Make the best out of teaching from a cart

Par: Pearson ERPI

21 août 2018

No classroom, no problem! Being a mobile or floating teacher can seem overwhelming at first, but with these 5 useful tips you’ll be able to create an efficient mobile classroom. Welcome to the teacherhood of the travelling cart!

1- Customize your cart

First things first: get yourself a cart, a sturdy one at that, and make it your home base. Choose a cart with good wheels and sides to ensure that things won’t go flying in the hallway as you travel from one class to another. Make sure your cart is big enough to contain the necessary materials for multiple classes. Find a storage system that works for you: it may be storage bins, folders or resealable (zip type) plastic bags to keep everything neat and tidy.

Decorate it according to the seasons, give it a name (Miss Paulette’s go-cart or Miss Paulette’s class-on-wheels will make it sound more fun!) and even put a bell or bicycle horn on it. Use the bell as you make your way through the hallways, you’ll be noticed and probably provoke a few laughs along the way!

2- Hone your organization skills!

Your cart is your best ally, don’t let its diminutive size stop you. Think of what would be absolutely essential for teaching in a classroom and add it to your cart. It’s also important to make good use of your prep time to get everything ready for the day. This way you can concentrate on teaching and moving from one class to another knowing that everything is in order and available in your cart.

Here are some trusted organization secrets :

  • Arrange the essential materials in small containers. Organize smaller items (pens and pencils, clips, magnets, rubber bands, chalk, whiteboard markers and eraser, etc.) in baskets, caddies or small bins. You can also use hooks to attach these containers to the side of your cart, making sure you use every inch of it.
  • Have a tool box on hand in which you store a stapler, scissors, tape, glue, a ruler, a utility knife and any other tools you think could be handy. Dedicate a section to a first aid kit complete with band-aids and tissue. Also add some cleaning products such as spray cleaner or wipes and some rags. 
  • Make expanding multi-pocket folders or travelling file folders your best friend. It’s a great way to store handouts, forms and attendance files for each teaching period all in one place. Some teachers prefer to use binder clips labelled with the day and time of the class to keep students’ work together.
  • Have “in” and “out” folders clearly labelled for each class. The “in” folder contains all the documents that need to be checked or graded and the “out” folder contains the handouts and the graded work that need to be given to students. At the end of the day, grab the “in” folder for each class, bring it home and let the grading begin! 
  • Have your own dry erase whiteboard. You can even hang it on the side of your cart, no walls needed! The same applies to posters. Need more surface? Invest in a tri-fold dry erase board.
  • Save some precious class time by placing clips or magnetic strips on your posters or dry erase boards ahead of time. You’ll just have to put them up when you get into the classroom.
  • Look for storage in unusual places: kitchen cabinets, under the stairs, storage or janitor room. Ask your principal about some locations not being used to their full potential and see if you can use it to store and lock your belongings.

3- Get to know your colleagues

Take advantage of the new school year to set the year off right. You are sharing a room with  one (or more) teacher(s)? Introduce yourself and get to know them, their teaching ways and their routine. Ask clearly if you can use their desk or write on their whiteboard. Ask if there is an available designated space where you can leave a box with some material. Verify if the teacher is planning on leaving the room or not when you utilise it. Establishing boundaries and creating a good relationship is crucial for both of you and will make room sharing a lot easier. Don’t leave anything in the grey zone. Some teachers are really particular about their space and are a bit reluctant to let other teachers enter their domain. Nurturing a transparent and honest relationship will go a long way. It is also a great opportunity for ESL teachers to be less isolated. Lastly, make sure you leave the room exactly as it was when you entered it, showing respect is always classy!

4- Keep track of time

Since you’ll only have a few minutes available to move from room to room and to set up for your lesson, every minute counts. Plan your lesson well and find a few helpers from each class to help you hand out and collect assignments or handouts. This will save you some time and allow you to set up and clean up after your lesson.

5- Go digital

Teaching from a cart does have its limitations. Therefore, you have to plan activities and projects that are easily portable. That is exactly where digital resources come to the rescue! A laptop won’t take too much space on your cart and turns out to be a gold mine of resources: audios, videos, slides, etc… You can easily plug your laptop in the interactive whiteboard without even using or disturbing the host teacher’s laptop. It is having ESL teachers’ specific needs in mind that we created our Poptropica English collection. The collection is complete and designed to save time with a mix of print and digital materials supported by clearly mapped planning and evaluation. Its extensive digital package contains ready-made interactive lessons and an amazing bank of resources filled with videos, games, grammar, evaluations, picture cards, stories and much more. A single package includes resources for all for levels of the series (Grades 3 to 6) so that teachers have everything they need for all their classes, no matter how many grades they teach.

So stay positive and organized. Teaching from a cart will surely be an amazing experience! Have a good schoolyear!

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Tags: Back-to-school, blog, Cart, ESL, Teaching,

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