Tischdienst is one of the little things that makes my classroom run a lot more smoothly and which I will definitely continue next year.
On most days I have my students' desks arranged in table groups of 4. (I do move the desks into rows for tests and quizzes. If the desks are in rows on a day when there isn't a quiz or test, students start to panic when they enter the room, thinking there is a pop quiz or that they forgot about a test.) Each group of 4 desks is called a table (Tisch), and I have 9 Tische in my classroom.
I found out pretty quickly last year that it can be chaotic and time-consuming to have 30+ students all trying to pick up materials like iPads or scissors and glue at the same time. So, I started asking one person from each table group to get materials for that table. That worked better, but I found some groups were always making the 9th graders get the supplies or were doing "nose goes" (last person to touch his/her nose has to do it) and one student was always the last one. I wanted to spread out the work a little more evenly, so I came up with the idea of Tischdienst - table duty.
Each day I write on the board which spot (Platz) has Tischdienst for that day. Then, whenever the table needs something, that person is responsible for getting up and getting it. I assign my students to iPads based on where they are seated, too, so that also makes things simpler and more efficient. For example, Tisch 1 has iPads #1-4, Tisch 2 has #5-8, and so on. Then, if some of the iPads aren't put away correctly at the end of class, I know who was responsible for them. Usually Platz 1 has Tischdienst on Mondays, Platz 2 on Tuesdays, Platz 3 on Wednesdays, Platz 4 on Thursdays, and Friday is a wild card, though since we're on an A/B block schedule, I usually make it Platz 4 again.
As I learned from the amazing elementary school teachers I worked with a few years ago, the time spent teaching the students how the Tischdienst system works is well worth it because the classroom runs smoothly the rest of the year.
[The owl graphic on the Tischdienst sign comes from MyCuteGraphics.com.]