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Topic: Teachers?
Message: Posted by: Crowslide (Dec 16, 2009 10:30PM)
I'm looking for magicians that are also school teachers. I'm wondering how you've integrated magic into lessons and curriculum. Or do you just practice on the kids? I'm a middle school teacher and so far I've just brought out the magic when there is a lull in the day.
Message: Posted by: puppeterry (Dec 21, 2009 01:41PM)
In my substituting days, I used magic routines, storytelling, and puppetry as a reward for behavior/achievement ("If you don't kill me, I'll do something cool"). Once, I was lucky enough to work on somebody's unit on optical illusions--that was fun for all of us--and some teacher's worked tall tale units around a planned absence to bring me in as a resource.
Message: Posted by: coupcoupdaddy (Dec 24, 2009 07:27AM)
Bless your heart for being a middle school teacher, crowslide!
Message: Posted by: mrunge (Dec 24, 2009 08:54AM)
My wife is a middle school teacher and each year, at the end of that school year, she gets me to come in and entertain the kids. I'll show up, do a couple of quick effects and then get down to business. I teach them how to juggle and twist balloon animals! I pass out tennis balls to the kids to juggle and they end up all over the place. I then bring out a garbage bag full of pre-blown balloons and they go nuts. The whole day is CRAZY!!!

Mark. :juggle:
Message: Posted by: D. Yoder (Dec 28, 2009 09:14PM)
I teach fifth grade in Lancaster, PA. There are two areas where I incorporate magic into our curriculum.

1. I usually do a unit on magic in the November and December where the students construct a box to hold their magic in (measuring to the quarter inch) and learn up to five magic tricks that they then perform for other children in the school or for residents at a retirement home which is across the street from our school.

Some of the kids learn all five tricks. Others only learn one or two depending on the aptitude and if they get their regular classwork done or not. The important thing for me is that they develop presentation skills of looking at the people they are performing for and are able to project their voice. They have to get "certified" with the trick by me in order to be able to perform it which means they have to have written out a patter for the trick and are able to perform it satisfactorily. All of the tricks have some relationship to math and most are self-working or require minimal skill.

This year I haven't had the time with the kids to do as much with the magic so I'm shooting for going to the retirement home in February. The residents have been great hosts for us when we go in past years. Last year one resident told the kids about seeing Houdini do the needles on thread trick on stage when he was a little kid (the resident is now in his high nineties but his mind is very sharp so I think he really did see Houdini as a four year-old kid).

2. At the end of the year our school district has an end of the year celebration for all of the K3 and K4 programs. This past year I and another teacher met with a group of eight students for several sessions after school and during recess in the weeks prior to the day and taught them some clown and simple magic skills. On the day of the event, we spent two hours entertaining the children and their families. In the past we've focused on balloon twisting skills and face painting, but this past year stayed away from that to have the kids do more interactive things such as tossing a ball and using a parachute which seemed to be a hit. Over the years we have built up a fair amount of clown clothing and props that get reused each year. The district paid for a sub for me and bus transportation for all of us to get and from the event.

Outside of the curriculum, at some point in the year (usually the last day of school before Christmas vacation) I also do a short twenty minute show for the kids in the classroom. I put on my Uncle Yodie hat and step out of being a teacher for a bit which is fun for me and for them.
Message: Posted by: leaycraft (Dec 29, 2009 10:28AM)
I teach HS Science and have incorporated simple vanish/appearances to get their attention and to make points about observation.
When teaching Genetics the appearance and vanish of coins gets them focused on the coins- therefore, 2 heads equates to homozygous, a head and tails heterozygous. Multiple coins enables me to show the possible allele combinations for two traits.


Message: Posted by: yachanin (Jan 18, 2010 05:41PM)
I teach in college and have used magic to introduce the topic of perception. I also do a brief lecture on parapsychology (to contrast it with psychology) and perform a couple mentalism effects.

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: Ba Ba Booey (Feb 2, 2010 03:55PM)
I teach English as a second language at a college. In one of my reading classes, the book has a chapter with the theme of predicting the future/fortune-telling. I do a quick routine for my students which really helps explain the concepts to them, and they seem to be entertained by it, too.
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Feb 11, 2010 04:17PM)
I am a former high school German teacher and also a former elementary school librarian. In my German class I pretty much did the entire patter in German. The professor's nightmare is great for teaching comparatives and superlatives (long, longer, longest) as is multum in parvo. Strat-o-spheres is great for teaching adverbs or prepositions (on top of, on the bottom, in the middle, above, below, between). I use a simple booktest with a dictionary to teach about guide words. I use P&A Silks' "Clarence the Caterpillar" routine to teach about metamorphosis (and sometimes also Dom DeLuise's picture book "Charlie the Caterpillar" as a tie-in). I use the Bongo hat after reading Dr. Seuss's "Bartholomew and the 500 Hats." In my linking rings routine I count the rings in several foreign languages (good for infusing multiculturalism into the classroom) and when I make the figures (globe, flower, etc) I use foreign language words for the figures. There was also an instant painting variation with caterpillar that changes into a butterfly. Back in the days of a real card catalog, I used catalog cards to force a book title. (As a school librarian I had access to blank card catalog cards so I could make my own "forcing deck" made of card catalog cards.)

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: dennfox (Mar 14, 2010 01:44PM)
I'm a high school social studies teacher who has incorporated many effects into my teaching over the years. I lean toward the bizarre and have used Ash in hand (Congo and Lumumba), Sucker Die Box(Opium block hidden) to teach Opium wars. TK Lumber Log for Buddhism (Japanese Zen). For an English Class reading Dracula I did a Ramsey Bean effect that Docc Hilford made popular as the Wrath of Renfield.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 22, 2010 06:31AM)
As a substitute K-12 I incorporated magic into almost every assignment to either pemphasise some theme of the day or as a reward. This was especially effective in classes with students with learning or emotional disabilities.
Message: Posted by: squando (May 25, 2010 12:37PM)
I am not a classroom teacher but have visited many classrooms to teach, as a guest, about business and entrepreneurship. This winter/spring I visited over 50 schools. I use magic as object lessons and to keep/maintain attention.
Message: Posted by: Stonewick (May 27, 2010 09:25AM)
Wow! A lot of creative ideas here.

I teach high school science and computer graphics. Sometimes I incorporate magic into the lesson. For example, "Coins to Glass" while teaching binary language. (1 coin represents a 1-bit computer while 4 coins can generate 16 values, and so on).

But mostly we just have "Magic Friday". Each Friday the students in my classes get a 5 to 10 minute routine. A couple weeks ago it was "Cups and Balls". Before that it was "3-Ball Transposition". Last week it was "The Travelers" and tomorrow it will be Vernon's Ring Routine. Yeah, I do a lot of Vernon.

The students love the break from the daily grind. I also try to involve my less motivated students when I can. I think it helps them realize that just because they seem to have given up on school, they are still valued and have something to offer. But the best part for me is I get to work out new routines and polish older bits before a captive audience. It's a win/win.
Message: Posted by: jtb (May 29, 2010 08:18AM)
I work in a K-12 school. The teachers ask me to do routines for them during the year.

Every year I do a card routine that teaches probability for the math classes (1 chance in 52 of finding a chosen card).

For a science course, I make two round circles with my hands and put them together to create an infinity sign. Then show how the universe is created from the Unified Field by producing a silk streamer from my 'empty' hand.

For younger ones I use the Coloring book to describe how knowledge enriches the students' lives and brings color into their world.

I have about ten effects that I have adapted into routines. I am not sure if the enthusiastic response is because I am good or they arejust happy to have a diversion.

John B.
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Jun 28, 2010 10:09AM)
It just occurred to me that you could teach primary/secondary colors by pushing, say, a yellow and a blue handkerchief into your hands and they change into a green handkerchief. Better yet, do the half-dyed routine ending with a silk that is half blue and half yellow. Then you change the two-toned silk into a green one.

Or how about using a prism as a magic wand to change a white silk handkerchief into a rainbow handkerchief--or to color the pages in the Magic Coloring Book. It provides a raison d'etre for the pages becoming all-white and then colored.

(I've always been fascinated by prisms and magnifying glasses. I wrote a story with a scene where the protagonist talks about white light passing through a prism and coming out the other side as a spectrum. The hero remarks, "But somewhere within the center of the prism, the light is neither white nor colored--but both.")

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: dennfox (Aug 8, 2010 11:55PM)
About ten years ago I created an effect using an off the shelf magic trick which had colored wood beads that string together in a clear tube. I forget the name of the effect. I created it for a science teacher who wanted something to demonstrate how proteins string together. The same effect also works for DNA strands.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Taylor (Aug 28, 2010 03:05PM)
I was an intermediate school (grades 4-7) teacher for 15 years before I retired and went into performing and creating full time. I used magic every day and I actually conducted dozens of workshops for teachers on blending the use and teaching of magic in the classroom with solid pedagogy; I still offer several each year. An example of blending magic with pedagogy is presenting it as a complete Language Arts unit in which students are:
- READING directions to learn a magical effect
- WRITING the performance script
- LISTENING to others rehearse to provide constructive feedback
- SPEAKING in performance

I have quite a lot of material which I will be happy to discuss with teachers who contact me.

All the best,

Message: Posted by: Jon W. (Mar 6, 2011 03:04PM)
I know I am "conjuring" up a bit of an old thread, but as a new user I just came across the post. I am an elementary school teacher and I use magic as I introduce new sight words on the word wall. The class builds up the magic in my wand by reading the words that are already on the board. The magic has gotten the class much more engaged/excited in what would be a bit more of dull kill and drill. Also, I have tied magic from time to time into my behavioral plan. Kids earn tickets to my show with good behavior. This obviously is more suited to the younger guys than the secondary grades. With a little creativity I don't think it would be too hard to tie certain effects in with necessary content at any level.
Message: Posted by: joe yang (Mar 6, 2011 04:38PM)
My wife and most of her friends where elementary school teachers once. I was running the local chapter of Keep America Beautiful.

Once a year, every year, I would do a "Litter is Bad" magic show in every second grade in the county. We did this for several years.

It sounds stupid, but the age group was just right for the message. The message was "Litter is Bad". We did every trick I could think of that threw tissue paper, streamers and confetti on the floor. I pumped the kids up for fifteen minutes, laughing and shrieking "Litter is Bad". It was subliminal conditioning at it's worst. We all loved it.

I developed a lot of one off, educational shows over the years using that same approach, what is the age group? Where are they in their learning development? What is the message? What routines re-enforce that message. How can I wrap it up and sell it? Is it fun?
Message: Posted by: francisngkl (Mar 29, 2011 06:54PM)
I own and manage childcare centres. I use tricks to incorporate moral values and character-building objectives, usually come in the dorm of story-telling.

Message: Posted by: Munseys_Magic (Oct 12, 2011 05:43AM)
I am a high school math teacher. Almost any card trick cn be tied into my lessons on probability. I also (once a year) offer a night of no homework if my prediction fails. I then show the ID. I display it on the top of the chalkboard throughout class. At the end, I let the class choose a classmate who will name a card. Again, if my prediction fails -- no homework! The excitement builds as we talk about the probability of no homework being 51/52 (98%). I dramatically reveal my prediction..... You know how it ends.
Message: Posted by: Joshua J (Oct 12, 2011 01:26PM)
Sounds good teaching them probability and sods law at the same time.
Message: Posted by: Jeff Christensen (Oct 15, 2011 10:13PM)
Any card prediction is a simple way to teach math. I predict your card is black - a 1/2 or 50 percent chance. I predict your card is a spade a 1/4 chance since there's 13 spades (favourable outcomes) out of 52 cards (possible outcomes). Wait a minute I forget I left the jokers in so that's...and on and on.
Message: Posted by: LeoH (May 20, 2012 08:29PM)
I teach 1st grade and use magic to highlight content and make it memorable.

Message: Posted by: Fire Starter (May 27, 2012 05:12AM)
I teach Brickwork and use a lot of math magic .
Message: Posted by: Tamariz (Aug 27, 2012 12:41AM)
Magic and teaching would be a wonderful combination!
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Aug 27, 2012 01:07AM)
On 2012-08-27 01:41, Tamariz wrote:
Magic and teaching would be a wonderful combination!
[/quote] It's rough getting to 50 ... LOL
Brings back memories. :dancing:
Message: Posted by: Tamariz (Aug 27, 2012 07:23PM)
On 2012-08-27 02:07, Slim King wrote:
On 2012-08-27 01:41, Tamariz wrote:
Magic and teaching would be a wonderful combination!
[/quote] It's rough getting to 50 ... LOL
Brings back memories. :dancing:


You're like a mind reader! Impressive lesson re. Online behavior. :)
Message: Posted by: fiddlermikey (Dec 10, 2013 06:22PM)
I am not a teacher but am super-involved in my son's elementary school classroom; math and computers being my specialties. I'm working on a set of effects, some of which would be fun to teach the kids about math and looking at numbers in different ways. (21, 25 and 27 card effects, whispering jokers, etc) I'm a total novice/amateur but love maths card effects and have been working on other sleights to make things a little more interesting.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Dec 10, 2013 07:34PM)
Send a request to gusarimagic@comcst.net and I'll send you a couple of number based effects you might be able to use.
Message: Posted by: MRSharpe (Feb 15, 2014 11:17AM)
This is an old thread, so, crowslide, you may not see this response, but here goes. I was in a teacher licensing program I did not complete for personal reasons. However, I contemplated using magic for certain purposes such as bell ringers or extra time activities. I've got a method for doing the magic square which works great for this purpose. PM me if you want to see more. Oh heck, I'll PM you.
Message: Posted by: Geoff Akins (Jan 1, 2016 08:55PM)
Old thread or not it's still relevent!

I started as a Waldorf teacher, then was a subsititute teacher, and then worked for 5 years in Special Education. I used magic (and puppetry, juggling, storytelling and bubbleology) in EVERY class!

In some cases I did a little show during various class parties for Halloween, etc. Sometimes it was for the whole school when the word spread that I could do magic.

In other cases, most notably when substituting, it was a way to grab their attention right off the bat and steer them in the right direction. I would do some magic trick and then point to a large manila envelope covered with question marks hanging above the chalkboard and say, "and if you thought THAT was cool just wait until you see what's inside THAT envelope! But, I will only take that down if class runs smoothly, etc."

Worked like a charm.
Message: Posted by: Geoff Akins (Jan 1, 2016 09:01PM)
A specific example came to mind...

Doing magic can also reach certain students who may not be reached in other ways. I did a school-wide magic show one time and for a week afterward a young student would walk past my open door and stop to peek his head in and ask me how I did that torn tissue trick (torn and restored.) I gave him the usual stock answers about not revealing the secret, etc. but he was persistent. This went on for awhile, these daily visits to ask, "how did you d it?"

I decided to reward his inquisive nature and persistence. Next time he asked I turned the tables and said, "how do YOU think I did it? I can't just tell you the answer but I'll let you know if you're on the right track!"

His face lit up and I could see he'd be mulling over possible solutions. This created a dialogue. An otherwise shy student was opening up in a way I had never witnessed before. He eventually came up with a workable way to reproduce the effect he saw me do and in doing so he gained a sense of accomplishment and a boost in self-esteem. That's what teaching (and Magic) is all about to me!
Message: Posted by: friend2cptsolo (Feb 1, 2016 12:04PM)
GREAT Story Geoff
Message: Posted by: FriarShaun (Feb 4, 2016 06:15PM)
I am the Headmaster of a K through 12 Christian School. I use both storytelling and magic on a regular basis. I don't reveal methods, but I have done cold reading, vudu, and mentalism much as a skeptic would. I use shrunken heads, glass eyes, petrified poop, swords, eat fire, juggle, newspaper tears, science "magic", straight jacket escape, bed of nails, pickled punks, real artifacts, you name it. Teachers must capture the imagination for that engages interests which is key for both memorization and learning. The main ingredient however is story. Illusions and performance can distract so you must be careful, but story always captures them. The Bible is 80% story. We are designed for it, need it, and absorb it. In many ways we are all teachers, and all storytellers. The real question is what story are we telling and what are we teaching those who stop to listen?