to leave one station to explore other stations.
Related Books and/or Media
Assessment (5 minutes)
- Whether or not students participate in the class discussion about various jobs and the people who do them is one way to assess whether or not students have met the lesson’s objectives.
- For students who are less apt to share during class discussions, engagement during center work time can be used to assess whether or not the lesson’s objectives have been met.
- Another way to determine if students have learned about roles in the classroom is by whether or not they successfully fulfill their classroom helper responsibilities and help to remind others to complete theirs after the lesson.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Call students back together.
- Ask students to share about their experiences with the various stations. Ask, Are some jobs more interesting than others? Are there other jobs you would like to explore?
- Explain to students that just like in the rest of society, there are tasks that need to be completed in the classroom. Ask students to think about potential jobs in the classroom. Some ideas include: line leader, snack monitor, block cleaner, and pencil sharpener.
- List these jobs on a job chart.
- Fill in the chart with student names.
- Explain to students the expectations for each job.
- Tell students that jobs will switch around over the course of the year, but that you expect each student to help one another and fulfill their jobs to help the classroom run smoothly, just like adults go to work each day to help society run smoothly.