What is... What Will Be Obsolete...in Second Grade?

What is... What Will Be Obsolete...in Second Grade?

Cross posted to Langwitches Blog

At the beginning of most calendar years, especially at the beginning of a new decade, century or millennium, we tend to take a closer look at our past and future than perhaps at other times. In the past few weeks I came across the following two articles: You're Out: 20 Things that became Obsolete this Decade by the Huffington Post and Things that Babies born in 2011 will Never Know by Money Talks News are listing books, travel agents, video tapes, cassettes, watches, CDs and other items that will have or will become obsolete.

The above mentioned articles came to mind, as I was in one of our second grade classrooms getting ready to talk to 7 & 8 year olds about being promoted from merely commenting on their classroom blog to co-authoring a weekly blog post to document their learning and to be able to share it with their parents. Their classroom teacher and I had discussed that students would receive a weekly "Job Assignment" as the "Math Blogger","Science Blogger", etc. and that these jobs would rotate among all students just as the other class job responsibilities.

As I was in their classroom waiting for the students to finish a previous activity, I was looking at their prominent bulletin board displaying students and their corresponding class job.

  1. Morning Opening Leader
  2. Teacher's Helper
  3. Pencil Sharpener
  4. Line Leader
  5. Door Holder
  6. Line Monitor
  7. Paper Collector
  8. Paper Passer
  9. Board Cleaner
  10. Book Organizer

The teacher wanted to keep the list of jobs to ten, one for each student in the class. The class started with a discussion about which current jobs they c(sh)ould be eliminated based on necessity and importance within the classroom community. Most students seemed to agree that the "Book Organizer" and "Pencil Sharpener" could be eliminated. I threw them a curve ball by asking them:

What classroom jobs could possibly not exist anymore in 50 years? What kind of classroom jobs would simply NOT exist anymore when their grandchildren would be going to school? We looked at each job title individually:

  1. Morning Opening Leader- Could still be around.
  2. Teacher's Helper- Could still be around.
  3. Pencil Sharpener- I held up my iPad and my stylus and they immediately made the connection. Then I showed them how I use the NoteTaker HD app to take notes and how I could switch between different colored pencils as well as their thickness. They agreed that I was not in need to sharpen pencils anymore.
  4. Line Leader-Could still be around, IF kids still were going to a physical school every day to learn. I reminded them of our Skype calls and how we could have class with children who lived in different cities, states, countries or continents. There would be no need for a line leader.
  5. Door Holder-Virtual classrooms would not have a door anymore that needed to be held open.
  6. Line Monitor- No students would be lining up in a virtual classroom to walk one behind the other to the lunchroom, resource or library...no monitor needed.
  7. Paper Collector- I pulled my iPad out again and showed them how I could simply e-mail or share my notes with the teacher and she could do the same. We imagined how every student in 50 years would have some sort of device that allowed their teacher to simply have access to their work without the work having to be "collected"
  8. Paper Passer- Passing out paper would also be obsolete, since teachers could share any "papers" or assignments via their device with students.
  9. Board Cleaner- One click... board is wiped clean
  10. Book Organizer- I showed the class my iBook and Kindle app and how I access any book on my shelf. Close the book...and it is "neatly" stored and even remembers the last page I read.

Take a look at the new bulletin board, that their teacher created for her class the following day. Since her second grade is not a 1:1 iPad class, nor holds virtual class for her students, some of the original jobs are [still] valuable and necessary in their classroom. The new added jobs are:

  1. Science Blogger
  2. Spelling Blogger
  3. Reading Blogger
  4. Writing Blogger
  5. Math Blogger

Their teacher created a "template" blog draft with an outline of a format including the different subject areas. The bloggers of the week will be writing daily in the draft version to document and reflect on their lessons and their learning in different subjects. They will collaboratively revise and edit the draft as a class before publishing and sharing the post. For me, this "blogger" job describes beautifully (at an appropriate developmental stage of a second grader), one of the roles to develop empowered learners that Alan November lists as "Official Scribe". I am looking forward to seeing their progress as they get comfortable with their new class job as bloggers, practicing online writing, documenting, reflecting on their learning, sharing, collaborating and so much more...

Adapted from Alan November (pp.188-193), Curriculum 21 (ASCD, 2010) by Heidi Hayes Jacobs.

What are some of the classroom jobs that are becoming obsolete in your classroom? What jobs are replacing the old ones? Please share!