Release the Bag!

I am not a teacher that pulls a cart full of work back and forth from home to school. I love me a cute tote, but dragging a bag full of papers home every night is not something I enjoy. (Who does right?)  After kids came into my life 12 years ago, my goal was to "release the bag", giving up on lugging the teacher tote or pulling the Home Depot cart behind me loaded down with "stuff" to do at home, that, quite honestly, NEVER got done! Who was I kidding anyway? I decided that I had to use my work hours as efficiently as possible. Changes had to be made! Curbing my "social time" was #1. Hard to do because I'm a social butterfly. I love to chat. I love to know what's going on around campus. I'd take chatting over working anytime! Procrastination is my middle name. Through some discipline, I changed my wicked ways and started to use my time more wisely, getting the vast majority of work done during the hours I've been given.

Another change I made in order to "release the bag" was to take a long, hard, honest look at the kind of work I was giving that created all these stacks that needed nightly attention.  Was what I was grading really valuable and meaningful? I had to be honest with myself and say no! It seemed to be more busy work, not to mention a waste of paper!  Over the years, I've made a lot of changes in this area. I've reduced the amount of copies I make by a significant amount. I really consider the value of a worksheet before I print it. If the kids can copy or recreate the activity in notebook, I use it that way. I give a grade on only what I consider assessment. I don't collect every little practice page the kids complete. We grade a lot of work as a whole class, the kids get immediate feedback, and I can move around the room and quickly see right then who needs extra help. I also assess in a variety of ways that don't require a copied worksheet.  Since implementing the Daily 5 in the last 4 years, I use even less paper or what might be considered busy work. My class is virtually "worksheet free".

Not to say I do NOTHING at home for my job. Quite the contrary. I do a great deal in fact. During the summer, I spend time planning, reading professional books, and creating materials for the new school year. This gets me re energized for the new year. I come into school prior to preplanning week to prepare my room (I'm sure many of you do, too) for the new year, so that preplanning week can be for just that...planning! School is on my mind constantly, as well.  With my hubby, sister, and best friends all being teachers, we can't help but talk about it when we're together!

The bigger the tote or the later we stay at school, is not what makes us great teachers! (No offense to anyone that does those things. I know teachers have their various reasons. Just my opinion! ☺) Professional reading, collaborating, attending conferences or PLCs outside of school time are a much better use of my time.

Don't get me wrong on this whole post. Of course, there are occasions that I have to carry something to and from school. I have a very nice tote that I use as a computer bag and now I have this little cart that I just have to share with you!  How did I get this gem? My big sis (a teacher, too) was shopping at Lowe's and only needed a few items. Instead of a big cart to push around, they have these little pull carts. Well, she fell in love with it. She called Lowe's headquarters and asked where she could purchase this handy dandy cart. As it turned out, they are not sold individually, but Loews was willing to sell her 4 of them for $15 each.  Let me tell you that this cart is super nice. It's light, easy to pull, and very spacious! It even has a large handle for carrying.

I loaded it with chapter books from home that my kids have out grown and brought them to school. In the summer, I always accumulate a collection of things that have to come to school in the fall and this cart will come in handy for storing my collection. It can be used for so much more than school, too! Bring it to the beach or on a picnic. I walk to the supermarket sometimes and it's perfect for holding my groceries for the walk home. Use it to carry bags from your car to the house. Have your kids load up it with laundry for easy carrying to the laundry room! (that's my favorite one!) The cart is called a Shop and Roll. Click HERE to check out their site. I'm not getting any credit for endorsing this product, I just really like it. If you do too, give Lowe's a call and see about ordering your own.

Let's discuss: Have you "released the bag"? If so, how did you do it? Do you want to release it? How do you use the time given to you during the work day to get the most done? I would love to hear from you!!


  1. Like you, I hate worksheets! Yuck! So that helps cut down the amount of "paper" work that I bring home. I don't normally bring home a lot of stuff. I like to keep my evenings open for blog stalking and Pinterest! There are times when I do have to make something "quick" for lesson the next day. But that's digital and it doesn't take up a whole lot of room in my bag! I still need to work on how much time I spend in the evenings doing "school" related activities. Blog stalking and Pinterest can get out of hand too! I have a family that needs my attention too! Thanks for sharing a great post that affects all of us at one time or another!

    An Apple a Day in First Grade

  2. This is great post! It took many years for me to learn how to your my time at school wisely. I grade assessments during my planning period. Most of their writing I grade with them beside me during a conference. I am required to have two grades per subject each week and I keep to that limit. My students write almost everything in composition books and we grade all of their practice work as a class. Most of my copies come from graphic organizers and assessments. Thank you for this post!

    Foreman Teaches

  3. As a new teacher I can remember setting a limit for myself and saying that working on school things stopped at 8PM! I can't imagine bringing home that much work now!! I am an early bird so I usually get to school 45 minutes early and I take advantage of that time to grade and do lesson plans. I have a schedule for plans so I start planning for the next week on Tuesday! Early I know, but it works for me and it has been several years since I've HAD to do plans at home on the weekend. I do school work at home now, but I'd rather spend my time here looking for ideas for lessons and creating fun things for the classroom.
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

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  5. I love the cart can you share the Lowes cooperate number please. I would love to buy one of these carts. I am a new teacher in GA.


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