Saturday, November 9, 2013

That's How I Roll - Organization

I envy those of you out there with a classroom. You have walls to hang up lots of comprehensible input. You can arrange the desks and chairs the way you want them (and move problem students away from each other.)  You can sit down in the few minutes between classes. And most importantly, you have a space to call your own.

Then there are the nomads, like me. We're in a different room from hour to hour, scurrying to and fro in the five minutes between classes. Teaching on a cart is a special challenge in any subject but in world language where the idea is to immerse students in the target language and culture for the short time you have them it is especially difficult. But there are a few things you can do to make your life easier and to give your instruction more impact.

Organization is KEY! 

There's nothing worse than getting to class and realizing that the activity you were going to do that day is back in your office. Or worse yet in another class (and you better hope you can remember which one!)

  • Bins, bags and folders are all great ways to keep your things organized. I personally use a lot of the same things from grade level to grade level and class to class so I like to pack my cart with bins. But I've heard of people who use bags with everything they need - picture cards, puppets, game pieces etc. - for a certain grade. They just grab that bag and go. 

  • Manila folders organized by grade level and by day (we are on a 6 day rotation) stored on top in a upright folder holder helps me keep student work organized. I only keep the folders for that day's classes on the cart. The rest stay in my office. 

  • Make the most of your cart with magnets and velcro. Space is a premium so don't let any go unused. I used to have a metal book cart from the library. With magnets I could roll around with posters, our monthly calendar, and a binder ring that held my rules attached to the side of my cart. I velcroed a whiteboard/large post-it note combo on the back where I wrote my daily objectives. As soon as I rolled in, students could see what we would be working on that day.  Now that I'm on a larger cart I have my objectives in a pocket chart - I pull them out and magnet them to my whiteboard based on what grade I'm teaching.

  • Get creative! Silly even! My cart even has eyes, a mouth and a speech bubble introducing herself as Sra. Speedy. Sometimes my kindergarteners greet the cart in the hall before they greet me.

  • Check and double check you have everything you need because once you're on the go it's hard to look back. I like to pack my cart at the end of the day for the next one and then check it again in the morning. I still occasionally have to send my students out of the room to retrieve things for me but not very often.

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