To enhance awareness of different occupations while identifying individual skills, interests, and abilities, 4th graders completed a career scavenger hunt from the book Making the Link: Helping Children Link School Habits with the World of Work (grades 2-5), where they asked questions of peers i.e. Does someone in your family work in a career that works with cars? Do you think good behavior is important in a career? Can you think of three careers you might want to have when you grow up? After allowing time to interview peers, we went through each item and students shared their interests. This activity was a great way for students to positively interact with each other while exploring careers and making the connection between school and the world of work.
In 5th grade, I used my National Board lesson to present to students key terms; including, job, job description, career path, and career cluster. After learning about these key terms, students completed a group activity where they read a career path, identified the different jobs that individual had, what all those jobs had in common, and the career cluster of that job. Students then applied this knowledge to themselves by identifying the things they are doing now to help prepare for a future job (getting to school on time, wearing appropriate clothing, doing their personal best, working well with others, etc.) and what their interests are to determine what careers they might like to have based on interests, skills, and abilities. Exploring career clusters is a great way to introduce terms and language that will be used in middle school, where they will spend more time on interest inventories, participating in a career class/exploratory, and later participation in Individual Graduation Plan (IGP) conferences to determine course of study based on future interests and goals.