Saturday, April 26, 2014

Music a la Cart!

Happy Saturday!
    I have been getting a lot of questions about my year teaching from a cart.  I thought this might be a great first topic for my blog.  I will share a little bit about my experience and maybe others will have great tips to add.

How did it happen?

My school reached capacity and there were literally no rooms left.  We are building a new school for the fall, but this was a year of flexibility and compromise.

How did I prepare?

Well, I knew that I wanted to do as much as a could and just make the best of it.  First, I bought a cart!

I looked all over the internet for tips on what to buy and how to use it and I was really disappointed with my options.  I decided to go big to try and cram on as many things as possible.  I opted for a giant chrome cart from Target and Wheels with brakes to add to the bottom.

                               View the shelf on        View the wheels on                               

What's on the Cart?

After purchasing the cart I realized I need to choose some basics to keep on the cart that I would use most days.

1. Keyboard and plug way up on the top shelf
2. Basic Orff
3. A bin of unpitched percussion
4. A water bottle!
5. I laminated my schedule (one for each of the six day rotations) and attached it to the shelf of my cart for quick reference
6. Small bins with file folders for each class to keep the papers under control
7. A binder with my lessons ready to go


~ I met with the teachers about where music could meet.  As a responsive classroom school each room has a "Morning Meeting" rug space.  Although small, it fit what I needed a LOT better than having them in desks

~ Decide if you feel comfortable teaching while their classroom teacher is in the room.  Discuss how this functions for you.  For me, I didn't mind it at all!  We talked to the kids about how their teacher was getting things all set for the rest of the day, and if the students needed anything they needed to ask me.

~ Do you have travel time built in to the schedule?  How does your administration want to handle this?  Be kind but ask!  Should the teachers come back early so you can leave or should they stay and wait for you to arrive.  Be clear that no matter what you do, you can't be in two places at once :)

~ Establish routines for the students begin while you traveling their way.  In my older classes, students lead body percussion, they could start a musical game we learned, or  even begin vocal warm-ups to get focused.  

Advantages of teaching from a cart:

1.  The students have desks if you are writing or composing.
2.  You don't need your own music pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, etc.
3.  You get to explore the classroom set ups throughout the school (sometimes it can tell you a lot about how the students are used to learning)
4.  It really is great exercise!
5.  You let go of a lot of clutter.

Feel free to leave any comments or questions below!


  1. Wow! I'm amazed at teaching from a cart! You are a rockstar! I can see that you really thought through the process. Thanks for sharing! :-)

  2. Thank you so much for your comment!