How to Plan a Building-Wide Career Day

This past Fall, I hosted my school's first building-wide Career Day.  I scheduled it on one of our Early Release Days, so the Specials schedule could be a little more flexible.

It all started in October with a "Save the Date" to parents:

I had speaker volunteers sign up through a Google Doc of the time(s) they were able to speak and/or participate in an interview.  From there, I used email communication to remind them of the day.

I created several Excel sheets with schedules for guests and teachers as well as our 4th grade "runners" (more on that below).

Leading up to the day, I had our staff participate in several College and Career activities:

I got this idea of a giant bar graph of where we went to college from Pinterest.  I loved being able to show our students all of the places we went to college.

The other activity I had staff help with was answering "If I couldn't be a teacher, what could I be?"  I gave them a blank body template and asked them to decorate it with their photo and what they could be if they weren't teaching.  (Idea modified from here.)  This had some fun responses and let us learn things about each other too!  This was posted on the opposite wall of the bar graph and the kids LOVED looking at these!

On the day of, Kindergarten through 3rd grade dressed as what they would like to be when they grew up.  I had also gathered career exploration activities like this one for teachers to use in their classrooms leading up to the day, so the kids could be well-versed in careers -- I wanted it to be meaningful for EVERYONE and not just an excuse to wear our Halloween costumes a 2nd time.

These students were able to hear from parents and members of our community during their shortened Specials schedule (remember, it was an early release day).  This allowed for 5 minute presentations that were less pressure for adults and a short, 30 minute time of being asked to sit quietly for the students.

We had some fun and interesting careers, ranging from a golf professional to a horse race announcer and lots in between!

The 4th graders dressed in Business Professional attire and spend their day serving as "runners" for our guests and participating in interviews.  We spent several class periods writing and practicing interview questions prior to the big day.

Each of the guests sat at a "station" and during their class' interview time, the students rotated.  A Specials teacher was in there with the students to monitor time and behavior.

Throughout the day, our entire school was able to participate in the photo booth I had set up outside the cafeteria.  Again, another Pinterest idea.  To make it run smoother, I had the teachers scheduled for 20 minute blocks and had pre-printed "chalkboard" signs of all of the careers submitted when the teachers polled their students.  I also had a 12"x 12" chalkboard sign and chalk available for anyone wanting/needing to write their own career.

It was a really fun day for everyone and we've already been talking about next year.  A few things I will do differently include a 2nd photo booth in another area in the school building and reaching out to more community members to get an even wider variety of careers.

Thanks to great ideas I found online and a building-wide collaboration and buy-in, our Career Day was a lot more than a parade of costumes, though I fondly remember mine from when I was in Kindergarten: