If you have ever seen me present, you know I often use props, toys, and unusual learning materials to emphasize key points, elicit responses from audience members (if you catch the item, you have to give an answer/idea), and add humor to an activity. If you support an inclusive classroom and are looking for some ways to add a little whimsy, try adding items one or two unexpected items to your lessons.
My go-to item is always the rubber chicken (get your own on Amazon!). I buy them in bulk and use them not only as response objects but as desktop fidget toys as well.
I also try to keep a few flying pigs in stock. I might use these to indicate when it is time to change tasks or go to an unplanned activity….as in “we will be going to the assembly when pigs fly”.
Magic wands are also a must. Get them at the dollar store and use them to motivate students to begin work; to tap a rhythm/syllables in a word/numbers on a number line; to create 60-second fairy tales or to simply sprinkle a little magic into an otherwise ho-hum lesson.
And don’t forget to add a costume change or two. A feather boa can be passed from student to student to indicate who’s turn it is to talk. It can be used in classroom skits. It can even be used as a funny form of nonstandard measurement. A ridiculous hat hat can be turned into a “thinking cap”. And a fabulous cape can transform a teacher into a superhero and a child into an unstoppable force, capable of solving any problem or tackling any challenge.
Don’t have the time to go out and assemble such a kit? Make your own with things you find around the house or the classroom. Gather those faux pearls, that colorful wig and that oversized plush orangutan. It’s amazing what a creative teacher can do so even if you are short on chickens and boas, assemble what you do have and pass it on!