Meet Teacher-Author Latoya Reed, one of our Collaboration Connection panelists at this year’s TpT Conference, Come Together, Go Further. Latoya’s been an ESL classroom teacher for eight years and currently teaches 2nd grade. Read more about Latoya’s TpT journey, and check out her personal blog, Flying into First Grade and collaborative blog Primary Chalkboard.

1. Latoya, how did you start selling on TpT, and what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Teacher-Author?

I started selling on TpT in the summer of 2012. I actually came across the TpT website a year or so before that, but I had no idea what I had stumbled upon. I thought it was more like a teacher website that sold only hard goods. Why didn’t I take the time to read? Ha! Then, at the start of my 2011 school year, a fellow teacher at my school told me about a great resource she bought off of TpT, so I went and created an account. At first I just bought units, but I kept thinking, “I can do this, too.”

In the summer of 2012, I told myself to just take the leap. I was changing my room theme that year to a Hollywood theme, and I was on the hunt for ways to make my room unique. After going to plenty of teaching stores and not finding much, I started making my own Hollywood-themed resources. That’s when I finally decided to put my resources on TpT.

I wasn’t a Premium Seller yet, but the 30 cents I was making for each sale made me really happy. I finally upgraded to a Premium Seller account and started creating academic units. My first academic unit was on apples. I had so much fun making it that I knew I had to keep doing it and really devote time to TpT. I also got a lot of support from my coworkers — they began using my units and talked about how useful they were to them.

It’s so rewarding to be able to help teachers and students from around the world. I love being able to reach beyond my own classroom and have a presence in many other classrooms. It keeps my own teaching fresh and creative.

2. What’s surprised you the most about being part of TpT?

I’m surprised by the many friends I’ve made during this journey. I speak to some of my TpT friends more than some of the friends I’ve had for years and years. It’s the greatest feeling to be able to talk with and motivate others who share the same interests as me! I actually helped to start a collaborative blog called The Primary Chalkboard. We are 32 Teacher-Authors who have bonded as true friends. After chatting for so long online, it was so wonderful to meet them in person last year in Vegas.

The Primary Chalkboard

3. Speaking of Las Vegas, it was great to meet you at last year’s TpT Conference. What was the highlight for you, and what would you tell someone who’s considering going this year?

I absolutely loved the TpT Conference last year! It was my very first time in Las Vegas, and it was so memorable. My favorite part of the conference was collaborating with my peers that I’ve seen online through the years. It was so fun to meet everyone face to face. I also enjoyed collaborating with different businesses such as GoNoodle and Creative Teaching Press. There were so many meet ups that were super fun to attend and provided wonderful opportunities to connect with TpT Teacher-Authors and Teacher-Buyers.

The presenters were awesome as well, and I learned so much. I would tell anyone who’s considering going to JUST DO IT! I was on the fence about going last year because I am terrified of flying. That’s ironic because my blog is Flying into First Grade. I decided to overcome my fears, and it was so worth it. I was able to learn tips and tricks from TpT’s best Teacher-Authors, which definitely helped in every aspect of being a Teacher-Author such as sales, collaborating, networking, and branding.

I love that there are so many sessions that you can choose from this year, such as sessions for beginners as well as advanced TpT’ers. I’m leading a panel on collaboration this year, and I can’t wait to share my tips and tricks for establishing relationships and connections with other Teacher-Authors. Don’t miss out on the conference — it will be the time of your life!

Latoya wFriends

4. What are your three favorite resources you’d like to share, and what makes them your favorites?

Math Common Core Standards BUNDLEThis is an Ultimate Common Core Math Standards BUNDLE that focuses on all of the Common Core Math Standards for 1st grade. I love it because you get a pre-assessment/quick check, post- assessment, no prep printables, and a math center with a recording sheet for each standard. The unit can be used throughout the year for whole group, small group, or individual work. It’s great for higher-level kindergarten students and for lower level 2nd grade students.

CVC NO PREP & DIFFERENTIATED Word WorkIt’s very interactive for students as they study short vowel word families. I love it because it can also be used as an intervention for CVC practice and makes a great homework option as well. The classrooms at my school are so diverse, and this motivated me to create two different versions: one for lower level and the other for higher level. You can differentiate for the students and give them a no-prep page on their level. It can easily be switched back and forth as needed. You can give the lower level to your whole class and switch to a higher level when they’re ready.

Common Core Math Mini Books Volume 8I love that it aligns with Common Core math skills for shapes, place value, comparing numbers, fact families, addition, subtraction, word problems, and 10 more/10 less. It’s an interactive way to reinforce important math skills throughout the year.

5. What’s a tidbit about you, Latoya? What do you and your husband like to do for fun?

I love my hubby so much! Our favorite thing to do is attend movie screenings. We see at least one movie a week for FREE. We’ve only paid for two movies in the last three years. I would recommend that anyone do it. It is so worth it. I’ll have to write a blog post explaining how to get started; it’s super easy! We also love spending time with our families, friends, and our puppy, Honey.

Latoya & Husband