Classroom Tool: Props
Call me cheesy, but I love a good prop! Sometimes the best way to bring a story or a lesson to life is to illustrate it with props. Why else do you think “Show and Tell” was such a highlight in elementary school? The “tell” isn’t always enough. There is something about pulling out an item from your bag of tricks to excite an audience. It breaks up the mundane routine and is a perfect connector!
When using props:
■ Put thought into it ahead of time. Don’t look around your living room the night before class to try to find something that might work into your lesson plan. Look on Pinterest, brainstorm with colleagues and put thought into the props you use.
■ Use them as a teaser. Give your students a reason to be at school tomorrow! End your class with a prop teaser. They’ll be intrigued and wonder how it relates to tomorrow’s class.
■ Have it set up in your classroom. Whether you’re teaching anatomy and have a skeleton next to you or a typewriter to teach the evolution of technology—having props already set up in the room before your students walk in is a great way to get them curious and involved.
■ You don’t have to be elaborate. Maybe you’re teaching about a certain decade so you bring in an item or piece of clothing from that era. Whatever props you decide to include, you don’t have to go overboard. They don’t have to be expensive or over the top.
Props are meant to enhance a class, not make it. You don’t have to put a lot of money behind them, but sometimes they can make a huge difference. Illustrations with props are great for your kinesthetic and visual learners to learn.
Never underestimate the power of an educator!