I teach PreK-3 Spanish in a FLES program. I don't have a classroom, which means I am always on the run. Sometimes I consider myself lucky not to have a classroom - like a traveler who can live simply with whatever she can carry instead of building up "stuff" or having to take care of a "home base." It's also really nice to get to know what's happening in all the different teachers' classrooms so I can coordinate my curriculum and tailor or tweak my lessons to support some of the units my students are exploring with their homeroom teachers, and to match each classroom's distinctive look, feel, and personality. However, the downside to being an itinerant viajera is that my school is laid out as a campus, with several small buildings scattered about, and when the weather gets bad, I suffer with all the things I have to carry with me (though I save money on gym memberships, but that's another story...).
I have been teaching for 15 years and have found that every year I have been developing strategies to make my job easier when moving from classroom to classroom. In this post, I'll share what I've been doing, hoping this can help you too :)
TOTE BAGS ARE GREAT!
I use rigid canvas tote bags because they remain open, making it easier for me to reach my materials at a moment's notice when teaching. Since I teach from Pre-K through 3rd grade, I use three bags:
One for Pre-K and K
One for First and Second grade
One for Third Grade
They might look heavy, but really they are not! I'm careful to pay attention to the weight I put in my bag, again like a backpacking traveler! Many of the objects I have are made of fabrics or paper - more bulk than weight.
LET'S TAKE A LOOK INSIDE ONE OF MY BAGS
USEFUL PROPS TO CARRY IN YOUR BAG
1. Clipboards: I use clipboards to carry my lesson plan for the day and my schedule.
2. Chime: I have a chime in my bag just in case my chants don't work to call the
students to attention!
3. Balls: I use them in games to give turns to children. There is also a game called "Pasa la Bola" that my students love to play. You can find more info about this game here.
4. Hangers: I use them to carry a calendar and posters.
4. Puppets: My younger students always love when I invite puppet friends to class to sing songs or play games. Here is a post that will give you more tips to use puppets in class.
5. A map: I found one at a fabric store, and I love it! It has every single continent, and I just fold it and put it in my bag. I am still trying to find one in Spanish!
6. Gloves: I use gloves for storytelling with my younger students. I love making props out of fabric and just add velcro on the back. Students love stories and poems with props!
7. Flash cards and fly swatters: Flash cards are always easy to carry and are helpful when introducing vocabulary. Here is a post that will help you with different games to play with flashcards and fly swatters.
8. Cookie tray: I use cookie trays with small pictures and magnets on the back. I also use them to place work that I collect from my students.
9. Music: An iPod or CD players are always helpful. Believe or not, not every teacher has a device to play music in their classrooms, so it helps to have my own. Plus, I can pre-load playlists according to my lesson plans and class adventures.
10. Last, but not least! This one is not heavy and belongs inside your heart! Creativity and passion for what you do!
Labels: teaching tips, Traveler teachers