Monday, May 15, 2017

Props for VIPKID classes

Props are needed to effectively teach ESL virtually. They reinforce the content and they help keep even the busiest of busy bees engaged in the lesson. When I was researching what I needed in order to teach virtually, I thought I would have to purchase a lot of props. You definitely do not! In fact, the more I work, the more I realize that the really big props can actually be challenging to work with. You need to be able to reach everything during your lessons without getting up.  When you have lessons back to back, you don't have a lot of time to set up and rearrange the props. So, I use a lot of printed out pictures as my props. To organize them,  I used an old coupon file folder. This makes it very easy to grab an image mid lesson.

This file folder is what I use the most (besides my white board!) It contains all my letter flash cards, color flash cards, shapes flashcards, VIPKID characters, cards with the weather on it, cards with places on them, and a set of images that help us discuss family members.

In addition to my file folder of print outs, I have a puppet. Young students are often very good at repeating what you say but when you want them to start asking and answering questions, it can be hard for them to do so. The puppet is very helpful for modeling conversation. 

Besides the file folder, puppet, and white board, I don't have many other props. I use a lot of TPR (total physical response) so I am very animated during the lessons. I review all the lessons the night before and if I happen to have something around the house that goes with the lesson, I will use that too. So while you definitely need props to help with lessons, you don't need to buy a bunch of themed props. In fact, you see those beautiful magnetic letters? Yeah...they never get used. It takes too much time to find the right ones. I just write on my white board. 

And here below you will see me taking a shameless selfie during a lesson while I explained a final project to take a picture showing them following classroom rules. It was 5:00 am!

Have any prop questions? let me know! 


  1. What a great blog! I have been wondering about virtual teaching. Just having wrapped up my 12th year of teaching, I'm itching for a change. How did you get into virtual teaching? Do you find you enjoy it? Thanks!

  2. Oh my gosh I LOVE IT! I got involved because my husband is an active duty military member so I run into issue of moving mid year and then not working for months because I can't get a job until the next year. It has been incredible. For this particular company, they provide the curriculum so you teach based out of their virtual classroom. So very little prep work! You should check it out. There are various Facebook groups like VIPKID newbie support that you could follow to get an idea of what it is like. There are also a bunch of YouTube videos on it. Nancy Taylor is fun to watch. There are a lot of full time teachers and stay at home moms and people who travel the world teaching virtually because you set your own schedule. It's awesome!!!!! Let me know if you have any more questions :) Super happy to help.