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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Music Teacher Cart 2020

Normally I would have done a classroom tour at least a month ago, showing how I've set up my space to get ready for students and another year of music-making. This year I have no room to set up because I am on a cart for the first time ever as we open in a hybrid model in the midst of this pandemic. I'm new to this myself and tried not to spend too much of my own money on something that is so subject to change, so this may not be the perfect model of what everyone "should do" but I'm making it work!

First of all, my district has not (yet) actually provided me with a cart to use for cart teaching- they are hoping to be able to order something but for now I am using what I happened to already have in my classroom from last year. So if things seem unnecessarily awkward, it's because it is! Still, I am lucky to have this cart that I bought last year to store composition and other miscellaneous student supplies:

Originally I took all the bins out, thinking I would want the bigger shelf space for things like my laptop, a keyboard, etc. But I quickly realized that while the large lip around each shelf is very helpful for keeping things from falling out, it makes it very difficult to reach things that sit low inside them! So the bins made a comeback and I'm using the ones on the top shelf to store things when I'm rolling, and serve as a shelf when I'm stationary.

Besides my computer, I keep all the things that are most essential to teaching on the top shelf (plus a minion for good measure): a clipboard, my voice amplification headset, and a small bluetooth speaker. I didn't realize how helpful it would be that the cart is metal- I am able to attach things to the sides with magnets, like the laminated copy of my class schedule that I have stuck on the top shelf so I can keep track of where I'm supposed to be when.

The middle is where I plan to keep different things I might need for a particular lesson. I found that a mini keyboard fits perfectly into the shelf, and since I do tend to gravitate to the piano for quick demonstrations of concepts or to accompany a movement activity, I wanted to make sure I could take it when I want it. If I have other instruments or supplies for a specific lesson I'll take out the keyboard and use the middle shelf for those. That shelf also has the power strip, which I had no idea how badly I would need until I started trying to plug everything in! Most of it can run without being plugged in, but I am paranoid and want to make sure I can plug things in in case the battery runs low in the middle of the day.

On the bottom shelf I have an extra Chromebook (again, because I am paranoid- I want to have a backup plan in case my laptop freezes, which is not uncommon for my dinosaur machine), an extension cord, tissues, basic first aid kit, hand sanitizer, a walkie talkie, and a box with some basic office supplies like sticky notes, pencils, and paper clips. 

This is all admittedly a bit of a mess to look at from the back, but I brought back the one poster that I took home during distance teaching this spring from my classroom and attached it to the front to hide the mess:

If you're a first time cart teacher like me I hope this gives you some ideas! And if you have your own ideas that have worked well for you please share them in the comments. We're all going to need to learn from each other more than ever this year! If you're looking for more ideas for pandemic teaching, here's the page where I'm organizing all of them:


  1. You say it looks like a bit of a mess, but honestly, you've got some great organization going on here and your beautiful poster fits this cart perfectly! You're definitely not paranoid in wanting to have a power strip. I always advise others to keep one handy...cart teaching requires plenty of backup plans :) All the best to you this school year!

    1. Thanks Danielle! I feel reassured to hear that from the queen of music carts herself! :) I hope you're having a great year as well.

  2. Hi, could you tell me where did you order the cart? Thanks!

    1. Hi! I got this one from Target a few years back but I have seen similar ones at Michaels and other craft stores.