I am going into my second year as a traveling teacher utilizing a cart as my classroom due to teaching during pandemic year 3. My school made this decision as part of the protocol to lessen the spread of Covid. With this, I have decided to share 5 Tips for Cart Teaching during Covid to hopefully make your life a little easier if this is your situation as well.
I still get to decorate my homeroom class and that is still my home base, as I am in there before and after school. I am in my homeroom when I also teach my two classes for sixth grade. I am thankful I can still use my creativity and classroom decorating interests in my homeroom.
I’ve had other teachers ask if I mind cart teaching, and I really don’t. It’s actually nice to travel and get a change of scenery every period, and I understand the reasoning behind it.
With some teachers going into the classroom for the first time since the pandemic, I’m hearing of more and more schools shifting to cart teaching. Since I have a year of it under my belt, I thought I’d offer some tips to those who are doing this for the first time.
Here are five tips I have for cart teaching!
Tip #1: Pack EVERYTHING you Need on that Cart
Pack EVERYTHING you need on the cart! Then, try not to move it! On top of my cart, I have a large basket with my folders, a pail of markers, a stapler, scissors, pencils, and pens. I also try to keep whatever else I may need like my grade book, textbooks, novels, and any technology. I bring extra paper with me for students as well. Oftentimes I’ll forget something and have to run back to my homeroom to get it, but I try to keep everything I need on the cart at all times. Then, I try not to move it from my cart. If I take something from it, I try to put it back right away, so I’m not feeling scattered over so many classrooms.
Tip #2: Stay Organized
Stay organized! I use color coded folders for each grade to keep all the materials I need and to gather papers I need to grade. In one folder, it is labeled 6th Materials and on one side of the folder flap are my English papers and in the other flap are my Social Studies papers. I label each flap as not to mix it up. Then, I have a separate folder for 6th grade papers I need to grade and it’s labeled “6th-Papers to Grade.” Inside that folder, I have the two flaps labeled as well. On side is labeled: Needs Grading. The other side says: Graded. I have two separate folders for each grade I teach. At the end of every week, I try to remember to clean out the folders. Bonus points if you can keep both folders for each grade the same color!
Tip #3: Decorate your Cart
Decorate your cart. I have to say I didn’t really take advantage of this tip this past year, as I was trying to survive pandemic teaching. I did have my large basket and tin pail match the colors of my classroom. I love cohesiveness. My laptop has stickers on it that show my personality. Since some students can’t see your personality portrayed in a classroom, think of ways to portray it in your cart. I am planning on sprucing up my cart here soon with some paper tassels and some pom-poms from Target. Here’s a link to the paper tassels I plan on using!
Tip #4: Travel with Technology
Travel with your technology. Keep all the technology components you need on your cart. My projector travels with me, so I also keep a basket at the bottom of the cart with extra tech gear in case something goes wrong. I have extra USB and HDMI cords, speakers, my laptop charger, and anything else I may need.
Tip #5: Be Mindful of your Personal Needs
Be mindful of your personal needs. Lastly, think about your day and what you normally reach for and need. Whatever it is, put it on your cart. Here are some personal items I keep on my cart: my water bottle, coffee cup, personal hand sanitizer, lotion, sunglasses (for when I take the kiddos outside), and extra masks. Put whatever it is you use on a daily basis on your cart to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
With these five tips for cart teaching, we hope it will make the year go smoothly for you in a year that seems to be pivoting so much already. We are now entering the third school year of pandemic teaching! Wow! Can you believe it? Cart teaching may not be your ideal situation, but we can always make the best of it!