Google Slides Magic

By now, you may know I love Google Slides. I usually default to the classic rewards and use them to extend on our lesson. Every once in a while, I will make a very unique, custom reward that I use for one specific student.

A couple of weeks ago, my sweet student Tracy brought some paper frogs she had drawn and cut out. They all wore clothes and crowns, and she said one was the mom, the dad and the baby. That same class, she brought her My Little Ponies to class with her.

As background, Mom used to get very upset when Tracy brought toys to class. In feedback, I explained we could use them, as long as Tracy just brought one or two toys, so Mom reluctantly agreed. As we used them more and more in class, Tracy got more excited about learning, and Mom got on board.

Fast forward… after this frog class, I thought it would be fun to make Tracy a special reward, so I wrote a story using Google Slides. I downloaded most of my images from my subscription to PNG tree, and I made up a story about the frog prince who lost his parents. Tracy is in the unit studying “feelings” so the topic was great to ask “How does he feel?”

Tracy was delighted to see that I had a custom story for her, and she recognized her toys from the last lesson!

In a rare occurrence, Mom wasn’t in class with her that week, but when I got the feedback, Mom thanked me for making the reward and asked if I could send her the pictures from the slides. (In China, they can’t get to Google Slides, even if I wanted to send her the full lesson.)Screenshot (1)

I took screenshots for her, and sent them via WeChat.

In our next class, as soon as I turned on the camera, Tracy held up a printed version of my story! She proceeded to read the entire thing to me, inserting the emotions she had learned to describe the characters. She and mom had been practicing all week until Tracy could read it on her own!

My heart just melted!

Here is a video I made so you could see how I first used it as a reward for Tracy, and then how she read it back to me. The audio is not very good from the playback, but it’s still adorable! Watch the cutest thing ever here: Google Slides Magic Video

Thank you to Google Slides and WeChat for making it possible to build such fulfilling relationships with families across the world.

If you would like more information about using Google Slides with VIPKid or are just interested in getting started in general, please let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching (and sliding!)

How to Send an e-card with VIPKid

When I was a little girl, I LOVED to check the mail. Of course, that’s because I would only get letters and cards and not any of the bills that fill my mailbox as an adult. Nonetheless, when I learned that we could send our students e-cards through VIPKids, I jumped on the chance.

Below, I have shared the step-by-step instructions for how to send an e-card.  Please note, you must use the phone app to send these. I have not found a way to send them through the portal

Step 1: Find Your Student

Open the phone list, and go to your list of classes. If the student you are looking for isn’t on the first page, scroll down until you see “All Bookings,” and click it to expand the list and be able to search by day.  Once you find a class with your student, click on it to open that specific class.  Then click on your student’s name to open the student screen.

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2. Enter the “Gift” Screen

At the top of the screen there is a gift box. Click on the gift box in the upper right hand corner to “Send a Gift.”

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3. Choose “Send a Card”

From this screen, you can either request the student’s mailing address (so you can send them a “real” gift, or you can send them an e-card.  To send an e-card, click the orange “Send a Card” button at the bottom of the screen.

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4. Select Your Card and Customize It.

Once you click on “Send a Card” look at the bottom of your screen, and you can scroll through a list of available e-cards. As of November 2019, all are currently free (meaning they don’t require any tokens.) In the past, some cost 5 tokens to send. Use your finger to scroll through the cards at the bottom to find one that you like. Once you have selected one, a list of pre-formatted messages will be visible that relate to the theme of the card. Click on each one to view the longer message.  Once you have selected the card type and the message you want to use, click “Send.”  You must check the box at the bottom that says “I agree to send this greeting card.” You can click on the sentence to read the full terms you are agreeing to.  Once you click the orange “Send” button, the student will be automatically notified of their card!

In the example below, I chose the birthday card template, and one of the four birthday messages available. 

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If you are looking for the ability to send fully customized messages without a template, I suggest looking into We Chat. There are pros and cons to using it, but I find it very effective when communicating with my regular students and their parents.

If you have any questions about how to send cards, or when it might or might not be appropriate, feel free to ask in the comments! Otherwise, enjoy!

VIPKid – When Teaching is “A Lot”

This morning, I sit surrounded by props. Don’t get me wrong, I always love to use props; however, this morning there is an exceptionally large number of them. I have toys and magnets. I have every objective sentence and word printed out. I have google slides plus a third reward system. I have teaching aids. Why so many props?

I’m waiting for my first student of the day, and I need to be ready for anything!

This young man is smart. He can read well, but as my husband sometimes says when describing his younger self… “He is a lot.”

My first lesson with this young man culminated in him scribbling out the pages so I couldn’t see anything.  When I disabled his mouse, he wrote in the chatroom “NONONONONO” for the rest of the class. He did participate, but it was distracting to say the least!

My second class, I was ready. I had something printed for every slide, so young man – scribble away!  He wasn’t going to make it that easy on me though. In that class, he picked a word and just kept shouting it.  “Bike! Bike! Bike!” Obviously, I couldn’t stay on the bike slide the entire lesson, so I did the only thing I could think of doing.  I shouted back the next word “Car! Car! Car! Car!”  By some small miracle, he started repeating that! We went through most of the remaining lesson this way, and the only downside was my husband (asleep downstairs) waking up to a resounding chorus of “Round! Oval! Round! Oval!”

So why do I share this story today? I supposed it’s just to say “hang in there.” Not every student will respond in the same way. Sometimes, personalities will clash, or a student needs a much different level of engagement. And it’s ok.

I’ve been teaching for 77 days, and in that time I’ve taught 55 different students in over 100 classes. I’ve been amazed at how easy it’s been to connect with most of them, and so this is a challenge, and one I’ll willingly accept. And if you are paired with a student that you’re struggling to reach, check out the VIPKid workshop schedule.  There are likely to be workshops that address the exact challenges you’re having.

Of course, if I can be of any assistance, please let me know. If you are already a VIPKid teacher, feel free to message me here.

If you are looking for a mentor and someone to help you get hired at VIPKid, I’d be happy to help. Here’s my referral link.

I sometimes like to think that this boy could grow up to be as successful as my husband is. At some point, my husband learned to channel his energy and uses it to work for him. If I can help in one small way to teach this boy to do the same, I would be honored.

Happy teaching!

props galore

Is VIPKid worth my time?

If you are just starting your journey with VIPKid, or you’re considering whether or not to apply, this is probably one of the first questions you will ask yourself.

 

The answer is YES!

When I first clicked on the link to learn about VIPKid, I had several questions. I was afraid to start something when I didn’t know if it would be worthwhile.

Will I like it?

One of my biggest fears is that I wouldn’t like teaching in this format. Would I be able to connect with the students in a “virtual classroom?” Would I get bored with the materials? Would I be too sleepy to enjoy my classes?

I’m happy to report that I LOVE teaching with VIPKid!

  • Technology: In today’s digital world, it’s just as easy to connect with a child over the airwaves as it is when you’re sitting right next to them. As an added bonus, they are as excited to get a glimpse into our world as we are into theirs! Technology has not been an issue at all, and even when there have been a few hiccups, we all laugh about it and work together to get them solved.
  • Content: The materials are great! One of my favorite things about the VIPKid curriculum is that it’s easy to customize the material based on your student. If you have a beginner student who is struggling, you can simplify or adjust how they interact on each slide. If you have a superstar student who is finding the lesson too easy, there are plenty of opportunities to extend the lesson and make it more interesting and engaging for them. If your student is on-level, you can use the lesson plan as-is. Every single session is different because every single student is different.
  • Hours: YAWN. I am not a morning person! For years, even as an adult, I had a rule that no one could call me before noon because I might be sleeping. If you had told me then that I would be waking up in the wee hours of the morning to teach, I would have laughed in your face! Because I live in the United States, the prime teaching hours are early morning (which are evening/after school hours in China.) The hottest hours (known as PPT timeslots) are 6:00 am, 6:30, 7:00, and 7:30 (central time.) As a general rule, I open 5:30 – 7:00, and I use the last 30 minutes to complete feedback on my classes before I begin my day job. Since I began teaching, I’ve found my eyes popping open around 4:30 am because I’m excited to begin! I don’t need that much time to prepare, but it’s nice getting my day started on such a positive note.

Will I be good at it?

This was a big concern for me, because I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. Because I don’t have elementary school classroom experience, nor do I have formal experience teaching English as a second language, I was worried that I would not be good at it.  The only thing worse than not enjoying teaching would be if I wasn’t helping the kids!

Fortunately, there are many resources available to help new teachers. As I’m sure you’ve seen, there are plenty of teachers with posts like these, videos, and more since referrals are such an easy way to earn extra cash! But VIPKid also has great resources available. There are many workshops available on almost any topic you can imagine. There are specific tools and techniques that you can learn to make you more effective. We’ll dive more into TPR (total physical response), modeling, props and “realia” and more in other posts. You will also get feedback from your interview and mock classes, so you can continue to improve.

Will any parents hire me?

So VIPKid has said I’m qualified to teach, but what if no one chooses me? I imagined months of sleepless mornings as I tried to build up my client base, and I worried that I would get lost in the sea of VIPKid teachers who are already teaching.

I’m happy to report that in my first month of teaching (only part time, remember) I taught over 20 students with many more booked. Each week more of my available timeslots are filled and I get more advanced bookings. My students quickly became a mixture of repeat students, new students, and trial classes, and more parents began following my profile. In that first month, I also got my first two “five apple” ratings!

So yes, parents will hire you. I’ll share specific tips and tricks for getting bookings, but just know that the process does work.

I was very happy that my initial worries and questions were quickly addressed. If you have any questions of your own, please reach out! I’d love to help. You can contact me here or ask me questions in the comments. If you’re ready to get started, I’d love to be your mentor, so please consider using my referral link when you apply and let me help you along the way!

“The most fruitful and worthwhile thing I have ever done has been to teach.” – Harvey Dunn