From Eikaiwa, to ALT, when teaching the younger crowd, having a few handy, fun props can spice up a lesson, or catch the attention of the most ADHD afflicted child. Teachers in Japan are lucky and have access to that treasure trove of surprisingly well made, useful items within the humble 100 yen store.
Here is a list of five, fun, 100 yen items to add to your teaching kit.
Mini Whiteboards and Marker Pen Kits
Kids love the chance to scribble on a whiteboard, and adding one, or several, to activities in the class is a soft-power solution to increasing their engagement. Whiteboards are great for letter formation, spelling practice or word races. In a pinch, they can be transformed into a cheapy board game, or used as a carrot for reluctant learners who get the chance to free draw in the final five minutes of a lesson.
Available only in summer, so stock up when you can, beach balls are versatile and easy to pack. Review or drill new vocabulary and phonics, while playing volleyball, hot potato, and time-bomb. Practice question and reply conversation as students throw the ball around the classroom. Stick flash cards on them and roll them at babies. Take the kids outside for a short soccer match to refresh their motivation. Beach balls can be applied to so many situations because they are soft, safe and fun, if slightly prone to leaks.
Another great tool to catch the attention of busy little brains, fly swatters can be quietly added to any class, couple of kids, or even just one child versus sensei, who have trouble sitting still. Slam competitions with vocabulary cards on the desk before combatants, or, for even more movement and action, placed around the room, extends a normal game of karuta, while exercising a child’s natural desire to hit things. Teachers will need to be vigilant, however, with some students that they don’t swat their neighbour instead. Fly swatters can also be made into fishing pole, with some string, magnets and paperclip on your flashcards – all items found easily within the same store. Please note that while these are lesson props, they should not be used for actually killing insects, as fly residue on cards is nasty.
Memorisation Cards On Rings
Seen often with high school students revising words and formulas on the train, a teacher can find it a time saver to have hundreds of identical, rectangular, paper cards already cut, and kept safely on a ring. Older students love games like BOOM, for spelling and meaning review, and they can be quickly turned into concentration sets for younger students, or stuck around the room in a scavenger hunt style activity. Some teachers may find it helpful to give their students spelling homework on rings, which can also be bought in packs separately, so they too can flip word cards while waiting on the train.
The 100 yen store is the best place in the world to buy stickers, which are the best tools in the world for bribing, encouraging and rewarding students of all ages. It doesn’t seem to make sense, especially as a teacher of younger students, that the promise of getting something shiny from the teacher’s sticker stash works, but it does. 100 yen shop stickers come in large sheets, for generous giving, and cute designs that are always changing.
The 100 yen store is the teachers’ best friend, with aisles full of toys, and handy items to add to any teacher kit. Make sure to leave a comment about some of the best finds you’ve made in a 100 yen store, and how you’ve used them!