While we don't have an organized "chore chart" in the classroom, we do have a classroom full of helpers. It is really amazing. Some of the children like to do the "heavy" tasks, like moving heavy boxes of blocks or rearranging desks. (This also helps these children become settled and more organized, as any occupational therapist will tell you.) Some like to do organizational tasks, like making the insides of their desk just so, or arranging the chalks by color. Others are happiest when sharpening pencils (I have a very heavy duty sharpener for good reason - it gets a LOT of work).
Classroom jobs are a great way to teach responsibility and to build a sense of community. This is OUR classroom, and we are proud of it. We make sure the hermit crabs have water and food, the plants have water, and the worms have food scraps. The board is erased each day, and the cloths are shaken outside. Scraps of paper are picked up as best we can, so the cleaners don't have such a hard task.
Several of the children really go above and beyond. Mark, for example, is my go-to guy whenever I have a big job. Today, for instance, he tackled the dirt and mud on the lunchroom floor, armed with a small broom and dustpan. At this time of year, we are tracking an incredible amount of dirt. Now, he is thinking about devising an experiment where he saves the dirt for a period of time, and then figures out how much dirt would be collected over an entire year. I'm not sure how that idea will fly with administration, but I think it would be fascinating!
Another group of children are my organizing team. They excel at creating systems and having everything orderly. Over the past few days, these children - Samantha, Ella, and Ava - have organized and re-shelved our classroom library. This was done entirely on their own. They decided how to sort books (by size and genre, usually) and decided which books belong where. They got ideas by going to our larger library and looking around. As if that weren't enough, they made and attached labels. They also put our Seuss animals to good use by using them to prop books. Here, take a look, and be amazed: