The photo above is of Tracee Orman on the left with Mary Badham, the actress who played Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, on the right. “My classes had the opportunity to hear her speak and talk with her a few years ago. One of the highlights of my career!” says Tracee.

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Welcome to our exciting, new “5 Questions” series where you will have the opportunity to peek behind the curtain to learn what makes some of your favorite TpT Teacher-Author’s tick!

Let’s get started with High School teacher, Tracee Orman.

Tracee Orman: Teachers Pay Teachers
Tracee Orman

1. How did the Hunger Games obsession begin?

In 2009 I had a difficult group of reluctant learners and was searching for any way to connect to them. I read The Hunger Games one weekend and knew it was the book for that group. We read it together in class and what started as a class full of misfits who hated to read ended with a group of kids begging to read the entire trilogy. I knew my excitement for the book would rub off, but I never imagined how much it would truly transform these boys who had never read a book on their own. We all became obsessed together.

2. In addition to great classroom resources, you also do clip art. How did you start doing that?

I’ve always loved to draw and being a newspaper and yearbook adviser gave me a lot of experience with Photoshop and InDesign. It’s one of those activities I use to de-stress… kind of like knitting.

3. How do you know when an idea should become a product?

Teenagers are the hardest to engage… especially seniors. So when I make something and it’s successful in my classroom, I know it’ll be a hit with other classes. But just to be sure, I always ask my 15-year old son what he thinks.

4. How do you respond to people who say teachers should give their ideas away for free because teaching is a compassionate career?

I think giving ideas away and creating tangible resources to use are two very different things. Any teacher can browse TpT and get lots of ideas… and they are all free if they just read the descriptions. But resources like presentations, handouts, or an entire unit plan with tests takes so much time to create and those who do should be compensated.

Textbook companies and publishers do not give their resources to teachers/schools free, so I think it’s ridiculous to ask teachers who write and create books/resources as a second job to do the same.

5. How have your TpT resources changed from when you first started creating them?

I think they look much more professional. When I started out, I just posted a Word document without giving much thought to what the thumbnails looked like. Now I definitely try to make my products have more visual appeal. I am much more thorough with my answers and suggestions for teachers. I try to imagine I’m leaving a detailed note to a sub so it’s easier for teachers to implement in their classrooms.

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I have to say, I just love getting to know our Teacher-Authors.

And get excited because our next 5 Questions will be with dynamo Hope King—can’t wait!

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