Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Adventures on a Cart (Part 1)

Day 6 of 31 at TWT!
Lately I've been writing a lot about switching buildings (again) and not having a room anymore.  On my first day at School #3, I was even afraid my "cart skills" would be a little rusty.  But if there's anyone who's an expert at teaching from a cart, it's me.

In my first position (my first 2 years of teaching), I traveled between 6 buildings during the year (switching mid-day and then to 2 new schools each trimester).  Out of all those buildings, I had a room one time: half a day, for a trimester.  All the rest of the time, I traveled to the "regular classrooms" of my kids (every 3rd-5th grader took my class).  Because I had different classes every day (each class had Spanish once a week), this was a LOT of classrooms to wheel myself in and out of!  Ready for some more math?
my little old cart, with fantastic pockets!

(average of 5 classrooms per day) x (5 days a week) x (3 trimesters)  = 75ish classrooms in a year!  

Slightly fewer the year I had my own room that one time, but accurate for the 2nd year when I never had a room.  I was a cart ninja.  I could adapt to any classroom arrangement imaginable.  I had a system for everything inside a little cart that fit in the passenger seat of my car (for the travel between buildings).  I even found one that had a million little pockets for all my stuff!


Then I got my current position, which I've had for 3 years now.  The first year, I didn't have a room at any of my 3 schools.  Since I now saw the kids every day (and they were slightly older kids!), I suddenly had way more materials to pass out, way more complex lesson activities, and way more work being turned in.  I needed to figure out an even better system.  I also didn't need my little tiny cart anymore because I didn't have to travel to a different school during the day.  I graduated to a big cart and became an Advanced Cart Ninja.

Last year, I got a room at School #1 and two half-rooms (my 6th grade classes were all in one and my 7th grade classes all in another) at School #2. This year, I got rooms at School #1 and School #2.  I graduated to Teacher With A Room!  Except at School #3.  At School #3, I continued refining my big-cart skills with things I had incorporated into my rooms that were now "essential".  I became an Outstanding Cart Ninja.

my awesome cart right now!

I was going to tell you all about all the parts of my cart, but this post is already too long.  Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 and get a closer look at everything I have on my cart!

10 comments:

  1. I love the levels of cart Ninja you passed through. Can you hear me laughing? Wonder what's the level above "Outstanding Cart Ninja"? I can't wait to get an up-close personal tour of your "awesome" cart tomorrow.
    You tell a funny tale, but it is so sad that you can't have a room. I was once a push-in reading teacher, I didn't have a cart. I had a desk in an office like room with four other reading teachers. My stuff was in a closet somewhere else in the building. I had to lug my stuff from class to class. Those are days not to be repeated in my life.

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    1. Elsie, I can't imagine what it would be like to travel between rooms and NOT have a cart! Not to mention that your "stuff" closet was in a different room from your desk! Now I feel lucky for my cart and the fact that my stuff is at least with my desk!

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  2. That sounds like a lot of careful planning and organizing! A couple of my positions have required me to travel to different classrooms. It is always so much nicer to just have my own room. It is fun to read about how you have learned to make the best of each situation!

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  3. Jennifer, as Mrs. V says, you must be the world's best planner. I love seeing the cart; it's awesome! And I'm looking forward to more explanation. I just carry around a box full of stuff, but mostly it's because I'm just doing one lesson at a time. I think your style is getting more entertaining as you go along. I love the graduation terms "advanced cart Ninja" and "outstanding cart Ninjz". Also, I need to ask but bet I know. Do you do evaluations for each of these students? Whew!

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    1. Linda, I don't really have "too many" students in my current position -- about 55-60 per trimester. But oh yes, I do grades for them. And I did grades for those elementary kids when I had 500-600 per trimester, too!

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  4. Jeez, I really admire you for this. I would be so sad without my classroom, but I guess you really get used to it. Maybe it's for the best, you don't accumulate junk in your closets!

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  5. I think if I was forced to be a "cart ninja" (love it!), I'd be way more organized and wouldn't keep as much junk. I've been in this classroom (where I'm typing this right now) since 2005, and even though I do a cleaning at the end of every semester, there's an accumulation that just seems to happen.

    Is there a level beyond Outstanding Cart Ninja? :) A slice that really creates insight into your life!

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  6. Love your blog! I too travel with a cart. To make you feel better, I had a room for 16 years and then was forced to become a nomad teacher this year. I have closets with things that used to be in my room, in five different locations in the building, hundreds of feet apart. I teach 2 to 3 periods a week, in 10 different rooms. I also teach grades from Kindergarten to 7th Grade, so I need different materials for each class/grade level.

    The cart I use now is not good, no draws, things fall off it constantly, is unorganized mess. I was looking for a better cart to get and I want to get something like yours. Do you know where they sell those or perhaps know the brand name so I can research it. Thank you so much!!!

    GS

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    1. Thanks! It's fun to know that my posts help other teachers! I'm pretty sure that cart was Rubbermaid, although my school already had it so I don't know where they ordered it from.

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