Welcome back to our “5 Questions” series where we get up close and personal with some of our sellers. This time around we chatted with Deedee Wills about how she creates TpT products, how her students see her, and how a love of shoes can inspire something big.
1. In addition to teaching and selling on Teachers Pay Teachers, you give presentations at educational conferences. How do all of these pursuits work together and what do you get out of each?
I just started presenting outside of my district over the last 12 months. Before that, I had provided district level professional development, but going outside of my district was a little intimidating. It helps that I present on practices that I use in my own classroom. Just like creating products and blogging, presenting made me more reflective. Not only do I have to be certain my practices are grounded in “Best Practices,” I also have to be confident that I can articulate these ideas, keep it engaging for the conference listener, and get it all in within 70 minutes… easy… right? It’s still a work in progress.
2. What’s your process for creating resources on TpT? Do you work on multiple resources at once? Do you plan out resources in advance? How does it happen?
I create by listening to the needs of my classroom. It’s like I observe them with a 3rd eye (is that Yoga-ish?). I watch my students and think, “What do they need next?” or “How can I make this learning process easier?” I always try to plan my resources to move students toward independence. With kindergarten, this means a LOT of visual support, so I try to create “I Can…” cards for each activity that I want them to do independently. I also want to be sure they are engaging. The talented clip artists here on TpT make the engaging part easier!
I try not to start two projects at once. My mind does not operate that way. I keep a “to-do” list and add ideas to it. Sometimes items get pushed down the list. When I am ready to start a unit, I just sit down at my computer and get the show on the road. I don’t usually sketch out ideas ahead of time.
3. What’s your classroom like? How much does it change year to year?
My classroom layout has not changed from year to year but the players sure have. Each year my class is significantly different. I have been posting my weekly lesson plans on my blog for the last two years and no two years look the same. My pacing has to be adjusted to match my kiddos. This year I’m having to take a little more time on routines. I have many independent souls this year, but my class needs to operate as an orchestra, not a group of solo recitals, if you know what I mean.
4. How do you think your students would describe you as a teacher?
Ha! I asked my students to describe me. They said, “You are nice.” You are really nice.” “You have curly hair.” “You like dogs.” “You have a lot of shoes.” I think that pretty much sums it up!
5. How did you first become a Teacher-Author on TpT?
Speaking of shoes… (stay with me, this will make sense in a moment). My very first purchase was from Erica Bohrer. I purchased her A-Z Alphabet File Folder Word Wall with Pictures. That was in November of 2009. I loved it! Then I needed a resource for my class to use in December. I had a student who did not celebrate Christmas, so I purchased the Gingerbread Man Math and Literacy unit from this person named Deanna Jump. Ever heard of her? My class was so engaged with meaningful learning that was… (dare I say it?)… cute!!! During Christmas break I told my husband, “I think I will put my Read Trace Glue Draw activities on TpT to see what happens. I was looking for a little extra shoe money.” I am happy to say, I now have my very own shoe fund!
More From Deedee:
This is a big transition year for the Wills family. Our only child, Matt, graduated high school and started college.
- Nebraska Kindergarten Conferences (with Kim Adsit and Shari Sloane)
- The Perfect Son’s kindergarten graduation pictures (big audible sigh)
- The Perfect Son this summer
- A visit to my home to San Diego with my family
- The Perfect Son learning to surf
- Where the Perfect Son is attending college in pursuit of an engineering degree