That’s the amount of extra income I earned in August from teaching with VIPKID. I don’t mean to toot my own horn but, well, week after week, my schedule is booked solid. I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not the most over-the-top or outgoing teacher in the world. As a matter of fact, the personality tags assigned to me after my interview were “reserved” and “serious”. So how do I do it?
I have a theory, and it involves…Props.
These days, I find myself scouring the dark depths of Amazon’s Toys and Games page and wandering the aisles of Dollar Tree in my spare time. And Target’s dollar section? Don’t even get me started! If I walk into that store, it’s over. Tyler can vouch.
I love to bring new, exciting, interactive props into my virtual classroom whenever possible. Distance learning can be hard in itself. But distance learning a new language? That’s a whole nother ball game. I’ve witnessed even the most eager students’ attention spans go right out the window because Bentley walked by, or their little brother decided it would be funny to run around the house with no pants on in the middle of class. And yes, that’s happened. Multiple times, actually.
I’ve spent the last 8 months building up a solid little arsenal, and today I’m going to share some of my all-time favorites with you! So, onto the good stuff!
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Magnetic Funny Faces
I use this as both a reward system and a fun way to review parts of the face. It’s very simple – You have a magnetic tin with the outlines of a man and woman. Every time they do a good job, they’re able to add a new component – mouths, noses, eyes, mustaches, even earrings! They get such a kick out of making the goofiest, most absurd faces possible. I’ve been using this for many months, and let me tell you – It has gotten me lots and lots of laughs.
I grew up on these classics! I’m quickly learning what a wonderful tool Bill Martin Jr’s books are for ESL learners. Repetitive and colorful, they help to reinforce concepts that we often talk about in class such as ordinal numbers & animal names. They’re also awesome to have on hand for fast finishers – You know the ones I’m talking about; they fly through the slides and you’ve just barely passed the 15:00 mark. Definitely a great solution for those speedy readers!
Boston Terrier Dress Up
Prepare to see those little eyes light up when you pull this one out. I mean, who wouldn’t have fun dressing a dog up in scarves and sun hats? There are also golden retrievers, Saint Bernards, chihuahuas, cats, and even dinosaurs to choose from!
Stackable Ice Cream Cone
SO useful for so many things; encouraging counting, practicing color identification, showing the motion of “eat”. They would make a fantastic reward system, too! I can hear it now – “When you do a good job, you’ll get a scoop of ice cream!” The versatility makes it well worth every penny!
Animal Finger Puppets.
These work really well for the little ones who need a bit of extra encouragement or getting through a trial with a timid student. There’s just something about a tiny panda or frog singing “Hello! How are you?! I’m fine, fine, fine” that is WAY more cute than a teacher!
Having a variety of props play a big factor in keeping students engaged. They mean the difference between making the class interactive or downright boring. The moral of the story is: Go get you some!
VIPKID Family, tell me – What props are you currently using that your kids are loving right now? I’d love to hear about them! Share with me in the comments below! Happy Teaching!