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

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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!