As an ESL teacher with VIPKid, I get asked which VIPKid props I consider essential to being an effective online teacher. And while I know every teacher’s needs are different, I’ve created the ultimate VIPKid props guide to help you as you choose which props to invest your money in.
Why Do I Need to Use Props?
You may be thinking, “Why do I need this VIPKid prop list? I don’t have to use props if I don’t want to.” And you would be correct.
The VIPKid police are not going to beat down your front door and take you to jail because you don’t have Meg and Mike character props. However, there are two significantly important reasons you need to be using the best VIPKid props you have during your teaching.
1. Using props helps you be a more effective teacher.
Let’s be honest. It’s easy to be average. It isn’t hard to read the information on the screen to your VIPKid student. But, it takes effort to think of ways to help your students make connections with the new language they are learning. If you’re genuinely desiring for your students to grow as English speakers, using props will provide them with a visual cue as well as an audio cue.
2. Using props helps you create a quality learning environment.
The parents, who have chosen you as their child’s teacher, have paid a lot of money for your time. (This fact is always in the back of my mind as I’m teaching.) I know if I was paying for 25-28 minutes of one-on-one direct instruction, I would want the teacher doing everything within her power to connect with my child.
Therefore, it should be our desire to provide a quality learning environment in every single class. To create an immersive environment focused on our students’ needs, we are going to need printable props. So, which props are the best?
The 4 Best VIPKid Props for EVERY LEVEL
1. Meg, Mike, Dino Printables
I have a set of these character printables that stay on my desk at all times. I use them in every level I teach from Previp to Level 5. They are perfect for conversations. Just have the characters face each other and you have an instant conversational situation. I also use them to teach pronouns, prepositions, and other parts of speech. Suffice it to say these are used every day in my classroom.
Once you are a VIPKid teacher, you can request to join the VIPKID-Videos & Props Facebook group. By joining, you gain access to a huge database of free printable character files. (That’s where I found my Meg, Mike, Dino printables as well as the other VIPKid printable characters.)
2. Number Flashcards
I have used these in levels 1-3. This set includes numbers 1-100, but most of the time I only need the numbers 1-10. However, more recently I’ve found myself using the 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 cards during the lessons on skip counting. And although the numbers go up to 100, the cards are numbered on both sides so there are only 50 cards in the set.
3. Shapes Flashcards
When I first started teaching, I bought a set of shape flashcards from the Dollar Tree. But I quickly discovered that the introductory set didn’t have all of the shapes I needed for my upper level students.
So, I ended up creating a set of shape posters and flashcards that includes the basic shapes as well as parallelogram and trapezoid. This provided me with all of the shapes I needed without having to buy another set of flashcards for those two shapes.
I don’t actually use a whiteboard, but I constantly use the backs of my laminated flashcards as mini dry erase boards. I write math problems, word families, and other random information that’s important to the lesson.
Best Props for Level 1 and Level 2
I purchased this set from Amazon. It includes both uppercase and lowercase letters, and this is essential for your students because they need to be able to see both forms of the letter. I used to use these in every Level 1 class, and many of my Level 2 classes.
Level 1 Flashcards
This set of flashcards corresponds with all of the MC and iMC (or NMC) content in Level 1. I wanted my young learners to have the visual connection to many of the abstract concepts they learn in this level, so I created this bundle to fill that need!
With over 480 alphabet cards, vocabulary, sight words, and basic sentence frames, this set is perfect for every Level 1 lesson.
The kids love the large, bright images, and I love the fact that the flashcards correspond with the content. And since the cards only contain one word and an image, they’re not confusing for our beginning learners.
Level 2 Flashcards
They are so easy to keep organized because each card has the level and unit number. You simply grab the ones you need! covering an array of concepts that ESL students will need to know and understand to be successful. I use this set ALL the time!
Many of the cards in this set, I use for PreVIP extension or Level 3 remediation. Because these cards are labeled by level and unit, they are easy to keep organized. Overall, this set is one of my favorites!
Best Props for Levels 3, 4, 5
Level 3 Flashcards
These flashcards cover all the topics that Level 3 VIPKid students will encounter in Units 1-12 and include sight words, grammar concepts, math skills, sentence frames, and vocabulary cards. I use these with all of my Level 3 classes to supplement learning.
I have also found these to be extremely helpful when I need to extend lessons for some of my more precocious Level 2 students or some of my Level 4 students that need a bit of intervention. They are so easy to keep organized since they include the Level and unit number on every card! I simply print, laminate, and sort.
Level 4 Flashcards
Divided into units, this set is perfect for this vocabulary heavy level. Many of the images are actual photos that coordinate with the topics. I love this set so much!!
Once learners get past level 4, they’re typically comfortable reading, and they are definitely becoming more confident in their conversational skills.
At this point they just need a lot of extension and specific language correction. But, through level 4 there should be supplemental props used in every class.
Level 5 Flashcards
Once learners get past level 4 and move into level 5, they’re typically comfortable reading, and they’re definitely more confident in their conversational skills.
However, Level 5 has a heavy focus on writing to correlate with the Common Core State Standards and the middle school writing expectations in China. The 290+ vocabulary, sentence frames, grammar, and math skills cards in this set of Level 5 flashcards are perfect for helping students understand the more abstract concepts introduced at this point and utilize this new information to increase the complexity of their writings.
That’s it! Those are the best VIPKid props for your classroom. They are the ones I use daily in my own classroom, and ones that I truly believe will be an asset to your teaching environment.
If you want to read more about VIPKid, you can check out these posts.