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THE letter that reached Collin James, the purchasing manager and mentor coordinator for the Wyandanch School District, was handwritten and sent by an 8-year-old student.

The letter writer, whose name was James, thanked Mr. James for arranging for him to attend the Take Your Children to Work Day at the Adecco Corporation in Melville. James said he got to sit at a desk and to see the work of an office firsthand. He apparently thought the position would be permanent. ''I have a job now,'' he informed Mr. James. ''My job is to do paperwork.''

Mr. James, who has two children of his own, chuckled. ''Teaching kids what work is about doesn't happen overnight,'' he said. ''It's a long process. It isn't just the child who learns. It's the parent, too.'' - New York Times story, "Teaching Children the Realities of Employment"

In this economy, much of the world of employment is daunting enough to adults. How can we help our children gain the necessary acumen to pursue a steady career path?

We all want our children to be successful in life. It would be great to see them in satisfying careers with the promise of growth. Imagine your children stuck in dead-end jobs. Few thoughts could be more saddening. The earlier children start thinking about their future careers the more time they'll have to explore the wide variety of available options.

I found a book that can help.


Who wears oven mitts, an apron, and a puffy hat? Who uses safety glasses and a saw? Clothes and special gear associated with an array of different professions appear on a clothesline, with an accompanying four line stanza asking the reader to guess what job that person does. Turn the page, and the worker wearing and using the featured items is revealed.


Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do, Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook’s lively and accessible text introduces young readers to seven recognizable careers that are fundamental to most communities. Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do is an excellent choice for story time and use in preschool and kindergarten classrooms, encouraging interaction with its question and answer format. Readers will enjoy spotting the hidden connection between all of the characters introduced throughout, leading to a surprise ending.

Through lively, accessible verse, readers identify recognizable careers that are fundamental to most communities. Look on and below seven clotheslines and spot colorful items, including the mail carrier’s uniform, the artist’s brushes, and the chef’s apron. Then turn the page to learn which professionals wear and use the special gear in the jobs they do. Clever illustrations show the workers helping one another, and in the end, everyone joins together for a celebration that is out of this world.
This book is good for young brains because it provides: rhythm and rhyme, introduction to workers and jobs in a community, strong picture support.

Here are some activities for the book:

Extension Activities for Teachers/Parent


    Math Story Problems
    How many items are on the clothesline? How many things are nearby? How many all together? If appropriate, write the number problems to match for each clothesline page.

    Graphing Activities
    Graph different things such as pants, shirts, hats, etc. Which row has the most? The least? Do any rows have the same amount of things?

    Clothespin Counting
    How many clothespins can you count on each clothesline?  Which line has the most, least? Are there any clotheslines that have the same number of clothespins?

    Clothespin Games
    Have numeral cards, clothespins and small laundry baskets that you can get at the dollar store. Drop clothespins in the baskets to match the numerals.


    Rhyming Words
    Find all of the words that rhyme in the story. Write them down – circle your favorite ones. Draw a clothesline and “hang” all of the words that rhyme in a special way!

    Poem Writing
    Think about a job that you want to do and write a poem similar to one from the story. Draw an illustration to match! Make a class book out of all of the poems.

    Writing About the Job for You
    What is your favorite job from the story? Write why – maybe the job you really want to do is not in the story – what job is just right for you?

    Write an Invitation
    Create an invitation to some kind of special event. Maybe it’s a launch party!


    Rocket Experiment
    Look on line for different types of rockets to create. A balloon rocket is a big hit with the kids!

    Star Charts
    Explore different star charts and maybe create your own!

    Clothespin Weighing and Balancing
    Have different types of clothespins to explore – plastic, wooden, large and small. Put the clothespins on balance scales and weight scales -- compare the results.

    Clothespins in the Jar Game
    Set up teams of kids to drop clothespins in a jar at the end of the course. The team with the most clothespins in the jar wins!


    Career Puzzles
    Find clip art or other photos of people in their jobs. Cut them apart like puzzle pieces.  Laminate and keep in a special container.

    Clothesline Art
    Create a clothesline similar to the cover of the book. Hang fancy letters that spell your name from the clothesline!

    Neighborhood Map
    Create a map of your neighborhood similar to the one in the beginning of the book. Are there any clotheslines where you live?


    Community Visitors
    Invite community visitors or parents/relatives with jobs that can be shared with class. Take pictures and create a poster or book.

    Job Interviews
    Come up with questions that would be good for specific jobs that people do. Role play with each other.

    Think about the jobs people do and visit the work place to see the jobs in action! Take pictures and create memory books

    Creative Dramatics
    Ask families to share work boots, tools, aprons, lab coats, etc. for special work centers and role playing. Go to grocery stores, medical facilities, etc. and ask for freebies!

    Career Day
    Designate a “Career Day” when everyone dresses up for a specific job. Tell about the job that you’d like to do! Take photos for a book or display.

(Activities reposted with permission from Charlesbridge Publishing)

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Education Alternatives.

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