Stickers make a great reward for students. You could buy some stickers of popular characters as a reward in and of itself or you can give out general stickers (stars work well) that students can collect to then gain a bigger reward at the end of the semester. You can even get stickers that include some English so you can sneak in some learning haha.
Stamp sets can be used in a similar way. They can be used for rewards like the stickers as something immediate or part of a longer-term reward system. Try to get stamp sets that you can customize so you can add your own text or a date.
You can even use the stamps as a give method for marking work. Remember to get a stamp set that is easily refillable with ink.
Let’s face it, kids are messy and hygiene is not their top priority. As a teacher, you’ll be handling multiple books and stationary that have been passed around by these kids that may or may not have washed their hands after using the washroom. In China, this can often be worse as the school washroom rarely have soap in my experience, which is why I also keep some hand sanitizer handy.
We recommend you get the small bottles that have a clip that you can attach it to your belt or bag, so you will always have some Hand Sanitizer close by. You can always buy a bigger bottle that you can use to fill up the smaller bottle. In addition, try to get some scented Hand Sanitizer and the students will actively seek you out after the washroom to put on some of the nice smelling Hand Sanitizer.
Jenga Blocks are great to use as a means to a range of activities.
Notebooks are a multi-purpose teaching aid and can be used in a variety of ways. The first way is to write out your lesson plans in full that you can refer back to in class and also as a journal; this is something Fanny talks about in her Lesson Planning video. Keeping a lesson journal will help you keep track of what you covered in your class, what activities work or need to be improved and other observations about the students in general.
Click on this link to see Fanny’s detailed explanation.
I personally like to use notebooks that are on a ring-binder as the book doesn’t close if you leave it open and you can easily rip pages out in case you need some extra paper in class.
Portable Voice Amplifier with Mic
Having a classroom full of 50+ students can be loud. As the teacher and leader of the class, you need to have the biggest voice. I recommended buying a Portable Voice Amplifier with Mic.
If you have a quiet well-behaved class it can still be a worry that the students at the back of the class can’t hear you clearly, so with one of these you can save your throat and make yourself heard.
There’s a wide range of these devices with some that are high-end digital amps with wireless headsets which are great for university lecturers, but as a primary school teacher, I prefer the cheap and cheerful variety as I don’t have to worry about them being broken by grabby hands.
What you want to look for is ones that are quick charging with a long lasting battery that has a strap or waistband clip. You can use either a lapel clip mic, technically known as a lavalier microphone, or a headset. I prefer a clip mic but they tend to be the more expensive option.
I highly recommend getting a Portable Voice Amplifier with Mic to aid you in teaching and your students in learning.
In the hands of a teacher, post-its can be a great teaching tool and can be used in a variety of ways.
Firstly, post-its are great for keeping an abridged version of your lesson plan at hand. When I first started teaching, I would put bullet points of each stage of my class on a post-it and stick it next to my board for easy reference.
Secondly, they are a great way to discreetly slip students corrections for any speaking errors etc. without disrupting an activity.
Thirdly, they can be used in a variety of learning games and activities.
One of my favorites is writing some vocabulary words on a post-it then stick it on the students’ forehead. They then have to go around the room asking other students questions to determine what the vocabulary word is.
Post-its have so many uses. They are great to have to hand in your desk.
A smartphone is a multi-purpose tool for teachers. My smartphone is often my back-up for if the computer isn’t working and I need a lesson in a pinch. I have a folder of easy songs that I can just board the lyrics and get the students to learn the songs. I have songs on a variety of topics so I can group them together with vocabulary under the same name. For example, I could put together a lesson on-the-fly about parts of the body. Then go over the vocabulary and then learn songs like “Hokey pokey”, “Head Shoulder, Knees and Toes” etc.
Another use is to record parts of the lesson with video or pictures. I like to take pictures of the kids doing activities and use them in future review classes and such. I can ask the kids what they’re doing etc.
It’s also useful to record students that are misbehaving so you can show it to their head/homeroom teacher or parents to discuss and make a plan to address the problem.
I’d choose a brand that is durable, lightweight, with a decent camera and expandable memory so you can easily move around the files on a memory card. Since I’m in China I’d recommend a Chinese brand like Xiaomi or Huawei. I have Huawei P10 and it fits the bill for a great price.
Toy Clocks are great to use as a means to teach time.
USB Flash Drive Sticks & External Hard Drives
We live in the age of the Internet with most places now having access to cloud based storage but in China this is not often the case. In reality the Internet connections, especially in schools, can be sketchy so the best course of action to use a computer in class is to have your teaching materials on a USB flash drive.We recommend you get a solid metal USB flash drive stick, like the ones in the links we’ve put below the video.
Don’t go for the cutesy USBs shaped like cartoons as they tend to break easily. With the metal USB stick, make sure that it has a hole at the end so you can put it on a key ring/chain for easy carry and if possible get a USB that is waterproof and shock proof. The whole point of this USB is to have a USB that is consistently reliable, durable and usable in an inconsistent school. The USD doesn’t need to have a large memory capacity. Between 8gb-16gb is enough to house a HD movie, some songs and some PPTs and they’re quite cheap so you can buy a few for when you inevitably lose them.
Losing USBs brings me to my next point: Don’t keep all of your teaching resources on one USB! If you lose that USB, you’ve lost ALL your hard work. I recommend buying a USB external hard drive that you can transfer your files to your USB flash drive stick as you need them. This also keeps your resources away from the potential damaging effects of virus that you can sometimes contract from the school computers.
One of the worst things that can happen in a class is that your whiteboard makers run out of ink. It’s always best to keep some spare. Try to have a variety of colours and be consistent in your colour use when writing (i.e black for general text, blue/green for target language and red for errors). Remember to use a magnetic board cleaner you can keep stuck on your board for easy access or choose markers that have board erasers on the end.