I really wish someone would have told me that there were specific VIPKID or other online teaching props and accessories I needed to be a successful online teacher. It’s easy to get swept up in the moment and want to splurge on items you think you’ll need but will never use.
When I first started I promised myself I wouldn’t spend any money on online teaching props or accessories until I made money. That can be a difficult concept, but it is one that I made happen. As time went by, I began to purchase things I thought would improve my lessons and turn new students into regular students.
Here’s my shopping list for the essential VIPKID or online teaching props and accessories:
Let’s get the tech stuff out of the way now.
- Obviously, you need a computer. For a while, I was hearing that VIPKID teachers were teaching from iPads and even phones. After a little research, I saw that this was no longer an option. If you know anything about this, leave me a comment. I’d love to know more about it!
2. When I first started, I was using off-brand headphones that had no microphone or mute button. I really didn’t think it was a big deal. I could hear my students and I was using my computer’s built-in microphone, so I assumed my student could hear me.
Every two weeks, VIPKID creates a quick video with your best teaching moments. This can be watched in the mobile app under “Moments.” I noticed there was a HUGE delay in sound when I taught with my off-brand headset. I found that many teachers were using the Logitech USB Headset H390 with Noise Cancelling Mic, so I went with that one. Y’all. It’s changed the way I teach. I can finally mute myself when I need to cough! That’s just one of the many perks! When I finish a class and am waiting to start my next class, I keep myself on mute and then unmute myself when I start the next class. It’s a great way to look super professional! Plus, when I watched my “moments” I heard a huge difference in sound- no delays!
3. I try very hard not to spend too much money on things I feel I can go without. The hotspot on my phone is something I cannot live without. After you’ve missed 6 classes, whether it is because you never showed up or struggled to get your internet to work, VIPKID can cancel your contract and, essentially, fire you. I got two of these when my internet would not work with me. So, I opted for a hotspot on my mobile device. Whenever my internet is being weird, I just turn on my hotspot and start my class, like a boss. I’m serious. You need this one, especially my traveling friends!
I know I said you can’t teach from your phone and iPad, but you’re still going to want to use a phone/iPad for your secondary rewards. This is one of the essential online teaching props! VIPKID asks that you use a reward system in your class, in addition to the stars reward.
I found this super cool Facebook Group called VIPKID Google Slides Group (Official). Here’s how they describe themselves: This group uses & creates Google Slides for VIPKID props, rewards, and extension. Instead of buying materials for our classes, we create them online & for free! Our resources do not replace the VIPKID curriculum. We do not upload anything into the classroom portal.
I highly recommend joining this group for easy to use tools and an amazing community of kind-hearted teachers. Although they focus on the Google Slides, they are always so helpful when it comes to new teachers seeking answers and I like their motto on keeping online teaching props simple!
This is essential. I’d chose a general book, as in, one without a recognizable cover. For example, I actually use a journal to illustrate a book. The concept of “seeing,” “reading,” “writing,” or anything that relates back to a book makes it to the online teaching props list! Enough said.
When I first started, I made my own letter flashcards, and that worked for a while. Eventually, I decided to spend a few bucks on flashcards, because I’m not crafty and my original flashcards were falling apart. If you are scheduled to teach Level 2, I highly recommend purchasing letter flashcards as online teaching props. Learning the alphabet is one of the key elements in the lower levels.
Although the animal flashcards are also awesome, they are more of a luxury, as I don’t use them as often as I could. Do I have plenty of opportunities to use them? YES! But I just don’t think of it in time or don’t feel it is worth it to pull them out and show them to the student as online teaching props. This depends on the teacher. If you are depending heavily on online teaching props, then go for it; but, if you are simpler like me, you can probably skip on this one.
Whiteboard (markers, magnets)
Non-negotiable. You need a whiteboard! I have two. One is my backdrop and one is a hand-held size. Both are online teaching props I suggest having! If you’re only going to invest in one, choose the smaller sized option.
I like to use it to draw rewards or pictures and spell words, especially when learning to blend letters and sounds. It’s a great visual tool for the students and it gives them something to look at besides the powerpoint lesson on the screen.
Today I was teaching a lesson on the body parts and yesterday I taught a lesson on emotions. I was able to use my whiteboard to draw and illustrate for both lessons. As you begin teaching classes, you may find that your consistent online teaching props are your whiteboards.
For rewards, I cut out 5 stars out of yellow paper and attached velcro to the backside of the star and to my whiteboard (you could also attach a magnet if your whiteboard is a magnetic board). Whenever my students earn stars, I attach a star. When I am finished with the lesson, I remove the stars and get ready for my next class. You see? The whiteboard is an easy way to display rewards! This is why it makes it to the online teaching props list!
Puppet or Stuffed Animal
For my older students, I don’t bother with this, but, for my younger students, they absolutely love my puppets and animals as online teaching props. Associating words with objects makes it more memorable. For example, I have many animal puppets, so when we are learning about animals, I just use my puppets to help them understand what each animal looks like. It’s another easy way to teach.
Meg & Mike Cut Outs
I definitely use my Meg and Mike cutouts often! They are reoccurring characters, so it will not be a waste of time if you print and laminate these guys. When I first started I wasn’t sure about Meg and Mike. I kept thinking that I’d print them out, put them on popsicle sticks and then they’d disappear from my lessons. It’s just not the case. These characters are as present as Dino, who I suggest you also cut out.
Although I didn’t laminate my characters on sticks, I highly recommend that you do for long-lasting online teaching props. You won’t regret this one!
I mainly use my fake money for rewards with my older students. And then I price some of my other props. At the end of their lesson, they can decide the item they want to buy. If that is getting too complicated for you, you can always just tell them that they earned a BLANK amount of money! Yay for easy online teaching props!
I have found that some students don’t care about money and would prefer a more creative reward, so keep this in mind. Know your students! For those students, I use fake money during our math lessons. To add to the lesson, I will create my own math problems and see if they can solve using my fake money as a guide.
It’s also a great opportunity to show them what our dollar bills look like. I always mention that this is fake money (online teaching props) but that our money does look very similar! Sometimes they will show me what their money looks like and we can compare and contrast the two, which is a great way to have them practice their free speech! (Free speech is my favorite!)
Flags (China and U.S.A/Canada)
When I teach my younger students, I use the flags more often; the countries and their flags are also mentioned in many lessons. More often than not, I hang them on my whiteboard and they sit there the entire lesson as online teaching props and decorations. If it comes up, I take them down and talk about them.
Just yesterday I had a student ask me where I was and what time it was. I took my flags down and had a great conversation about our two countries and what a time zone means. It was a great opportunity to use my online teaching props to help me teach a side lesson. If you’d rather not purchase flags, you can print them out as I did. I taped them to a pencil and called it a day! If that’s too much for you, you can always draw them on your whiteboard; although anything with drawing stresses me out! To each their own!
Don’t underestimate certain online teaching props of yours. Everything can be used!
Sport Balls (Soccer, Football, Baseball, Basketball)
I use my sports balls daily as online teaching props! They are great for rewards or lessons that focus on exercise, health, and movement. I also use them to see which sport the student likes best and then ask them to explain. As mentioned earlier, I adore when they experience free speech, so I encourage it often.
When it comes to the difference between soccer and futbol, we spend some time talking about how most countries call soccer futbol and how we, as Americans, call it soccer. I explain that neither country is wrong in calling it that; it’s just a reflection of their culture and what makes us all unique and different.
Out of all of my online teaching props, this next one is my favorite…
In love with our dog, Cooper? See some of our dog-friendly adventures!
Are you starting to see how important online teaching props are to the student and their success! I’m not saying you have to go and buy every prop EVER! No! However, some online teaching props are essentials, and hopefully, this list helps you in your shopping endeavors!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my VIPKID online teaching props and accessories! Please tell me what you think I missed! I am always looking for ways to improve and add to my online teaching props!
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