We recently had the pleasure of asking one of our top-selling Australian Teacher-Authors, Lavinia Pop a few questions about her TpT journey. Lavinia’s been a TpT Teacher-Author since 2012, and credits her “team of littles,” aka her four children: Alex, David, Camelia, and Filip with helping her hone her terrific resources. She also has a wonderful blog, In My World, conveniently organized into three categories: Preschool, After School, and Sunday School. Read on for some terrific insights and resource suggestions!
1. Lavinia, how did you first become involved with TpT and what is one of your favorite parts about being a Teacher-Author?
I have always wanted to instill a love for learning in my children and it only made sense to start when they were young. As such, when my eldest son, Alex, was a preschooler, I was so excited about teaching him his ABCs and 123s that I went online in search of some printables we could use.
It was during this time that I discovered TpT and signed up as a Buyer. I was very enthusiastic about the resources I had found, but my excitement soon waned; Alex didn’t love the worksheets and wasn’t very enthusiastic about the black and white games either. I felt discouraged and we stopped our home learning for a while. However, I knew there had to be a way to get this little person excited about learning. And so, I decided to make resources of my own!
I soon discovered that Alex preferred hands-on activities, so that’s what I made! My husband Sam saw that we were making progress and suggested, “You should sell these resources. Others will benefit from them, too!” My response was very short and to the point: “No way! No one will buy my stuff!”
After many successful and unsuccessful creations, as well as lots of nagging from Sam, around mid 2012 I decided to list a few of my resources on TpT. No one was more surprised than me with the results! I couldn’t believe that others really did in fact find my resources useful.
I feel so blessed that God has given me this great opportunity to share with others the resources that have worked for my children. And this is one of my favourite parts about being a Teacher-Author — teachers and homeschoolers can share with one another their resources and ideas that have worked for a child or an entire classroom.
2. What are the biggest changes from when you started on TpT to now?
My early resources looked very different to what they look like now!
I will be honest and let you know that many of my resources were created and then changed based on how my children received them — Alex was easily distracted by funky fonts and fancy borders, so I left them out. When the time came to use the same resources with my middle children, David and Camelia, they seemed disinterested. Argh! What to do? How was I going to find the right balance? It was a long process of editing and trialing with my own children, and lots of collaborating with the teachers and their students.
I think I have managed to find a style that is visually appealing but not distracting or overwhelming.
3. Speaking of visually appealing — who are a few TpT clip artists you’d recommend?
I just love cute graphics! I think anyone who creates resources for Pre-K-2nd grade students does.
A few of my favourite TpT clip artists are:
My absolute favourite clip artist is Kari Bolt. Her clip art complements my resource style so perfectly: the adorable, little characters are so happy and just bursting with personality! Kari is a published children’s book illustrator, which means she doesn’t have as much time to create sets for TpT as I wish she did; but when I get a notification that she has uploaded a new set, I get all giddy and can’t wait to purchase it!
Kari and I have become ‘net buddies’ and I look forward to meeting her in person one day!
4. What kind of resources do you like to make the most, and what programs or tools do you use to create them?
It is my hope to make resources that get children excited about learning. Seeing how well my children responded to hands-on activities fueled my passion to create resources that were interactive.
I use a combination of images and text, so it’s critical that the program would allow me to work with both easily and with precision. CorelDrawX7 does this and is the program I use for all my resources.
5. What are a couple of your favorite resources and why?
One favourite resource is my Sight Word Flip Books. I love this early reader unit for two reasons: firstly, because the readers are made in a format that children find interesting, so of course they will want to check them out and read them. Secondly, I love these booklets because they use only one piece of paper — and the trees love that, too!
My favourite and most popular freebie is my Phonics Letter of the Week B unit. This is an all-inclusive resource containing a variety of games, activities, and worksheets. It can be used with children with differently learning styles and abilities all year long!
Lavinia, thank you again for taking time out to share a bit about yourself, your family, and your TpT experience. We’re so excited to continue growing TpT around the world and love that you’ve helped create something so special in Australia!