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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Magic in classroom (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

senno52
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I'm looking for a good resource about using magic for kids as a teacher. Not as a school show, but the types of tricks and psychology that would work well with kids in K-12 grades (I'm in a 3rd grade classroom now).

Everyone who knows I do magic says, "Oh use it for the kids, they'll love it". Besides the somewhat standard line of kids being difficult to fool, it's difficult to get their attention in the classroom on what they should be doing without throwing magic in the mix- but they do appreciate it and I think there is a place for it. Some of this obviously ties into classroom management. I hope this makes a bit of sense and I can get some good recommendations on how or where to proceed. I know it's kind of a broad question/request. fyi- I'm 30+ and have been doing cards, coins and other standards since a young kid

best
joe
arthur stead
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This book by Michael Kett is perfect:

https://www.amazon.com/Houdini-Classroom......79K81WWF
Arthur Stead
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randyburtis
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Brian South of Creative Magic fame did a teach by magic book ....
Randy Burtis
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senno52
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Thanks a bunch, both look like great resources I'll check out. Looking into Brian South led me to the Discover Magic curriculum (and NY Magic Academy). Can any one speak on this?
Also I know Danny Orleans has written on magic for kids. Would his writings be geared toward what I mentioned in the first post and similar to the other recommendations?
TheAmbitiousCard
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I don't understand your OP.
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senno52
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Sorry, I know it's not terribly clear. Basically I'm looking for resources and advice (theory, psychology, crowd control, types of effects) on performing (and possibly teaching) magic for kids, not necessarily as a set show. In my experience doing magic for kids in the classroom can be more of a distraction and I'm looking for help in ways to make it work for me. Hope that helps, and thanks.
TheAmbitiousCard
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First you need to be interesting and entertaining.
One of my favorite quotes... "Before you can be entertaining with a deck of cards, you need to be entertaining without one".
Are you interesting to listen to? Interesting to watch? That's where it starts.
Can you entertain kids with nothing? Just you? Have you tried? How good are you at that?

Purchase as many videos/dvds you can on kids magic and any magic and watch them and learn from them.
Watch movies and read books (not magic). Look for things that are entertaining to you.
Watch some youtube videos of any magic acts. note what you like, what you don't like. most are not very good and also boring. ask yourself why.

Take notes. You do have a notebook don't you?

Resources:
Get Silly Billy's book - Seriously silly. One of the very best.
Get Chris Capehart's DVDs. He really knows how to perform for ALL ages.


Learn to be able to perform for all ages!!! The more age groups you can perform for, the more you will perform and the better you will get.
If you pick an act that works for all ages you will maximize the number of times you perform each trick/your act and you will get better sooner.


Learn what you like. Learn what you don't like. If something seems boring, do something else. Trust your judgement.
If you love a trick, do that trick. Doesn't matter if it's "kid friendly" or not. If you love it, so will everyone else.


Types of effects: Most start with "kiddy" tricks but I would move away from those as soon as possible. they work for a rather small segment of people (usually little kids only) and are usually not that great anyway. Look to the classics and make them your own.


One of the biggest pieces of advice....
Do NOT keep changing your tricks around, looking for the holy grail. Once you decide what you like, stick with it. do them over and over and over and improve them over the years based on experience. If you end up not liking a trick then get rid of it, of course.

Know and rehearse what comes between the tricks. It's an entire act. Not just a series of tricks you bought from a store.


Know that you will start out being awful. You need to do shows to get better. Any magicians that tells you their first show was great is either lying or they honestly have no idea what it means to "do an act".

Crowd control gets easier as you get better. Once you are confident and fantastic, there are very few situations that arise. Until then, watch street performer acts, get books on crowd control lines/ideas.

Keep things simple. Don't do a ton of material. Focus on a small set of tricks to start.


The psychology is all there .... in the tricks themselves. Learn from the originators. Try to understand why they say and do everything they say and do.
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senno52
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Thanks a bunch, Ambitious. Solid advice that cannot be said enough in any way. I've been in magic for not a short while, and these are things I still constantly strive to work on.

best,
Joe
imgic
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There’s a series of books called “Tricks for Trainers” by a David Arch. I think he’s up to 4 volumes now. It’s focused on corporate training, but much could apply to classroom.

As a amateur magician and full time trainer, I’ve tried incorporating magic into presentations and training, but have not had much success. I find the message gets lost or overshadowed by the trick. People remember the trick, but not the point I was trying to make. Great example is the video of the guys who incorporate magic in their presentation using multiple iPads.

https://youtu.be/1jaf8gU-J7k

I remember that they are awesome and to search on YouTube for them using keywords “magic iPad presentation.” But I cant tell you what their talking about.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Tim Snyder
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I don't think you can use magic to directly improve your classroom management. The bottom line to classroom control is self confidence. Many magicians don't allow spring snakes to shoot out into the audience for fear of losing control, but Scott Green does and is able to have the kids quickly bring the snakes back to him with a few authoritative words. This is because of the air of confidence and control he gives off. It is his show, the kids are just along for a fun ride. The tempo of the show helps. Dead space in shows and classrooms can quickly cause you to lose control. If the kids respect you as a "good teacher" they will often self regulate themselves and each other -- shushing the noisy ones. This is where magic can help you. It can make you a better teacher.

Don't ever call yourself a magician. It is better to lower expectations and surpass them, than to raise expectations and not meet them. When the kids ask if are you a magician, reply " I'm just a teacher." Kids respond, "Mr. senno52 you are a magician!". You respond, "No, but learning new things is magic. Never stop learning." If you call yourself a magician they will ask to see tricks. Even the best professional has a limited number of tricks. You you are going to have the same crowd for 9 months. Don't start doing tricks.

Rather incorporate magic into your teaching. Two magicians that come to mind are David Ginn (his material is available pretty cheap on the big auction site) and Barry Mitchell(his stuff is going to cost you a bit more money). They both have a way of reusing the same props to teach different things. I would have 10 or so props / gimmicks available to incorporate into my lessons. I hate to mention Barry Mitchell because he tends to fly under the radar here and I want to use a lot of his stuff when I go pro, but he is a great example for someone wanting to learn how to be creative. His props are very versatile. Don't overuse props. I wouldn't use a particular prop more than three times during the year, and each time the prop will look completely different. The magic is not the focus, rather during your lesson something completely unexpected and surprising occurs to make a point.

Magic is only one of the tools in your toolbox. Successful magicians will tell you it is not the trick but the presentation that matters. The trick is usually the shortest part of the routine that involves dramatic effect, story telling and / or audience participation. The goal is for the audience to have a vested interest in the trick. Acquire as many tools as you can to help keep the kids interested in what your teaching -- good story telling, games and fun interaction.

Studying good magicians will make you a better teacher. I recommend the book "Maximum Entertainment" by Ken Weber. Learn about the creative world of Barry Mitchell. Scott Green has good material. David Ginn has probably produced too much material (like I write too long of posts), but there are many things you can incorporate from his books and videos.

I hope this post does not come across as condescending. I don't know your skill set and just wanted to respond to a question that I have pondered over quite a bit due to my life experiences.
Wishing much success! Tim
Tim Snyder
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As an addendum: Adding magic is something that is going to happen slowly. Magicians spend months creating a new routine. Tommy Wonder spent two years perfecting his zombie ball before ever performing it. During the summer or whenever you are working on revising your lesson plans, you can start thinking about how you can add some magic to the lesson. Since you are not a magician, the kids will not expect every lesson to contain a trick. You don't have to routine all of your lessons at once. Some will just be more interesting than others. After five years, most of your lessons will be compelling and maybe in ten years you will win the Golden Apple Smile
imgic
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Tim brings up a great point. Years ago when I first taught college course, I tried to be the “cool” professor and started each class with a joke. When we came back from breaks I’d tell another. This is also when I was trying using magic tricks to spice up the economic lectures. When I got Evals back I got sense the students weren’t taking me seriously. The jokes and the tricks eroded my credibility. So I stopped. And evals improved and classroom management was easier. Also,by focusing on the subject, the classroom discussions were more engaging. So using jokes and magic did not work for me. It could for others, but I thinks it’s a tough line to walk.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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