Tricking Kids

This week, I decided to do things a little differently. Previously, my blogs would focus on learning a new trick, commenting in where I learned it from, what i thought of the resource, and a goal for the following week.

However, this week i thought it was about time to try my hand at performing the few tricks I had learned for people who would give me honest criticism. Kids.

I work part-time as a substitute educational assistant for the Regina Public School Board, and so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to try out some of my highly refined illusions. To my surprise, the tricks were met with wonder (when they worked), and for the most part were met with positivity. In one classroom I worked in, performing the simple coin disappearing trick from my first blog served as a reward for getting questions done and done well. One student (who has a tough time with motivation) began showcasing their knowledge in order to get me to perform for them.

This experience has really touched my heart, because, as a future educator, the feeling of helping someone understand and succeed is a core reason as to why I entered the discipline. I wouldn’t have thought that there was a place for magic tricks in a classroom but, because of this learning project I am finding ways to use it.

I am now curious as to what other things this would apply to. What knowledge have we decided is important for students to learn and what have we deemed irrelevant. I am curious to see what other skills students are learning through this project that will also be useful for teaching.

Shorter blog this week, but perhaps my most meaningful one yet.


Not Exactly the Truffle Shuffle.

I walked into my third week of this project feeling really confident. I had played around with the tricks i was learning more and more, and even managed to fool some kids at a school I worked at this week.

While watching some magic tricks on youtube, I came across a move not designed to fool, simply to impress. The One handed shuffle. And so I began to practice. Again using a video by content creator 52Kards I began to practice, and practice, and practice some more. It became quickly apparent that this trick is for the more advanced learners, as i have picked up the equivalent of hundreds of cards as I try to learn. I am getting closer but am still miles away.

I am not disheartened, (the look on my face at the end of th GIF isn’t helping my case), but rather looking forward to the day that I can actually do this trick. I feel it will segway tricks together nicely, as well as give me a impression based advantage at card nights.

If I do ever compile a repertoire of magic tricks, I feel like this moment will serve as a landmark of my journey.

Well that wraps this one up, off to pick up more cards…

Cards, CARDS, CARDS!!!!

Cards are nothing new to me. As an avid Magic The Gathering player (a super nerdy, super awesome game, I highly recommend it), card shaped pieces of cardboard are in my hands more than the average person. That being said, my hands are far from dextrous, and so when I decided to learn the first piece of hundreds of card tricks, the Double Lift, I was wary of my ability to control my fingers.

I’ll begin with a brief description of the move. The Double Flip is a pretty standard move in which you make the audience believe you are taking one card, when you actually take two. This allows you to use one of those cards as a diversion while you manipulate the other one, usually having that one be the card chosen by your audience.

As with last week, I consulted Youtube to begin learning the move. This video by content creator 52Kards gave a great start to learning the trick effectively.

I noticed a few things immediately:

  1. Big fingers are not an asset, I found manipulating cards difficult due to the diameter of my fingers.
  2. Practice makes perfect, The video said that, while simple, this move would take awhile to learn. They were right.
  3. It is satisfying to do the move right, and can even fool yourself a little bit.

My goal for the remainder of the week is to practice, practice, practice. I want to be able to do the move with my eyes closed.

From Sight of Hand to Sleight of Hand – Day One of Becoming Magical

This week I began to practice learning close-up Magic for my EDTC 300 learning project. The experience is very different from any other school project I have ever done. So far, the experience feels more similar to practicing an instrument than to doing an assignment. The difference is refreshing, as this course if part of my final semester in my pursuit of an Education Degree.

I begin this journey to tap into the wonders of illusion with what is perhaps the simplest magic trick ever. A trick renowned by many a child as a special adult in their lives makes a coin disappear, and then suddenly reappear. As i practice, I am impressed by the dedication to the trick anyone who ever performed it for me must have had to pursue it. The technique is simple, but difficult to perform naturally. I found myself in front of the bathroom mirror, practicing it over and over without it looking very convincing. But I am not dismayed, rather I am convinced that this task will make for a worthwhile project.

The medium with which I am learning about the trick is YouTube. I watched a few videos by various youtubers but found this video to be the easiest to follow, whilst being brief enough that it could be viewed multiple times efficiently. The youtuber, who goes by the screenname TheRussianGenius, uses very clear and precise language as well as a variety of speeds when performing the trick. He also uses  a camera angle very similar to what you would be seeing as you are performing the trick.

My goal for the upcoming week is to be able to perform this trick convincingly enough to fool someone, or at least amuse them. At this moment I intend to move to card tricks as my fingers become more dexterous.

That’s about all there is to say at the moment. I am excited to see where this goes.

Bye for now.

Jonah Norman-Gray