The Real VIP in VIPKid Feedback: A Feedback Panda Overview

This is a post about a third party software. No, it’s not an ad. No, they didn’t ask me to write it. No, I’m not getting anything for it. In fact, no one at that company knows I am writing this. I hope they don’t get mad that I used their logo. 🙂 Someone on Facebook asked, “What’s the one thing you wish you had known as a new teacher?” and this was my answer.  I’m writing this blog because I’m so in love with Feedback Panda, and I didn’t REALLY understand what they offered when I was a new teacher.  So, disclaimers aside, read on…

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If I’m honest, I have to admit that I’m a little bit stubborn. I have always been self-sufficient, and I want to do things for myself. I don’t like to ask for help.

Also, if you’ve been reading my VIPKid blog, you’ll know that I take pride in my class feedback. I think of it as a teacher’s virtual backpack notes. While I appreciate the need for simple language, I want my students’ parents to have a detailed summary of our class with real, meaningful feedback about their child.

So – put these two things together, and you’ll see why starting out, I wanted to do feedback my way. I thought I had it under control.

And I did … sort of. Before each class, I typed up a detailed summary of the class that I could then customize after the class. I included any relevant notes from my last class, and I included details from parent ratings and any upcoming classes we had booked. It was awesome. And it was time consuming. The more students I taught, the more difficult it was to dig back through my word files and find what I was looking for, and I found myself with a wish list of things that would make my life easier.

I wish I could…

  • Easily (and quickly) see what I had written about this student in my last few classes without having to flip back and forth between different word documents.
  • Find that last template that I had typed up for the “Fun with my Friends” lesson. Did I teach it last week with Bau Bau or two weeks ago with Leo?
  • See all the rewards that I had used with a student all in one place.
  • Re-use basic material from my feedback without trying to remember to change all the “she’s” to “he’s” and then back again.
  • Have a centralized place to keep notes about what my students like and don’t like. Cat-lover? Hates find-a-star? Little brother?

The more I thought about it, I wondered if there was something out there that already did this. As a new teacher, I’d heard about Feedback Panda before, but I thought it was just a service that provided summaries of each lesson that you could copy and paste in your feedback. I wasn’t interested. Sure, it was only a small fee each month, but why pay for something that I could manage myself?

As I started thinking more and more about my wish list, I decided to get a free trial and see if it checked any of the boxes.  I was astounded when it checked all of them. It literally does every single thing listed above. And what I didn’t realize before is that while you DO have access to a template library, you can also build and save your OWN templates, which is exactly what I had been trying to do manually.

You can build a student profile for each student and include nicknames, general feedback and more. If you use the Chrome web browser extension and start creating feedback from within the teacher portal, it automatically pulls in the student’s unique ID, lesson, and more.

Here’s an example of one of my regular students. Every time I look at it, I wish I had my notes and feedback entered for the 8 times I taught her BEFORE I found Feedback Panda!

Screenshot Rosie Feedback panda

Once you’ve created your general templates, customizing them for the specific class is SO EASY. It pulls in the template that you choose, and then you simply add your notes.  Here’s an excerpt from a level 4 assessment that I taught this morning:

My Template:

Grammar: [name] completed all of the sentences correctly and used the missing words appropriately. She had a clear mastery of the words how/where/when/who/what/why.

My Completed Feedback:

Grammar: Vivian completed all of the sentences correctly and used the missing words appropriately. She had a clear mastery of the words how/where/when/who/what/why. At the end of the lesson, I asked Vivian to create her own sentences using these words, and she did this easily. We then used the words where/who/what to have a more detailed conversation and extend upon her project. When asked WHERE she would go to visit the mountains, she said she would choose tall mountains, and that there were none near her home. When asked WHO she would go with, she said her family (her parents and three year old brother.) When asked WHAT she would do there, she said she would take a picnic.

When you start creating feedback for a student, this is what the console looks like:

FB Emma feedback

You can see that it has the student’s basic information on the left, and below that, you can see the previous reward systems I used with her, the current lesson/template, and prior feedback and notes. You customize your feedback on the right, and then can add signatures, or smart sentences that you use regularly. You can even save your teacher-to-teacher notes. When you expand your prior feedback, you’ll be able to see if the parent left you feedback so you can thank them for it in your next class.

The software can do much, much more than that. I know that it supports multiple teaching platforms, and I’m sure there are many features I haven’t yet discovered.  But as I said at the beginning, this is not a paid ad for Feedback Panda. It’s merely a testimonial to why I signed up for a subscription after just three days of my free trial had passed. I knew immediately that I needed this in my life, and I wanted to share how I am personally using it!

For me, what sealed the deal wasn’t the saved time (which is great.) It was having so much information at my fingertips. I am a data girl. I want to know as much information about my students and classes as possible because I think that will make me a better teacher. If Feedback Panda can make that happen, it’s clear that they are the real VIP!

I hope you found this helpful.  If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. I’m not an expert, but I’ll do my best to help based on my own experience!

Happy teaching!

PS- Here is a walkthrough I did that shows how I use Feedback Panda in action…

Feedback Panda in Action

Enjoy!

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VIPKid – When Teaching is “A Lot”

This morning, I sit surrounded by props. Don’t get me wrong, I always love to use props; however, this morning there is an exceptionally large number of them. I have toys and magnets. I have every objective sentence and word printed out. I have google slides plus a third reward system. I have teaching aids. Why so many props?

I’m waiting for my first student of the day, and I need to be ready for anything!

This young man is smart. He can read well, but as my husband sometimes says when describing his younger self… “He is a lot.”

My first lesson with this young man culminated in him scribbling out the pages so I couldn’t see anything.  When I disabled his mouse, he wrote in the chatroom “NONONONONO” for the rest of the class. He did participate, but it was distracting to say the least!

My second class, I was ready. I had something printed for every slide, so young man – scribble away!  He wasn’t going to make it that easy on me though. In that class, he picked a word and just kept shouting it.  “Bike! Bike! Bike!” Obviously, I couldn’t stay on the bike slide the entire lesson, so I did the only thing I could think of doing.  I shouted back the next word “Car! Car! Car! Car!”  By some small miracle, he started repeating that! We went through most of the remaining lesson this way, and the only downside was my husband (asleep downstairs) waking up to a resounding chorus of “Round! Oval! Round! Oval!”

So why do I share this story today? I supposed it’s just to say “hang in there.” Not every student will respond in the same way. Sometimes, personalities will clash, or a student needs a much different level of engagement. And it’s ok.

I’ve been teaching for 77 days, and in that time I’ve taught 55 different students in over 100 classes. I’ve been amazed at how easy it’s been to connect with most of them, and so this is a challenge, and one I’ll willingly accept. And if you are paired with a student that you’re struggling to reach, check out the VIPKid workshop schedule.  There are likely to be workshops that address the exact challenges you’re having.

Of course, if I can be of any assistance, please let me know. If you are already a VIPKid teacher, feel free to message me here.

If you are looking for a mentor and someone to help you get hired at VIPKid, I’d be happy to help. Here’s my referral link.

I sometimes like to think that this boy could grow up to be as successful as my husband is. At some point, my husband learned to channel his energy and uses it to work for him. If I can help in one small way to teach this boy to do the same, I would be honored.

Happy teaching!

props galore

Sample VIPKid Class Feedback – Struggling Student

“class feedback + parent feedback = collaboration in the classroom!”

As I explained in my recent blog post VIPKid Class Feedback – “Virtual Backpack Notes”, I consider class feedback a critical component of my teaching.

I previously provided Sample VIPKid Class Feedback – New Student, High Performing to show how I use my standard template to give feedback to a strong student, but I wanted to provide an example of a student who did well, but struggled more.

This class also resulted in a 5-apple feedback with a specific request back from the parent. They said, “Thank you for your comments on {Student Name.} The teacher said that {Student Name} was confused by the teacher’s questions, and that’s because he cannot understand. {Student}’s problem now is that he often can’t understand full sentences. I hope the teacher will practice the dialogue with him in class next time.” This is a great example of how class feedback + parent feedback = collaboration in the classroom!

If you have questions about this feedback, or VIPKid in general, let me know in the comments! If you are looking for more personalized answers, I’d love to help. My referral link is a great way to find a mentor, and we both benefit!

Sample Feedback

**Overall Feedback**

It was great to teach {Student} again today! Today we learned about people in a family, and we practiced the word “mom.” He did a great job identifying pictures of moms and using the word in a complete sentence “She is my mom.  She is his mom. She is her mom.” He is very involved with the slides and follows directions so well! We learned the word “talk” and used it in a sentence “My mom talks on the phone. He talks with his friends.” He was a little confused with one of the activities that asked “Who do you talk with?” and the options were a man, a woman, a lamp, and a violin. When I broke it down, he understood that you can’t talk with a lamp or a violin. I think the choices might have just confused him. We used the word “her” and used it in a sentence “This is her phone.” He did great on the exercise that incorporated the word “her” with previous vocabulary (dog, headphones, teacher, and mom.) GREAT JOB! He did well blending sounds in our phonics lesson (l+eg= leg, b+eg=beg, k+eg=keg, w+eg=weg) and even did great at the rhyming exercise that sometimes confuses students! We learned about “this” and “that.” We also reviewed two items from my last class with him: “What must I follow in class? I must follow the rules in class.” and “How do you behave in class? I behave well in class.” He did a great job in class (and definitely behaved well!) He is a five-star student!

**Homework**

Within the limits of a computer screen, it’s difficult to explain that “this” is something close while “that” is something further away. He seemed to understand, but if you could practice at home, that will help reinforce it. Put two of the same objects (for example, apples) in a room – one close and one far away. Practice identifying THIS apple (close) and THAT apple (far.) Then once he correctly identifies the correct word using two of the same object, practice with different objects. (This mouse, that tree.)

**Next Steps**

Thank you for the five-apple rating after our last class! I really appreciate it! My goal is to have positive (5-apple) feedback on every class I teach, so if you have time, I would appreciate your feedback on this class as well. I would love to teach {Student} again, and I have this same time available in two weeks. Of course, you can also follow my teacher profile to see other available times. Thank you so much for the opportunity to teach your son!

 

Sample VIPKid Class Feedback – New Student, High Performing

If you are looking for an easy cut-and-paste template to use for feedback, you won’t find it here! As you will see below, the feedback I leave for my students is extremely customized.

As you may have read in my previous post VIPKidClass Feedback – “Virtual Backpack Notes”, I think that feedback is one of the most important parts of the class experience.

In the below example, this was feedback from my very first lesson with this student. She was extremely smart and did great in class!

Following the class, I received a five-apple rating for this class, and another five-apple rating in a subsequent class with the parent commenting, “Feedback after class is very attentive; I hope to have a long-term class with Amelia to help {Student}’s rapid growth and upgrading!”

This class feedback follows the general flow of:

  • Overall Feedback
  • Homework
  • Next Steps

But it is personalized to this specific student and this specific class.

I hope you find this example helpful. If you have any questions, please add them in the comments below. If you are looking for a mentor, I’m ready to help! Here’s my referral link to get started!

Sample Feedback:

**Overall Feedback**

Wow! {Student} was a GREAT student today! I can’t believe that she is new to VIPKid because she did so well in the class. She is a good reader, and has a very strong foundation.

Today we learned about the face, and she did great at identifying the parts of the face (face, eyes, nose, mouth, ears.) We practiced answering the question, “What do you do with your eyes?” The answer we were practicing was “I see with my eyes.” She was able to repeat this, but she wanted to answer with the word “look” instead. This is still accurate, and it shows that she grasped the meaning, but keep practicing the word “see” for a more versatile vocabulary!

We practiced letter sounds for B, M, R, and S. She clearly knew the alphabet and already knew all four of the words on the slides (bat, mat, rabbit, and snake.)

There will be many phonics lessons with VIPKid. When we are practicing combining sounds, you can let {Student} know that she doesn’t have to say the letter. She can just say the sounds. For example, there might be an exercise that has “b-at. bat.” Because she’s so good at identifying her letters, she would say “b. b-at, bat.” This isn’t necessary since these types of exercises are all focused on the sounds the letters make, not the letters themselves.

She did great with the word “away,” and I was especially impressed with her ability to adapt the conversations in the practice activities. Many students get confused when using pronouns (“Her eyes.” “His eyes.”) and she already has a great head start on this! She also did very well responding in complete sentences!

**Homework**

I think “eyebrow” was a new vocabulary word for her, so continue to practice this with her. With the letters, she pronounced some of the sounds with an “uh” at the end (“buh” instead of “b” or “muh” instead of “mmmmm.”) This will be important as she begins reading more advanced words, so keep practicing with those sounds. (She can listen to them again starting on slide 10 in the playback.) She worked very hard until she repeated them all correctly!

**Next Steps**

{Student}’s enthusiasm and knowledge are sure to make her very successful with VIPKID! I would love to teach {Student} again, and if you would like to book another class with me, I have this same time available in two weeks. We will continue to work on phonics and pronunciation.

I would also appreciate it if you could leave feedback about the class! Getting positive feedback (5-apples) is very important to VIPKid teachers, and any comments you leave will help us continue to adjust to {Student}’s classroom and learning styles.

{Student} did a GREAT job today and I loved teaching her. Thank you!

close up of text
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VIPKid Class Feedback – “Virtual Backpack Notes”

My goal with class feedback is to give the parents the tools they need to extend upon our 25-minute class and help their students with the content throughout the rest of their week.

When my kids were little, every day when they got home from school I would check their backpack for teacher notes. I knew that if they had homework, it would be written on the homework log. If they had behavior issues, they would be noted in their backpack. If there was something important that we needed to work on, it would be on a brightly colored sheet of paper. With VIPKid, we can’t send a note home in their backpack, so class feedback is the next best thing!

I think that feedback is perhaps one of the most important parts of the class. After all, I get 25 or 50 minutes per week with a student.  They spend around 2,000 minutes a week in school, between 3,000-4,000 minutes a week asleep, and the rest (a whopping 4,500+ minutes) with their parents!

My goal with class feedback is to give the parents the tools they need to extend upon our 25-minute class and help their students with the content throughout the rest of their week.

I break my feedback into three parts:

  • Overall Feedback (If I’m doing a unit assessment, I replace this with the headers in the UA.)
  • Homework
  • Next Steps

Overall Feedback

I always start with something positive here. {Student} did great in class today! or {Student} worked very hard in class, and I’m so proud of her progress! I then do a section-by-section review. Before class, I write a basic, customized template for each lesson using Feedback Panda. Usually, I do my feedback quickly before the playback is available to view; however, because I have my rough outline, I remember if there are specifics I need to call out. I always recap any key vocabulary  we learned, and I comment on pronunciation and if they were able to use the sentences correctly. I always call out instances where the student successfully demonstrated their knowledge or was able to extend upon the content. With trial classes, I will usually comment on key things they can expect to see with VIPKid classes. (For example – {Student} did a great job learning to circle and draw lines. You’ll find that many VIPKid classes use this as an activity to help reinforce the lessons we teach, so this skill will serve her well in future classes! I always also end on a positive note. Some people call this the “sandwich” method of feedback where you start and end with positives (the bread) and put the meat (improvement) in between.

Homework

If there are specific things that I think the student needs to practice or review again, I’ll call out the slide and they review it with their student again. Or if I feel the student didn’t understand/comprehend part of the lesson, I’ll also recommend a playback. Otherwise, if a student struggled with any particular concept or word or with a specific classroom behavior (not responding in complete sentences, for example), I’ll call that out here. The point of this section is not to criticize the student; it’s to give parents a way to continue the lesson beyond the classroom. Even when I have a superstar student that blows me away, I always look for something they can practice! Recently, I had a student who was very smart. I actually recommended an adjustment in her placement level. When we were learning about the days of the week, it was a Tuesday, so she struggled to answer questions about the picture, because she knew that today is Tuesday, and the day after Tuesday is Wednesday. So when Friday was circled, she didn’t want to say “Today is Friday,” because it’s not! 🙂 So for this particular student, my homework was to practice answering questions about pictures and answering questions about ‘real life’ to help her identify the difference. I always give them something to work on!

Next Steps

This section is where I talk less about the class and more about our teaching relationship. If a parent previously left parent feedback, I always thank them here, and I will respond to anything they specifically said in their comments or tags, so they know I take their feedback seriously. Likewise, if they are a repeat student, I thank them for booking another class with me. I always check to see if they have another class already booked with me. If so, I will end this section by saying, “I look forward to seeing {student} on Thursday!” If not, I let them know if I have the same time available next week or in two weeks. And I always ask them for a five-apple rating and comments.

Here are a couple of real examples of feedback that I’ve sent to parents. In both cases, they resulted in 5-apple ratings with comments.

If you have questions, please ask me in the comments! If you find this helpful and are looking for a mentor, my referral link is HERE!

VIPKid and Daylight Savings Time (Fall Back)

I was concerned – what happens to my schedule since China doesn’t observe daylight savings time?

This morning, I set my clocks back an hour. As a VIPKid teacher, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day since I’m not naturally much of a morning person. Now, those 5 am classes will FEEL like 6 am classes, and I’m so excited!

Since this is my first time change with VIPKid, I was concerned – what happens to my schedule since China doesn’t observe daylight savings time? In short, nothing happened.

VIPKid takes into account the change in US time zones prior to opening bookings. So if I had a 6:30 am class booked last night when I went to sleep, this morning, it was still booked at 6:30 am; the only difference was that it was light outside! I did notice that the time slots immediately before the change were labeled in the Teacher App with a “DST” label, so if you teach overnight, you’ll see a 1:00 am DST, 1:30 am DST, 1:00 am, and 1:30 am times available for booking. It’s like you have a time-turner! But for me, I teach later in the mornings, so there was really no impact.

What has changed?

  • My bookings are a little low this coming week, and I assume that’s because of the shift in my availability. Last week I had 14 classes booked with 3 of them short notice. As of Sunday morning, I only have 9 classes booked so far for the coming week. So it’s a little light, and I noticed that my 7 am (central) time slots are conspicuously empty. After all, that’s now 9 pm in Beijing, so that’s a little late for lower level students to start a lesson.
  • Some of the students that had expressed an interest in times that I typically don’t open are now able to book classes with me.
  • I have begun getting some priority booking requests for early time slots that I would not normally open.

So what am I doing differently?

  • I’m opening up more (and earlier) time slots! For me, this is a great opportunity to stay on the same physical schedule but get more bookings! I work full time from my home, and I start work at 8:00 am sharp. Because of this, I generally open up a 5:30 am regular timeslot and short notice time slots at 6:00, 6:30, and 7:00. I leave 7:00 – 7:30 open to do my feedback. Now, I’ve opened time slots beginning at 5:00 am (and am considering 4:30.) I’ll accept 4:30 priority bookings from my regulars, but I’m still a little cringey about the thought of setting my alarm for 3:30. 🙂
  • I’ve let some of my regulars who are missing know about the time change and asked them to let me know if they are looking for different times available to book.
  • I’m pursuing my Level 4 certification. I assume kids in China are much like kids here – the older they are, the later they can stay up. Since I have this certification available, I might as well take advantage of it!
  • I’m enjoying having a little extra daylight during class time!

I hope this helped answer any questions you had about how Daylight Savings Time affects VIPKid class bookings.   If you have other questions, please ask me in the comments below! If you are looking for a mentor to help you get started, please reach out and consider using me as a referral!

accurate alarm alarm clock analogue
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VIPKid Techniques – TPR

Whether you are preparing to interview, planning for your mock class, or looking for ways to improve your teaching effectiveness, TPR is a term you’ll hear over and over through your VIPKid career.

What is TPR?

TPR stands for “Total Physical Response.” In layman’s terms, it’s using gestures and actions to demonstrate words. There are two main types of TPR that you’ll need to use in the VIPKid classroom:

  • Instructional TPR: Instructional TPR includes actions that you don’t want the student to repeat, but that help you let the student know what to do. Examples of common instructional TPR include:
    • Cupping your ear when you want them to speak
    • Making a circle with your finger when you want them to circle
    • Pointing to your mouth when you want them to focus on how your mouth is making a sound
  • TPR: Standard TPR includes motions that you want your student to repeat to help in understanding or memory of a word. Examples include:
    • Standard letter motions (for example, a crooked finger that looks like a snake is used to represent the sssss sound.)
    • Motions that reflect the word you are demonstrating (for example, imitating an elephant trunk with your arm)

Why is TPR important?

  • It’s fun! Especially with younger students, TPR makes learning fun! Kids (and teachers) enjoy fun in the classroom, and TPR is a great way to do it!
  • It helps them understand. If they are struggling with comprehension, actions can help them understand your intended meaning.
  • It helps them remember. I still remember my mom helping me study when I was younger. She would do crazy actions that I might laugh at, but then the next day during my test I would visualize her doing them.

How do I get comfortable using TPR?

It doesn’t always feel natural to use TPR motions.. So how do you get comfortable? You might laugh, but I practiced in the shower. I use video conferencing frequently during my day job, and so I also began using (toned down) TPR on those calls. Anytime I could gesture to illustrate something, I would do so, just to see how it came across on video. If you have kids at home you can practice with, that’s also a great option because you can see how children respond and participate! Whatever option you choose, PRACTICE is the key to becoming comfortable!

I encourage you to watch as many videos as possible to help you get familiar with different TPR techniques.  If I can help in any way, please feel free to contact me or comment below! If you are looking for a mentor to help guide you through the process, feel free to reach out to me and use my referral link to get started.

Good luck!

sunset hands love woman
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