Definitive List of Jobs for Kids – Updated October 2015

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



49 thoughts on “Definitive List of Jobs for Kids – Updated October 2015”

  1. If anybody sees any typos or anything is unclear, pls. advise before I put this list up on the resource page. Carol I don’t think you were in my Thursday session last week, but I had a cool OU/WHERE person. We had so much fun. But the big skill deal of that story was Richard in job #16. Plus that guy Malcolm had them rolling out of their seats on the lipsynched dialogue thing.

  2. Oh yay! Thanks so much for sharing these. I always start out the year with the best of intentions, but my recording system breaks down by Thanksgiving. There are some good jobs here for my native speaking 3rd grader who desperately wants to play an important role in the class.

  3. That is the job of the personal secretary. They write down the list of what jobs you are doing in the class and who has them. You don’t have to think. You post it the list and keep a copy in your grade book. The secretary fills in when someone is missing.
    And I change once a month jobs–so no one loses their job due to inefficiency. They just rotate jobs. Everybody is important in a classroom and all deserve to contribute.
    And we all know that in the world of work, we can always be replaced. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT KNOWLEDGE, it keeps us as humans from thinking we are the only one who can do this job. That is really big for women and teachers, because we will give up our time, families and money because we think that no one else will do the job. Remember, there is always someone who can and will replace us when the time comes. It is good to know it early on in life before we offer ourselves as sacrifice to someone or something.

  4. Nice, Kate, and thank you. It is so wonderful to be working with a conscious group, and even better to know that we are learning to see our jobs and our overall rolls in society as ones that can actually bring change. For me, it is a question of who will get to these kids:
    a. conscious people who consciously and patriotically serve American kids, helping them grow up as happy as possible with as few negative minutes in their young lives as possible, or
    b. unconscious people who, in serving our kids, do not yet have the vision that in many cases they are not serving at all, but harming.
    I wonder why we don’t talk about this more in our culture. Are we too afraid to question and demand change when we know full well that kids are being made to feel stupid in their language classes because they can’t memorize stuff, do homework, and all of that stuff that used to be the norm in language teaching, when those same kids are perfectly capable of learning the language if it were presented to them in a way that is loving and without effort?
    Sorry for the run-on. And Kate I don’t know how I got that from what you said. It’s just a burnin’ feelin’ and it comes up to the surface so often in my mind. Here we are are at the beginning of another year. And what we do, those whom we confront if in no other fashion than to keep our doors shut and rock the CI, the conversations we have, the refusal to back down to bullies in our profession whose ideas are like petrified wood, how we do all that, how we do our jobs, WILL make a difference.
    The difference I am feeling this year from previous years is the unity I feel from my colleagues. Just to clarify what I wrote a few days ago about national conferences – yes, they bring unity to many of us. My problem there is with the training only and how it freaks out too many new people so that they don’t want to come back again and so quit.
    OK – mini ramble over.

  5. I don’t know if this comment will be noticed since the post is from a while ago, but I want to try the English timer and the English alarm in my class. Question: what about the teacher check for comprehension ?’s like “What did I just say?” “What does _ mean?” “If est alle means went, how do we say “goes?” And of course, when kids translate per our request, such as when introducing new words. My kids were confusing “gives” with “brings” (brings is new this week) so I often said to the whole class, “what does apporte mean?”
    Am I passe in still doing these kinds of checks? Do they not count as the English intrusions?
    dori v. in CO

  6. I personally think that they intrude on the flow of the CI, much like a stick thrown into a bike’s wheel as it passes. But that’s just what I think – it is like a 4% game, in my view. When they hear constant uninterrupted CI that is inbounds, something happens that we don’t know about. So the use of the English timer and the English alarm people that more than a few people have mentioned here in the past few weeks is a super idea. Anything that keeps us in the TL is a super idea.

  7. A note on actors: Remember to ask your actors direct questions during the story. This gets reps on the 1st and 2nd singular forms of verbs. It also, for some reason, helps keep everyone focused. I always forgot this last year and am trying this year to add this as a habit during stories.
    So instead of asking, “Class, does Johnny want to drink water?” you can turn to the actor playing Johnny and begin circling by asking, “Johnny, do you want to drink water?”

    1. ^ yup ^
      I didn’t do this last year and man did it ever show up in the finals. Also good cos past-tense narration tends to overwhelm present-tense talk, so you get reps on another tense as well as another verb form.
      This can be funny: you say for example “there was a boy” (oooooh!), circle it, then you ask the actor “are you a boy?” and he says “Yes, I am a boy.” Then you do what Blaine does– you ask some ridiculous questions. “Are you a gorilla? Are you a desk?” etc etc. All the actor does is keep repeating “I am a boy”
      Also important: vary your stories to have 2 protagonists so you get reps on “you guys/we” forms, or address this in the written versions of stories, or do retells.

  8. This is too funny (actually, more sad than funny) – I just finished a class where we acted out a scene from a story and I realized that I never asked the actors any direct questions. DUH!!!!! Can’t be reminded enough of this important step (as of all the other important steps)!

  9. There are so many important steps, and this is important especially for new people, that we can’t possibly remember them all. Instead, over time, naturally and slowly, we learn the fine art of using them as they occur to us, in our bodies. We cannot think our way to TPRS/CI instruction. We can only feel our way. Gradually, as we integrate new things, we get better at it. All good things take time and comprehension based instruction is no exception.

    1. AMEN to this one, Ben. Wow–who would have thought that paying attention to what’s going on in our own bodies and, also, what is going on in the bodies of our students might be the true keys to improving our unique styles and skills with this approach.
      When I am tense bodied, stiff, tight-throated, grippy-jawed, eagle-eyed, or shallow breathing when I’m teaching, I would do well to take time to notice that. Likewise, noticing the bodies of my students and which messages those bodies are communicating gives me an enormous amount of information about “what” to do next.
      Paying attention to their eyes (and the look in my eyes that I project to them), watching how avoidance or fear register in their bodies–head down, shoulders slumped, body turned away (and yes, my body, too–likely tense and at the ready)–wow-we really are doing a partner dance!!
      We usually treat the skill-building process we go through, to become better at the method, as a purely intellectual practice. Thinking about how much of the learning and the real power of this is in our bodies, and likely not in our oh-so-controlling minds, is very interesting to me. Got me thinking again, Slavic.

      1. DOUBLE AMEN!!!
        Don’t tell anyone, but really what this is–plain and simple–is yoga. The more I get into CI teaching, the more it merges with my yoga teaching. I am not kidding. And I’m not trying to be all “woo woo.” This stuff is for real.

        1. It’s called mindfulness. This is something that I have been working on myself for my own mental health. If we are mindful of how we feel and what is going on, we can make adjustments and live in the moment.
          I always wondered what Carpe Diem meant, really. I understood the concept. I understood the notion of trying to live each day to its fullest, but its not until I came across the concept of mindfulness that it really sunk in. We have to allow ourselves to be present in the moment, mindful of what is going on and how we feel.
          This here will lead us to inner peace and calm to deliver the kind of CI that we dream of.

          1. I think a big misconception about that phrase carpe diem (and now here we go way away from education specifically) is that one lives fully by doing lots of stuff. There must always be motion, adventure, excitement. Most at the age of our students would interpret the phrase that way, anyway. However, wisdom has taught us otherwise, as you have articulated well, Jeffery. A big part of truly living is living simply, humbly, quietly; it’s “living in the moment” and not trying to make the moment something it isn’t. It’s being in touch with how you feel and showing the peace and calm you mentioned.
            But as teachers we are always tempted to live up to our students’ expectations. How absurd! Most students don’t know the first thing about really living in the way we are talking about here. Who does at that age?
            Or perhaps we teachers never really grew up and so act in class in some bouncy, all-pleasing facade to fit in with their and our expectations of a life well lived.
            Okay, I’m off the deep end now. And, yes, I am at work, not at home with a glass of scotch.

          2. The teenage American boy’s translation of carpe diem is YOLO (you only live once) which is commonly yelled while one is doing something incredibly risky/stupid. So the flip side of carpe diem, the aspect which appeals to the adolescent brain, is “I’m going to do all this cool stuff before I get old and die.” It is not easy to go against this cultural (and evolutionary) grain, but it is perhaps what they need from us the most, and especially for boys from their male role models: that is, examples of how to live a happy and satisfying life that does not require massive amounts of external stimulus and money.

  10. Yes. And I am having a real live test of my mindfulness right now, as my level 4 kids told me they want to do SAT 2 prep. I feel a knot in my stomach. They are taking “practice test 1” right now so I have free time. For which I am grateful. Yet I am sad. And angry because my dept head is in a class next door. With one student. Who is taking SAT prep also SO WHY CANT THEY ALL DO IT TOGETHER WITH HER????? I was not prepared for this. Breathing. Breathing. 🙂
    I will meet with DH calmly between classes and plead the case once again. For now I will remind myself that I am freed up to focus energy on CI in my other classes, so if I still have to do SAT prep I will just calmly march through the test book, go over the answers and repeat. I know I need to be open to the affective filters of these students and maybe SAT is calming for them even though it raises mine through the roof.

      1. SAT 2 are the subject tests. I don’t think all colleges need these from all kids, but kids generally take 2 or 3 subject tests in addition to the SAT. It is a big test with lots of discrete item testing, very different than AP, which as I understand is more CI-friendly.

          1. It seems completely irrelevant in my opinion. But I admit I have never been involved in these tests nor in “preparing” kids for them. They may indicate that a student is a good test-taker I suppose. Even then, you have to have had massive exposure to contextual language in order to do well on it. That is what nobody gets. The language is way too wide and random. Most kids do not want to take this test. The current students I have think that SAT is some sort of status symbol. They think that if they keep practicing these tests they will get better at Spanish. It is kind of like having a third grader take the regular SAT. It is just way beyond where they are at this point.
            You are right, most colleges have their own placement tests. If I could wave my magic wand I would eliminate the SAT prep from our “curriculum.” I have managed to sidestep it all these years. And I am going to try hard to avoid it even though kids are requesting it. They can do that #$%^ for homework if they want it so much. I don’t normally give homework, but if I am forced to do testing crap, they can do most of it on their own. I just can’t see wasting class time where we could actually interact…to read multi paragraph explanations in English about the reasons why you cannot use “rincon” and “esquina” interchangeably.

          2. These SATIIs are primarily used to ‘narrow the field” of applicants at prestigious schools. Like most tests related to admission they are as much about who can afford to take them, who can afford to prep for them, who can jump through the bureaucratic hoops etc as they are about how well students score on them. In most cases they will not be used for placement exams, although occasionally a student can complete a language requirement by achieving a particular score.
            with love,

  11. Twenty five years ago I never would have read the things like you Jody, jen, Jeffery and James have written above about my profession. People weren’t writing things like that, or I never knew about them if they were. It was take out the grammar book and deliver the instruction. I am humbled to read what you four have written above. It makes me feel happy. It allows me to accept and love myself, for the first time it seems, for what I have endured as a teacher. What you have written makes me think that I haven’t been as crazy as I have felt in school buildings over all these years, almost forty of them now. It makes me feel that I am not alone and that my career meant something, and all those moments like the one jen is in now were lived for some kind of bigger purpose, like teaching me mindfulness. Because I AM mindful in my class now. I have complete buy in from all my students. I enjoy teaching. I know what it means to feel peaceful and happy in front of a group of kids who, as James points out, don’t have a clue about what proper behavior is in my classroom and so must be taught that by a conscious adult who cares enough about them to make things clear to them about how they are to function in my classroom and follow up with strength when they forget. Thank you you guys along with Carol, who has been with me in probably my darkest moment in trying to promote my ideas to others (San Antonio 2009), and everybody else here like Robert and skip and all you other gems who have written things that actually mean something here over the years. I am a lucky man to have colleagues like you.

    1. Ben–
      We are grateful that you have hosted a space where we can rant privately to others who understand what we are even talking about.
      I haven’t been around on the blogs lately, but it was a great reminder to see jobs. It was great to see the teachers I admire along with my colleagues at school still putting forward their most MINDFUL best.
      So as I sat around the kitchen table at school with my little class I realized that all the students spoke fluently English. But 5 of them had a home language that was not English–Viet Namese, Spanish, Italian, Yorba, Hindi . . . They are all learning Spanish in school now thanks to our new principal choosing a dynamic woman to teach Spanish–a native speaker and TPRS styled. And these individuals are also learning Mvskoke (Creek). Some of them returning year after year when they could be playing chess or cooking or doing a homework session.
      It isn’t the numbers in your classroom, it is the connections you make through making language available so that students can communicate outside their family with the world’s families. You help them understand that while being a United Stater–their’s is a global world and the United States is only one of many countries–English one of many languages. And it behooves us to speak respectfully and listen to the others in their languages. It is about community.

      1. Kate, this is beautiful.
        “It isn’t the numbers in your classroom, it is the connections you make through making language available so that students can communicate outside their family with the world’s families. You help them understand that while being a United Stater–their’s is a global world and the United States is only one of many countries–English one of many languages. And it behooves us to speak respectfully and listen to the others in their languages. It is about community. ”
        May I post this in my classroom, crediting you?

  12. I was looking for a place to suggest a new job, so here goes:
    You buy 1 or more squeaky toys from the pet section at a dollar store. I bought 2 steak-shaped squeakers. Hella annoying, but exactly what I’m going for. These student jobs are not for the “quiet classroom.” We all want students to signal us to slow down when we “speak too fast” aka “the student doesn’t understand,” like it says in our classroom rules and we all still have students who don’t signal. Well, offer the “Slow Down Job,” or come up with a different name for the job, which consists of a toy to be squeaked, instead of having these students signal. I explain that I genuinely want the students to tell me when they don’t know what I’m saying, because it tells me they care and want to get better at Spanish. From my experience, when I offer this job, the true barometer kids want the job. These kids are the ones who need us to go slower AND want to acquire, i.e. barometer students. The squeaky toy is annoying on purpose, because I think more kids want to hold something and many kids enjoy annoying the teacher, so we encourage that if it means they will signal us to slow down. I also try to reward kids who consistently signal with little Teacher’s Discovery prizes, like Spanish tattoos, rings, bracelets, and stinky stickers.
    Also to add to the list of student jobs is the “English Referee” to throw the flag when the teacher speaks English for more than “x” number of seconds.

  13. What a great idea. I have had signals, bell ringers, throwing of scarves and stop signs. They still don’t always let me know so squeaky toys it is. Thanks.

  14. I would like to suggest something that’s been on my mind lately: Time in TL counts more than reps.
    So maybe we should ditch the rep counters?
    I dunno. Just thinking out loud here.
    1) I need EACH kid focused on meaning, not counting
    2) The reps need to be meaningful and not feel tedious, so we shouldn’t be aiming for an arbitrary number during the period
    3) They need way more reps than we could ever count
    4) They suck at counting reps, anyways
    So I am thinking the “time guy” to get us our 10-20 minutes of nothing but TL is more valuable than rep counters. Of course we still get lots of reps b/c everyone has to understand so we need lots of repetition.
    What do y’all think?

    1. I agree with all four points, James. I place point (1) as the big one, and had never even thought until now about how counters would space out and just click when they hear the targeted word. Your point (3) is equally important.
      The only reason I would continue to do keep these jobs is for that feeling of working with them towards a common goal, of being able to check in after five minutes or so and find out how many reps I have, not to know how many, because as you point out (3) it doesn’t matter, but to get that feeling of “we” together trying to reach a goal, which I find so important in CI classes.
      Crap. Now I have to go rewrite what I said in Stepping Stones to Stories! about that. But you are right, James. I guess I would do both now, keep the counters for the reason I mention above, but really start spending time with that timer person, staying staying staying in the TL, while he signals every five minutes. For me the magic amount of minutes was 10. THAT brings the gains!

    2. I’d thought of those points before, James. But it just requires a change in what value you see in the rep counters. For me, the job is not about the reps. I know reps are important, but I know I’m being repetitive. And I’d never want rep-seeking to drive/constrain the communication. There is no magical number when the word is acquired. In fact, I think quality counts way more than quantity. You get 3 reps of a word in a really memorable context and that word is going to stick. I’d take those 3 reps any day over 200 reps from circling.
      The rep counters, especially if you have pitch counters, are the most desired jobs in my class. Part of the reason they suck at the rep counting is because we’re doing a good job teaching and the kids get sucked up into the message and forget to count. Ben is totally right. The value of this job is community building and engagement. Give that pitch counter to the hyperactive kid, or a kid who zones out, or a shy kid – all great choices and ways to bring these kids into the story. In fact, since I’m not really using the rep counters as a way to give me reps, I sometimes forgot to ask those students the rep number at the end of class. I’ve gotta remember to check in with them in order to fake interest in that number, which will make them feel important.

  15. I did not have great luck with the Calendar job last semester, where the student had to fill in the calendar. I’ve changed it so the calendar person just gives a verbal prompt: What day is it today? And gets a Choral response…”Friday!”, then asks, What’s the date? and again, choral response. Then asks 3 different students to make a statement about the weather. That’s a very mellow, fun and teacher-free couple of minutes each class at the beginning and seems to work better. There are visual cues around the room to scaffold the output.

  16. You might want to add “Photographer” to the list. A very helpful job. Photos are useful in many ways. I don’t know who first thought of taking pictures, not me. Credit?

  17. Like the “pay me” system described by Keri on the “Two Strategies” article, the Classroom Secretary job intrigues me. I’m trying to think how I can make that work with my Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors in my classes where discipline and behavior are a definite issue.
    These are my thoughts right now as to how I will adopt the Classroom Secretary job:
    1) A trusted student will be celebrated as Class Secretary for the day and will be given a clipboard with a class roster. On that roster will have columns aligned with the Interpersonal Communication skills rubric, including Eye Contact; Posture; Avoiding English; Choral Response; Yes/ No Response; Either/ Or response; Extended Response
    2) The Class Secretary will be given a green, yellow, and red marker. Green = well done. Yellow = room for growth. Red = disengaged. As the CI session happens and students demonstrate their Interpersonal Communication Skills, the Class Secretary places marks on their roster in the appropriate categories.
    3) At the end of the CI session, I place this roster with the green, yellow, and red marks under the doc camera for us to reflect on the CI session and student engagement.
    I feel like I still need something here to incentivize the Class Secretary for doing this work. Would extra credit be enough for them or maybe something else? I’d like to think that I have a couple of students in every class who would like to assume this mature role to play, but I’m afraid they might think like they are policing the class too much. I could just have the Class Secretary make green marks next to students’ names, and not yellow or red marks, but I would really like a teaching assistant, sort of speak, to help manage bad behavior in the class.
    Any thoughts, tribe? Any revisions or additions you can suggest. Much appreciated!

    1. I’ve never tried the “pay me” system. Feels punitive. Too point-based for my style. And I’m too lazy. I don’t do the Class Secretary, because I also don’t want to put a student in that position, unless it was only to count positive contributions.

      1. That is what my gut tells me as well, Eric: I would only like students to count positive contributions. It’s just that some of the behavior I face is so bad I thought I might give it a try. But as you and Judy are both saying to keep the Secretary job as a positive contribution documenter, that’s what I’ll do, at least at first. And Judy suggests not to make the document too complicated for the Secretary, which I’ll do.
        I do want to emphasize, more, self-reflection of learning behaviors at the end of class so I’m going to create a roster with a list of different Interpersonal Communication Skills at the bottom, I think, which we can read and reflect on under the doc camera at the end of class.
        thanks for the feedback!

        1. This is a great idea Sean! Consider looking at just one or two skills per week. Classroom management isn’t really classroom management at all. It’s how to create a class full of students who can self-manage their behavior. You are doing what needs to be done: giving them self-management skills. This takes time and patience and may be the first time they have done this. Keep teachings for success…even in this venue….so one or two skills per week is probably do-able. As you move through the year, keep recycling one old skill.
          Also consider modeling this type of self-evaluation by choosing a skill and showing the students as part of the reflection how you are self-monitoring, self-assessing and reflecting the way you would like them to.
          Good luck!
          with love,

          1. Good idea to share a self-assessment on my end with the class. I can reflect on the quantity and quality of the comprehension checks I made during class. Thanks Laurie.

  18. I had a Class Secretary long before I had heard of TPRS. I used a class roster and the idea with my classes was that the secretary changed every class so that everyone would have a turn doing it. They simply marked every time someone participated in the class discussion. If a student gave a particularly good answer, I would tell the secretary to put down extra points. If a student blurted or got out of line, I said “yellow card” or “red card” and the secretary noted their names at the bottom of the page. By rotating the job, I felt the others realized that it wasn’t as easy as it looked to keep track of who was speaking up. Normally the secretaries applied themselves and were quite honest. If someone complained at the end of the hour that they hadn’t been given enough points, I would look it over and add marks if I thought it was justified.
    I think giving the job to one person all the time and asking them to judge with a rubric would be putting them in a very awkward position. I know that in France the other students would never allow it and would probably make life rough for the Secretary. As Eric says, my secretaries’ job was “only to count positive contributions.”

  19. Ben and all,
    I just reviewed the list of jobs and realize I have two to add:
    I created it out of a need for somone else to keep me organized. One is not dissimilar to others mentioned that document this and that. But, I’ve begun using an AVID strategy of an “interactive notebook” in class. So, my notebook keeper (I call them the stenographer) keeps the official version of the class notebook – whatever gets added, s/he adds to their private notebook first, and then to the official class notebook. Any absent kids can click a pic on their phone of the official stuff they weren’t present to add and write it in their own at night.
    The other is one I’m referring to as my secretary, but that name conflicts with Judy’s incredible secretary role. This person is the one who officially tracks WHO HAS WHAT JOB. I can’t remember any of that from class to class and my kids are so unacustomed to being engaged that if I don’t constantly remind them to do their jobs, they’ll think it was just meant for one day – who should be writing the quiz? who should be closing the door? who should … So, I just say, “¡Secretaria!” And he or she responds on cue, “¿Si, Jefe?” and I say, “Who is my alarm in this class? I just blurted in English and I didn’t get an alarm out of him”
    That particular example makes me think of the scene in Blazing Saddles when the corrupt governor claims not to have gotten a Hurrumph! out of one of his cronies.
    Anyway, maybe you all can think of a better name for that. But, I clearly need this job to be done by a student.

  20. Another one: stunt double. I’d want to avoid making a student feel like they “couldn’t” do some part of the role of actor and instead gain another actor by having a stunt double do some part of the acting role. Sort of like what I saw Jason Fritze do with a “voiceover” student who spoke for an actor.
    I saw this on the iFLT/NTPRS/CI teaching Facebook group, posted by Melissa Evens Newell:
    ANOTHER JOB: El doble (stunt double)
    While acting today, we had an actor who wasn’t able to “do the worm towards” Batman… So we spontaneously added an actor, “el doble” (the stunt double) who only came in during those parts when the regular actor could not do his job. It was pretty awesome. Let me know if there is a better name for this job… smile emoticon We also used “hace el gusano” for “do the worm”… If there is an equivalent better suited, let me know that as well! ¡Gracias!

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben