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VIPKid Prop Ideas – “My Feelings” Demo Class

“Even as a child, I didn’t want to pretend. If I was going to have a tea party, there had better be tea.  Because of this, I use props every chance I get.”

I love props. Even as a child, I didn’t want to pretend. If I was going to have a tea party, there had better be tea.  Because of this, I use props every chance I get. If you aren’t sure where to start, I thought I’d provide a few options for different props that you might want to use during your “My Feelings” demo class.  You do not need to use all of these ideas, of course! You should have at least two different types of props that you use, but choose based on what suits your style and helps you communicate your lesson!

It’s important to remember that the props are not the most important part of the lesson here. Be sure you are familiar with the Teacher Applicant Performance Indicator. There are 24 distinct areas in which you are measured, and supplementary tools is only one of them. Props can also help affect rapport and energy level, but if you focus TOO much on the props, it can adversely affect your efficient pacing and timing or pull you off track from your lesson objectives.

Pick props that help you teach. Pick props that you can have fun with, and that you think a child will like. And then enjoy!

Slide One: Welcome Page

This is the page I would have up during the interview; it’s not a part of the lesson. No props needed.

Slide Two: Objectives

No props needed here. You should not review this slide with your student. Use the page number navigation box at the bottom of the page to skip straight to slide four.

Slide Three: My Feelings

I don’t think this counts as a prop, but I would suggest having your name “Teacher Amelia” displayed somewhere prominently on your wall. It could be

  • Drawn on a whiteboard
  • Printed on paper
  • Spelled out in toy blocks

Slide Four: Reward System

You definitely want to have your reward system present physically in the room. Here are a few options:

  • Print out the actual “Reward System” slide and:
    • Draw bananas in the squares as rewards
    • Print copies of the little monkey holding the banana over his head and tape them in the squares
    • Print other copies of bananas and tape them in the squares
  • Print a picture of a monkey and pictures of bananas, and tape the bananas around the monkey
  • Use a monkey stuffed animal and tape or velcro bananas to him
  • Use a bunch of real bananas and pull one off the bunch each time there’s a reward

Slide Five: Warm Up

Since this is a poem, not a song, I probably wouldn’t use any props here. What’s most important in this slide is using TPR, so you don’t want your hands tied up with something else.

Slide 6: Find the Sound

I would start with having the letter “M.” This could be:

  • A magnetic letter you hold up to the camera
  • “M” written on a small whiteboard
  • “M” on a building block
  • “M” drawn on a piece of paper or printed from the internet

You could also have physical items for the monkey and mouse (the correct answers.) I might only use these if the student struggled, which they shouldn’t since it’s a review. If you want to have them handy, you can print these pictures from the powerpoint and:

  • Simply hold them up
  • Laminate them
  • Laminate them and attach them to a stick/toothpick

If you happen to have mouse or monkey toys around, you could use those (but I wouldn’t go and buy them.)

Slide 7: Blending Sound

For this, I would have a prop available. This might include:

  • A small whiteboard where you can write the phonics blends
  • Magnetic letters (my favorite!)
  • Printed/laminated page with phonics and/or blanks to fill in

Slide 8: I have many feelings.

This slide is ripe for props. Options include:

  • Printed emojis (I opted for the style that’s on most phones since they are easily recognizable.)
  • Smiley/frowney faces on sticks/toothpicks
  • Puppets or dolls (only if they have clear expressions that align with the emotions.)
  • A face that you can draw on (on a whiteboard or laminated page) to draw different emotions
  • Printed photographs that clearly show the different emotions

Slide 9: Meet Dino and Lily

I personally probably wouldn’t use props with this slide, but you could if you wanted to.

  • If you happen to have a stuffed Dino lying around (ha!) that would be fun to use.
  • You could print pictures of Dino and Lily and put them on sticks/toothpicks (or just hold them up) in the camera for their speaking parts.
  • You can keep your props from the last slide handy so if your “student” struggles with the word “angry” or “happy” you can remind them with the same prop.

Slide 10: Shoot the Ball

Because this is an activity, I would recommend having some kind of goofy prop available. You want to get the kid excited that it’s “Activity Time!!”

Use your creativity here! Ideas I’ve seen include:

  • Funny hats
  • Headbands with crazy things on them
  • Musical instruments
  • A stuffed animal or puppet with a crazy voice
  • Lighting – wouldn’t it be fun to turn on a disco ball in your classroom?
  • A basketball, either real or a small one, that you can “whoosh” when they draw a correct line to the basketball goal

Really, the only point here is to amp up the energy for the activity.

Slide 11 – Goodbye

You’re done! No need for props here!

Props are as individual as we are. I hope these ideas have served to inspire you, but I encourage you to use what makes you comfortable in the classroom.

If you have ideas for other props, leave them in the comments here! If you would like feedback on your own props and are looking for someone to help you through the process, I would be honored to be your mentor. My referral link is here!

If you’re not sure what to expect with a mentor, you can get a little more information in my blog post and video What’s a VIPKid referral anyway?

Good luck with your demo, and happy teaching!

Worst VIPKid Video Ever

When I decided to apply for VIPKid, I was nervous. Once I started watching YouTube videos, I was petrified.

You’ve all seen them – the cute, adorable, well-spoken, lively teachers. The ones with the perfect classroom and the ideal camera angle. The ones with the endless wardrobes of orange shirts in a variety of flattering styles. The ones who can balance a baby on one hip while teaching a class and making a perfect video with flashy animation bouncing across the screen all at the same time. They are perfect.

I watched these and thought, “That’s not me!”

But then I got hired. Then I got a class. Then I got some regular students. Then it was me. Maybe it wasn’t as pretty, but guess what? It didn’t matter.

What does matter?

  1. I am motivated. This was something I *wanted* to do.
  2. I am not afraid of hard work. Teaching isn’t something you can fake. It’s too important.
  3. I care about my students. Their success is important to me.
  4. I want to have fun. When I have fun, so do they.

There isn’t a single student or parent out there who cares if my YouTube videos have animation, so neither do I.

If you’re thinking about giving VIPKid a try, just do it. If I can help, I would love to. Here’s my referral link.

In the meantime, if you want to see the ugly truth, below is probably the very worst VIPKid video ever. But it doesn’t matter. 🙂

The Worst VIPKid Video Ever

worst picture ever

What’s a VIPKid referral anyway?

By now, if you’ve read any of my blog posts or watched any of my videos, you’ve seen me talking about my referral link. So what is it, and why should you use it?

In short, by using a referral link, you are connecting one on one with a VIPKid mentor. This is not an employee; it’s a fellow teacher.  It’s someone who has been through the process and is willing to show you the ropes.

When I went through the process in September 2018, I didn’t have a mentor. This was especially unfortunate, because the process was changing AS I WAS INTERVIEWING (!) and so many of the videos didn’t really align with my experience. In hindsight, it would have been great to have someone I could lean on for questions and feedback through the process.

So – what can you expect from me, if you decide you would like me to be your mentor?

A. I will support you via email.

We all love email! It’s quick and easy and available all the time. If you have questions, shoot them over to me, and I’ll be happy to respond!  Just contact me here.  I’ll shoot you my email address. (Or it’s also in the photo and video at the end of this post.) I’ll do my best to respond within 24 hours!

B. I will review your demo class/mock class.

I was so nervous to present to the interviewer! I would have loved to be able to do a dry run and get some pre-feedback before the actual interview.

C. I will set up a 1:1 video call with you.

If you’re local, let’s just get together! If not, let’s zoom! There’s nothing that puts your mind quite at ease like just having a conversation with someone who has successfully completed what you are doing. It’s a great chance to set aside 30 minutes to get any questions answered and talk through the process.

D. I will add you to my brand new private Facebook group, Amelia VIPKID – Teacher Central!

What’s so special about a Facebook group? I’m glad you asked! This is basically a newcomer’s guide to VIPKid. It’s organized in such a way that it’s a roadmap. It’s quick and easy to refer to. I’ve structured the content into 16 units (and counting.) Some of the posts are a five-minute read, while others link to a longer blog post or video. (Speaking of videos, check this one out, where you can get a tour!

This page is very much a work in progress, and it will continue to grow with new information, so stay tuned!

There are plenty of good mentors out there to help you along your VIPKid journey. I hope this is helpful in understanding the process a little bit more and learning how I (or another) mentor can assist!

Happy teaching!

mentor support

Sample VIPKid Class Feedback – Struggling Student

“class feedback + parent feedback = collaboration in the classroom!”

As I explained in my recent blog post VIPKid Class Feedback – “Virtual Backpack Notes”, I consider class feedback a critical component of my teaching.

I previously provided Sample VIPKid Class Feedback – New Student, High Performing to show how I use my standard template to give feedback to a strong student, but I wanted to provide an example of a student who did well, but struggled more.

This class also resulted in a 5-apple feedback with a specific request back from the parent. They said, “Thank you for your comments on {Student Name.} The teacher said that {Student Name} was confused by the teacher’s questions, and that’s because he cannot understand. {Student}’s problem now is that he often can’t understand full sentences. I hope the teacher will practice the dialogue with him in class next time.” This is a great example of how class feedback + parent feedback = collaboration in the classroom!

If you have questions about this feedback, or VIPKid in general, let me know in the comments! If you are looking for more personalized answers, I’d love to help. My referral link is a great way to find a mentor, and we both benefit!

Sample Feedback

**Overall Feedback**

It was great to teach {Student} again today! Today we learned about people in a family, and we practiced the word “mom.” He did a great job identifying pictures of moms and using the word in a complete sentence “She is my mom.  She is his mom. She is her mom.” He is very involved with the slides and follows directions so well! We learned the word “talk” and used it in a sentence “My mom talks on the phone. He talks with his friends.” He was a little confused with one of the activities that asked “Who do you talk with?” and the options were a man, a woman, a lamp, and a violin. When I broke it down, he understood that you can’t talk with a lamp or a violin. I think the choices might have just confused him. We used the word “her” and used it in a sentence “This is her phone.” He did great on the exercise that incorporated the word “her” with previous vocabulary (dog, headphones, teacher, and mom.) GREAT JOB! He did well blending sounds in our phonics lesson (l+eg= leg, b+eg=beg, k+eg=keg, w+eg=weg) and even did great at the rhyming exercise that sometimes confuses students! We learned about “this” and “that.” We also reviewed two items from my last class with him: “What must I follow in class? I must follow the rules in class.” and “How do you behave in class? I behave well in class.” He did a great job in class (and definitely behaved well!) He is a five-star student!

**Homework**

Within the limits of a computer screen, it’s difficult to explain that “this” is something close while “that” is something further away. He seemed to understand, but if you could practice at home, that will help reinforce it. Put two of the same objects (for example, apples) in a room – one close and one far away. Practice identifying THIS apple (close) and THAT apple (far.) Then once he correctly identifies the correct word using two of the same object, practice with different objects. (This mouse, that tree.)

**Next Steps**

Thank you for the five-apple rating after our last class! I really appreciate it! My goal is to have positive (5-apple) feedback on every class I teach, so if you have time, I would appreciate your feedback on this class as well. I would love to teach {Student} again, and I have this same time available in two weeks. Of course, you can also follow my teacher profile to see other available times. Thank you so much for the opportunity to teach your son!

 

Sample VIPKid Class Feedback – New Student, High Performing

If you are looking for an easy cut-and-paste template to use for feedback, you won’t find it here! As you will see below, the feedback I leave for my students is extremely customized.

As you may have read in my previous post VIPKidClass Feedback – “Virtual Backpack Notes”, I think that feedback is one of the most important parts of the class experience.

In the below example, this was feedback from my very first lesson with this student. She was extremely smart and did great in class!

Following the class, I received a five-apple rating for this class, and another five-apple rating in a subsequent class with the parent commenting, “Feedback after class is very attentive; I hope to have a long-term class with Amelia to help {Student}’s rapid growth and upgrading!”

This class feedback follows the general flow of:

  • Overall Feedback
  • Homework
  • Next Steps

But it is personalized to this specific student and this specific class.

I hope you find this example helpful. If you have any questions, please add them in the comments below. If you are looking for a mentor, I’m ready to help! Here’s my referral link to get started!

Sample Feedback:

**Overall Feedback**

Wow! {Student} was a GREAT student today! I can’t believe that she is new to VIPKid because she did so well in the class. She is a good reader, and has a very strong foundation.

Today we learned about the face, and she did great at identifying the parts of the face (face, eyes, nose, mouth, ears.) We practiced answering the question, “What do you do with your eyes?” The answer we were practicing was “I see with my eyes.” She was able to repeat this, but she wanted to answer with the word “look” instead. This is still accurate, and it shows that she grasped the meaning, but keep practicing the word “see” for a more versatile vocabulary!

We practiced letter sounds for B, M, R, and S. She clearly knew the alphabet and already knew all four of the words on the slides (bat, mat, rabbit, and snake.)

There will be many phonics lessons with VIPKid. When we are practicing combining sounds, you can let {Student} know that she doesn’t have to say the letter. She can just say the sounds. For example, there might be an exercise that has “b-at. bat.” Because she’s so good at identifying her letters, she would say “b. b-at, bat.” This isn’t necessary since these types of exercises are all focused on the sounds the letters make, not the letters themselves.

She did great with the word “away,” and I was especially impressed with her ability to adapt the conversations in the practice activities. Many students get confused when using pronouns (“Her eyes.” “His eyes.”) and she already has a great head start on this! She also did very well responding in complete sentences!

**Homework**

I think “eyebrow” was a new vocabulary word for her, so continue to practice this with her. With the letters, she pronounced some of the sounds with an “uh” at the end (“buh” instead of “b” or “muh” instead of “mmmmm.”) This will be important as she begins reading more advanced words, so keep practicing with those sounds. (She can listen to them again starting on slide 10 in the playback.) She worked very hard until she repeated them all correctly!

**Next Steps**

{Student}’s enthusiasm and knowledge are sure to make her very successful with VIPKID! I would love to teach {Student} again, and if you would like to book another class with me, I have this same time available in two weeks. We will continue to work on phonics and pronunciation.

I would also appreciate it if you could leave feedback about the class! Getting positive feedback (5-apples) is very important to VIPKid teachers, and any comments you leave will help us continue to adjust to {Student}’s classroom and learning styles.

{Student} did a GREAT job today and I loved teaching her. Thank you!

close up of text
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

VIPKid Class Feedback – “Virtual Backpack Notes”

My goal with class feedback is to give the parents the tools they need to extend upon our 25-minute class and help their students with the content throughout the rest of their week.

When my kids were little, every day when they got home from school I would check their backpack for teacher notes. I knew that if they had homework, it would be written on the homework log. If they had behavior issues, they would be noted in their backpack. If there was something important that we needed to work on, it would be on a brightly colored sheet of paper. With VIPKid, we can’t send a note home in their backpack, so class feedback is the next best thing!

I think that feedback is perhaps one of the most important parts of the class. After all, I get 25 or 50 minutes per week with a student.  They spend around 2,000 minutes a week in school, between 3,000-4,000 minutes a week asleep, and the rest (a whopping 4,500+ minutes) with their parents!

My goal with class feedback is to give the parents the tools they need to extend upon our 25-minute class and help their students with the content throughout the rest of their week.

I break my feedback into three parts:

  • Overall Feedback (If I’m doing a unit assessment, I replace this with the headers in the UA.)
  • Homework
  • Next Steps

Overall Feedback

I always start with something positive here. {Student} did great in class today! or {Student} worked very hard in class, and I’m so proud of her progress! I then do a section-by-section review. Before class, I write a basic, customized template for each lesson using Feedback Panda. Usually, I do my feedback quickly before the playback is available to view; however, because I have my rough outline, I remember if there are specifics I need to call out. I always recap any key vocabulary  we learned, and I comment on pronunciation and if they were able to use the sentences correctly. I always call out instances where the student successfully demonstrated their knowledge or was able to extend upon the content. With trial classes, I will usually comment on key things they can expect to see with VIPKid classes. (For example – {Student} did a great job learning to circle and draw lines. You’ll find that many VIPKid classes use this as an activity to help reinforce the lessons we teach, so this skill will serve her well in future classes! I always also end on a positive note. Some people call this the “sandwich” method of feedback where you start and end with positives (the bread) and put the meat (improvement) in between.

Homework

If there are specific things that I think the student needs to practice or review again, I’ll call out the slide and they review it with their student again. Or if I feel the student didn’t understand/comprehend part of the lesson, I’ll also recommend a playback. Otherwise, if a student struggled with any particular concept or word or with a specific classroom behavior (not responding in complete sentences, for example), I’ll call that out here. The point of this section is not to criticize the student; it’s to give parents a way to continue the lesson beyond the classroom. Even when I have a superstar student that blows me away, I always look for something they can practice! Recently, I had a student who was very smart. I actually recommended an adjustment in her placement level. When we were learning about the days of the week, it was a Tuesday, so she struggled to answer questions about the picture, because she knew that today is Tuesday, and the day after Tuesday is Wednesday. So when Friday was circled, she didn’t want to say “Today is Friday,” because it’s not! 🙂 So for this particular student, my homework was to practice answering questions about pictures and answering questions about ‘real life’ to help her identify the difference. I always give them something to work on!

Next Steps

This section is where I talk less about the class and more about our teaching relationship. If a parent previously left parent feedback, I always thank them here, and I will respond to anything they specifically said in their comments or tags, so they know I take their feedback seriously. Likewise, if they are a repeat student, I thank them for booking another class with me. I always check to see if they have another class already booked with me. If so, I will end this section by saying, “I look forward to seeing {student} on Thursday!” If not, I let them know if I have the same time available next week or in two weeks. And I always ask them for a five-apple rating and comments.

Here are a couple of real examples of feedback that I’ve sent to parents. In both cases, they resulted in 5-apple ratings with comments.

If you have questions, please ask me in the comments! If you find this helpful and are looking for a mentor, my referral link is HERE!

VIPKid and Daylight Saving Time (Fall Back/Return to Daylight Standard Time.)

I was concerned – what happens to my schedule since China doesn’t observe daylight saving time?

In 2019, the return to Daylight Standard Time (falling back) falls on Sunday, November 3rd. As a VIPKid teacher, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day since I’m not naturally much of a morning person. Now, those 6 am classes will FEEL like 7 am classes, and I’m so excited!

Last year this time was my first time change with VIPKid, so I was concerned – what happens to my schedule since China doesn’t observe daylight saving time? In short, nothing happened.

VIPKid takes into account the change in US time zones prior to opening bookings. So if I had a 6:30 am class booked last night when I went to sleep, this morning, it was still booked at 6:30 am; the only difference was that it was light outside! I did notice that the time slots immediately before the change were labeled in the Teacher App with a “DST” label, so if you teach overnight, you’ll see a 1:00 am DST, 1:30 am DST, 1:00 am, and 1:30 am times available for booking. It’s like you have a time-turner! But for me, I teach later in the mornings, so there was really no impact.

What changed following the time change?

  • My bookings were a little low the week following the time change, and I assume that’s because of the shift in my availability. Last year at this time, I went from 14 classes booked  (of 15 open slots) down to 9 classes booked so far for the coming week. This didn’t last, though, and I was back to “normal” very quickly.
  • Some of the students that had expressed an interest in times that I typically don’t open were now able to book classes with me.
  • I have began getting some priority booking requests for early time slots that I would not normally open.

So what did I do differently?

  • Last year, I opened up more (and earlier) time slots! For me, this is a great opportunity to stay on the same physical schedule but get more bookings! I work full time from my home, and I start work at 8:00 am sharp. Because of this, I generally open up only 6:00, 6:30, and 7:00.  My logic last year was that I could begin teaching at 5:00 and it would still FEEL like 6:00. However, I would caution you against this. This ONLY works if you continue to go to bed on your pre- time change schedule. I did not, and I quickly got worn down, tired, and sick.
  • I did let some of my regulars  know about the time change and asked them to let me know if they are looking for different times available to book.
  • This time last year, I added my Level 4 certification. This year, I went on to add Level 5 and Free Talk. I assume kids in China are much like kids here – the older they are, the later they can stay up.
  • I enjoyed having a little extra daylight during class time!

What will happen with the new Ministry of Education requirements?

Effective November 1, Chinese students will not be able to take classes after 9:00 pm China Standard Time.  You can read more about the regulations in the VIPKid Support Center. So for me, in central time, I will have to adjust my schedule to maintain the same number of classes. I normally teach my last class at 7:00 central time, which before November 1, is 8:00 pm China Standard Time. After November 1, 7:00 central time will be 9:00 pm China Standard Time, and in theory, unavailable for booking.  (Though at this time, the times still show as available in the teacher portal.) Speculation is that trials can still be booked after 9 pm China Standard Time, and students who do not live in China could still book those times. I will update this post if anything changes, but 2019 will definitely be a unique year for this reason.

I hope this helped answer any questions you had about how the return to Daylight Standard Time affects VIPKid class bookings.   If you have other questions, please ask me in the comments below! If you are looking for a mentor to help you get started, please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have!

accurate alarm alarm clock analogue
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