I teach A LOT of trials! I have a love/hate relationship with them. It’s how I got started as a teacher – I taught nearly 70 trials in my first full month of teaching! If you’re a new teacher, I highly recommend getting certified for trials, then taking EVERY workshop available on them to get some bookings (I love Justin’s workshop!). But the no-shows can cost you, and there’s a lot of repetition involved. You also have to be good on the fly – they can change what trial you’re booked for even after you’re in the classroom!
I keep a specific “prop box” for trial classes – it has all my go-to props for the most common trials taught. Since there’s a lot of overlap, I keep one box ready for all my younger trial students, and since the higher level trials are not quite so prop-dependant, I make sure I have a couple things I can pull out on the rare occasion I teach anything higher than a level4 trial.
My box includes fun props like silly glasses, a puppet, a light-up microphone and some stuffed animals (monkey, snake and Dino). I tend to grab flashcards haphazardly and I found I wished my “P” flashcard didn’t have a picture of a pig on it, and “T” has a proud… tooth? Some kids aren’t quite ready for instructions that don’t match what they are learning. Plus, pulling out A,B,C from a flashcard deck is easy – but pulling out M,P,S and T… and replacing them each time… was becoming a chore.
I could do better!
I mostly use the animal flashcards on page one – for both the animal being taught and the phonics section, but more advanced students I pull out the second set of cards and teach extra vocabulary. I use the clipart on page three either as a reward system (cut out with magnets on the back) or to extend (you’ll find apples, peaches and bananas never mentioned, but in many pictures in the slides!).
Now my precious alphabet flashcards can stay in the right order, but I always have the M, S, T and P flashcards ready to go in my trial prop box! Now if only I could find a stuffed parrot…
As always, my free printable are available for use in the classroom and for personal use only.