Simple Summer Science: Fun with Lollipops!

Have fun this summer and explore the scientific method with a lollipop science experiment!

It's officially summer here (and I hope it is where you are too)! I'm trying to keep my own kids busy this summer, like many of you, so I decided some simple summer science experiments could be a super fun way to pass the time and sneak in learning {sorry kids- your mom's a teacher!}.  My own children are younger, so I used this experiment as a great way to introduce a basic scientific method and show them how you can conduct an experiment.

Have fun this summer and explore the scientific method with a lollipop science experiment!

Read about this fun experiment and grab my Scientific Method Flip Book Freebie over at
All About 3rd Grade!

Use this Scientific Method Flip Book FREEBIE to guide your students with ANY experiment!


Teach From Home with VIPKID

Find out why I LOVE teaching from home with VIPKID!  Learn a little about the company, what you do and the pros and cons of working part time from home.

About 7 months ago, I decided I just needed to get back into the teaching world.  I mean, I love being a stay at home mom and I kinda felt like I never left since I'm still really involved with trying to stay up to date with all my teacher and TpT friends, taking courses online for my Gifted certification and creating lots of resources that I wished I could have used in my own classroom.  But, I wasn't actually teaching kids anymore.  Well, except for my own (constantly)! #teacherkidproblems

Right at that time, another teacher in a teacher group I am in on Facebook started talking about how she was now teaching from home (very part time) and loving it!  I was immediately interested.  Work from home teaching- ummm that sounds awesome to me!  Work part time- yep, sounds awesome too. Earn some extra money for the fam- love it.  I did my own research (thank you Google) on the company and 99% of what I found about VIPKID was totally positive and it was legit!  I knew I could do this and ROCK it!

Already sound great?  Click here to apply!

So, I know you're probably wondering, "What the heck is VIPKID? I keep seeing these Facebook ads and think it's a scam."  (I know you thought that too, because if you're a teacher I know you're seeing these ads ALL the time- lol!) Anyway, VIPKID is a Beijing-based online teaching company (they also now have an office in San Francisco) that started in 2013.  In January 2016 they had a few hundred teachers, now in May 2017 they have over 6,000 teachers and 60,000 students and they don't plan to stop growing anytime soon!

VIPKID's mission is to provide children in China an America elementary school education. Their one-on-one immersion program is based on the US's Common Core State Standards curriculum. Children from ages 4-12 years old are able to have classes with a native English speaker without every having to leave the comfort of their home. They use a flipped classroom method that has been proven to increase student's understanding as well as foster critical thinking skills.

VIPKID is becoming more and more popular.  They have had write-ups in multiple news organizations. Read this article from Bloomberg Technology or this one from the South China Morning Post or this from Tech Crunch.

Start your application process by clicking here!

I submitted my application (simple process online).  The requirements to be considered are that you must have a Bachelor's degree (in anything), a North American accent, and one year of experience teaching or working with children. They emailed me about a day later asking me to schedule an online video interview that also included a 10 minute demo lesson (they provide this ahead of time). You go online in the portal to schedule the interview.  Now, the hiring process is probably one of the most tedious things about VIPKID- it's a process, but it's worth it.  After your interview and demo lesson, you have some training and teacher prep.  This is mostly videos (pretty good ones too), showing you examples of lessons, etc.  There is a quick test and after you pass that you are ready to schedule your Mock Lesson.  This is a full 25 minute lesson that you will teach to an evaluator (pretending to be a 5 year old child with little English speaking ability).  Now, don't worry- you get this lesson well in advance and can practice to your heart's content.  I suggest videoing yourself and watching it back to see how you can improve. After your mock lesson you will get feedback from your evaluator and either be asked to do a second mock lesson or hired.  I've heard that most people are asked to do two mock lessons.

Once you are hired you are offered a base pay of $7-$9 per class with the opportunity to earn up to $2 in bonuses per class. Each class is 25 minutes, so that means you can earn $14-$22 per hour. VIPKID also offers additional bonuses like new VIPKID sign up incentives, referral bonuses and other types of fun bonus opportunities that change month to month.  It's always exciting to hear the new ways and contests they think of to help you get excited about teaching and allow you to earn even more money! (#iwanttohavefunandallthebonuses)  The company deposits your salary directly in your bank account by the 15th of each month. Contracts are for 6 months at a time, so this doesn't have to be a long-term commitment. I'm currently on my 2nd contract. You're offered a raise after your 2nd contract.

You get to set your own schedule each week and the parents book the teachers. As the kids are mostly in school, VIPKID happens after school. The peak times for classes are 6-10pm Beijing time.  Beijing time is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 12 hours ahead during Daylight's Savings time. This makes class times from 5am-9am or 6am-10am EST, depending on the time of year, everyday. Plus, anytime after 8 or 9pm on Friday or Saturday nights (weekends in Beijing). During summertime, in July and August, peak times are basically everyday from 9pm-10am.

All you need to do the job are a computer, webcam and microphone. You aren't required to wear any kind of uniform since you're an independent contractor, but they do prefer you to sport their signature color-orange. That's what I wear most of the time since it's super easy to just throw on my orange shirt right before class.

Find out why I love teaching AT HOME with VIPKID!

The company makes all the lessons as Powerpoints. You don't have to do any lesson planning at all. You simply review the lessons beforehand so you have an idea of what you will be teaching and gather any small props you may want to have on hand. VIPKID has their own video platform and Teacher App and it is great! You appear in one corner of the screen, your student is in the top corner and you can both see and interact with the Powerpoint lesson.

Best of all is the kids!  99% of the students I've taught are adorable, hardworking and smart.  They like to have fun, so you get to be silly, sing songs, smile, use props and toys and they LOVE it!

Well, if you're like me you might like lists. So, lets talk about the PROS and the CONS of working with VIPKIDS!

  • Flexible schedule 
  • Set your own schedule
  • Work from home
  • Perfect job for SAHM teachers, retired teachers or teachers that want to earn more money
  • You have the option to work while traveling
  • Easy and fun
  • Supportive company
  • Kids are adorable
  • Well-paying

  • Time- early morning/late night hours
  • Strict teacher cancellation policy
  • Only part time (full time would be very strange hours and difficult)
  • Completely dependent on the internet 
  • Hours aren't guaranteed
  • Can be tiring (with the early/late hours)

Obviously, I think the pros outweigh the cons.  Every single job has the things you don't love about it. But, ultimately, I really don't mind getting up at 5:30 a.m to teach the majority of the mornings.  And that's saying something because I am a serious night owl and NOT a morning person at all!

If you think you might like working for VIPKID,
Teach from home with VIPKID. VIPKID is the perfect job for stay at home moms, retired teachers or teachers wanting to earn more money.

This post contains my own referral links which will earn me a commission if you become an active teacher with VIPKID.  You will also have this opportunity when you become a teacher. If you do decide to use my link, I am happy to coach you through the application process and your first few weeks teaching! I'm also always here to answer any questions you have about VIPKID. :)


Guess My Card: A Math Game for any Operation

Guess My Card is an easy to set up math game that kids can play to practice any operation: addition, subtraction, multiplication or division!

Challenge your child to create and solve math riddles in an easy to set up card game! With two or more players, draw from a deck of playing cards to find your numbers. Then, take turns inventing clues that will help others figure out what cards you have. Use an assortment of the basic math operations to help your child practice division, multiplication, addition, or subtraction. By articulating these problems and using backwards thinking, your child will improve his critical thinking and math reasoning skills.

What You Need:

  • Two decks of playing cards (with the face cards removed)
  • Minimum of two players

What You Do:

  1. Explain to the players that they will alternate between being a clue-giver and a guesser.
  2. One player should deal 6 cards to each player and place the remaining cards in between the players.
  3. After examining the cards, the player who's up first must decide which cards he wants to involve in his clue. Then, he must present the riddle to help the guesser figure out what cards the player has in his hand (e.g. the product of two of my cards is 70). If you're playing with more than two people, have the rotation of clue givers and guessers go around in a circle of play.
  4. Next, the guesser has about 5 seconds to guess the value of the cards.
  5. If the guesser is correct, the clue-giver should give the involved cards to the guesser. Players should start a "win pile" of the cards they've won.
  6. If he doesn't guess correctly after five seconds, the clue-giver should give another clue involving different cards.
  7. If you're playing with more than two players, after the second clue has been given, any of the other players are allowed to chime in and guess the value of the clue cards.
  8. The clue-giver should then draw how ever many replacement cards he needs, plus an additional card which he should add to his win pile as a reward for giving a good clue.
  9. Keep playing until the two decks have been depleted.
  10. Have the players count the cards in their win piles. The player who has collected the most cards by the end of the game wins!

If you like using math games in your class, you might also like these FUN games to practice rounding!  Plus, using TASK CARDS to play Scoot is another super fun way to get busy and have fun practicing all kinds of math!

Guess My Card is an easy to set up math game that kids can play to practice any operation: addition, subtraction, multiplication or division!

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