Ready, Set, Go! Ideas for Traveling Teachers

Sunday, January 27, 2013

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 :)

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.


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!

Happy travels!

Fun For Spanish Teachers


  1. This is a wonderful article! Have you ever seen other people's carts in the grocery store and thought "I could work with that; that could be my cart"? That is how I feel about your bags! I could teach with yours, and I am 100% sure that you could teach with mine! Thank you for sharing this fabulous glimpse into your classes.

    1. I am so glad to read that we are on the same page! I would love see a picture of your bags! Thanks for reading!

  2. Very nice! Great ideas -as always, thanks for sharing!

  3. Carolina gracias por tus ideas! yo tambien voy de clase en clase, y llevo conmigo los materiales. La verdad es que siempre encuentro ideas y cosas nuevas que hacer en tu pagina web y en tu tienda. Yo trabajo en una escuela Montessori,con toddlers hasta tercer grado, y me encanta mi trabajo!!!! Gema

  4. I love the chime idea! I taught Spanish for the first time last year as an extracurricular K-2 program... so I'm learning as I go. If I needed to get their attention refocused from a task or game back to me, I would start a chant or song, or I would get them to stand up and put their hands on their heads or touch their toes... get them looking at me again. But I love the idea of just carrying chimes for those times when extra help is needed to call them to attention! Sounds like a great training tool! :) Thanks! I love your blog!

    1. The chime really works! Chants are awesome too. I have a few I use with my students. Thank you so much for reading my blog!
      Saludos desde Boston!

  5. Wowie, Wow, Wow!!! Hi Carolina, your blog rocks! It's an answer to my prayers. I just found out about my placement for this coming school year. I will be teaching a Spanish enrichment class for grades K-5. I'm excited about my new assignment but I am a little nervous because I am starting from scratch...I will be following you closely (LOL) Oh, & I might be a traveling teacher.

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog! I am so excited to read you find this helpful. Have a wonderful school year!

  6. Carolina, me encanta tu bolg!! GRACIAS por compartir tantas ideas. Soy maestra de K - 3er grado y a pesar de encantarme mi trabajo a veces siento que despues de 8 anios ensenando las ideas se me escapan. Mil gracias otra vez,que generosa !! :o)

  7. I'm not a traveling Spanish teacher, but I am a Mommy teaching her 5 yr. old Spanish. ;) I love all these ideas, the best part is that they are things that I have readily available to make aprendiendo Español divertido. ¡Gracias!

  8. ¡Saludos! I´m a ´viajera´ as well. I teach toddler through kindergarten and have also found it very useful to carry everything in a tote. On some days, when I show a short video I pack everything (TV, laptop) on a wheeled cart, which can be quite the adventure! Our school is also composed of several scattered buildings. The weather can make it very tough to travel from classroom to classroom. I really enjoyed reading your blog and to know there are others just like me.

  9. This is fantastic and seems so close to home. I am 'la gating' traveling from PreK through 3rd. I love your ideas and the kids are always curious what is inside. What has worked well for me has been creating Google Slides with my songs, calendars, weather, etc so that I simply walk in and bring up my background/smartboard presentation at the host-teacher's computer. It has been a lifesaver to have everything prepped and portable.


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