Paws in Jobland- Understand Your Students Through Career Exploration

Recently, I delivered a presentation for elementary counselors on Paws In Jobland at the Feast at the Forum conference in Storm Lake, Iowa.  Our session reviewed the features of Paws, a career exploration tool for K-5 students. Below is Jobland:

Each building in Jobland represents 1 of 16 career clusters.  For example, hovering your mouse over the building that looks like the hospital will reveal that this is where you can explore the “Health Science” career cluster. 

At the conference, we created our own unique jobland which looked quite different from the one above by the time we were done.  Creating your own jobland is a fun activity to do with your students as well.  Here is how your students can create their own jobland:

  1. Ask students to draw a picture of whatever it is they want to be when they grow up. (Do not write what the occupation is on the drawing)
  2. (optional) Ask students if they can find the job they drew on the Paws in Jobland website.  Watch a video about the job and write 3 fun facts on the back of their drawing.
  3. Whole Group Share: Have students share their drawing with the group.  Peers can guess what job the drawing is depicting.  Students can also read aloud three fun facts they found in their research.
  4. Now comes the fun!  Ask students to build their own “clusters” based on commonalities between jobs.  For example, a carpenter and a plumber both fix things in homes.  Ask students to begin sorting themselves into clusters. This might take some time. For easier adaption, you can post signs with career clusters written on them around the room.  Ask students to stand under the career cluster they believe their career falls into.
  5. Once sorted, look at the career clusters that were formed.  Ask discussion questions such as:  How did you decide what cluster you were a part of?  How many clusters does our classroom have?  Are there any career clusters in Paws in Jobland that we do not have?  Why do you think our jobland does not have that cluster?

At the Feast at the Forum conference, our jobland was based off of the jobs we wanted to be when we were little kids.  We ended up with three career clusters when we were done sorting!  Some comments from attendees at the workshop were:

“This is a useful way to understand what the unique interests of my students are.  By creating our own jobland, I can plan activities that meet their interests.  For example, if I want to invite a guest speaker to speak about a career I would choose one from the clusters at my school.”

“This would be a beneficial activity to do before beginning career exploration in Paws in Jobland and after exploration.  As a class, we could see how our Jobland has changed after we found out more information about careers.”

“This is a great way to help kids open their views of jobs.  Many elementary students are only familiar with the types of jobs their parents, or those close to them, hold.  This helps broaden their view.”

Accessing Paws in Jobland

If you would like to access Paws in Jobland, you can do so by going to and clicking on “Elementary Student.”  For educator resources related to Paws, including K-5 lesson plans, click the “For Educators” button on the I Have A Plan Iowa homepage.

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Filed under Career Development, Curriculum & Lesson Plans

4 responses to “Paws in Jobland- Understand Your Students Through Career Exploration

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