They see me rollin…… This may give you a chuckle, but when you find you must teach on a cart, there is nothing funny about that! Not to worry, STEM on a cart is still possible!!!
For a year and a half, I taught STEM from a cart to 200 students!!! That was a total of 10 different classrooms that I was going in and out of two days each week. Did I freak out at first?… certainly! Were things tricky and difficult?…. you bet! However, I managed to figure it all out and the students still excelled.
Here are some takeaways I learned from rolling around the school!
BINS & TRAYS
When you first order supplies, everything comes in their beautifully, well put together packaging, but this does not last and it is not practical when you are in a rush! After a while, you find the boxes ripped up from over use. My best advice is to use bins! I love Sterilite 6QT containers with lids. They fit just enough materials in each and are still small enough to store on shelves or a cart. Before starting class, I would split my materials for the day into 6 bins, for 6 groups. When I entered the classroom, it was easy to quickly place each bin on each table. This required simple prep work and also allowed for a fast clean up.
Trays found at the dollar store are another great tool for splitting materials into groups. Set them up before entering a classroom and leave them stacked up on your cart. Using these items will make your setup very easy when you move room to room.
Since I was moving in and out of various classrooms, I began using reusable materials such as: Lego, Keva Plans, Plus Plus blocks and more. Click here to find my favorites!
This made storage, set up, and clean up so much easier. Your students can still be so creative while using these types of materials. You may find it stressful to collect recyclable materials and store them on your cart, so try using materials that will last all year long! Each week you can rotate materials or create stations and allow students to pick what they want to build with.
When you don’t have your own classroom it is very difficult to store projects. Stick to the basics. Your students can still be innovative and follow the design process while using simple challenges. Don’t overthink it! My lessons begin with a read aloud that ties into the activity for the day. Students receive a problem and must build and create. Projects that can be completed in one class period will make it easier when you are on a cart!
DECORATE THAT CART
Have fun with your cart!!! Consider printing out classroom posters you already have in a smaller size. To do this, simply click print → more settings → and change the pages per sheet number. Printing more pages on the sheet will create smaller graphics. You can cut these out and decorate your cart!! Make it exciting and YOU! When the students see your cart it will bring a smile to their face.
SIMPLE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
Going in and out of multiple classrooms can affect your management because the students are not entering your own space anymore. Walking into your own classroom may signal the expectations, however, when you enter another teacher’s classroom, their expectations are what the students know. Don’t let that stop you from creating your own rules. Be consistent, and teach children that when you enter their classroom for STEM, your rules begin. Keep things basic! A positive whole class strategy is effective. Creating class points is easy to keep track of too. If the entire class earns a point, you can quickly jot it down in a notebook or on a chart. After a certain amount of points, the whole class can earn a reward.
I also give out a super thinker award to one student each class. This helps with individual behavior and the students are so excited about receiving this award. During class, I ask who will be this week’s super thinker, the students want to stay on track and work hard to earn it. I give the student a printable award, a sticker and a stamp on their hand. Be sure to create something that is easy to manage and keep track of! Click here to check out STEM awards.
Above all, stay positive and have fun! Be YOU!
Don’t let a cart stop you from shining and giving all you have to your students. STEM will still be great even on wheels!
If you have any tips or questions, please reach out and let me know! Share this post with anyone who is also on a cart.