We know how hard Teacher-Authors work to create and share resources that will make the biggest impact on students around the world. It’s what helps make TpT such a special place. Team TpT sat down with three Teacher-Authors to learn more about how they create and market resources — not only to teachers, but also to school administrators who are just discovering all that TpT has to offer through TpT for Schools.
Luke Rosa, Students of History
K-12 social studies resources
Q. What’s your process for creating comprehensive resources?
A. First, I try to meet the standards because that’s what teachers are the most focused on — ensuring that they’re teaching the correct content. Every state has pretty strict standards about what should be taught in social studies classrooms, and overwhelmingly, teachers are looking for content that meets those standards. Second, I ensure that the resources are rigorous enough for the grade level at which they’re being taught. My goal is to get students analyzing and using their higher level thinking skills. And third, I make sure that the resource is creative enough to get students excited about social studies, and that it isn’t just a bunch of questions based off a reading. If I can create a resource that hits those three things, I know I’m creating something that’s going to be useful for teachers.
Q. What should teachers and administrators know about TpT resources?
A. They should know that so many TpT resources are standards-based, have been created by teachers with years of experience, and have been successfully used in a classroom setting. Sometimes, textbook resources aren’t designed in a way that meets all types of learners; they’re usually designed for a specific group of students, which means they aren’t as adaptable as TpT resources are. TpT resources, though, come from teachers who know how to differentiate content and reach all different types of students — from English learners to special ed students to AP students.
Q. What should Teacher-Authors consider when creating resources for schools?
A. They should create resources that hit the standards, that are rigorous enough for different students, that aren’t just a fad, and that work for teachers in all different types of schools. Don’t just rely on your own experience in the classroom, either. Make sure to bounce ideas off other teachers, so you can feel confident that your resources will work across the U.S. and around the world. That way, your resources will be more thorough because they’ll be based off things both you and other teachers have tested in your respective classrooms.
Q. Why did you decide to start selling resources on TpT?
A. During my first few years as a 1st grade teacher, I found that there were a lot of holes in the material that I was teaching. At the time, a lot of the resources that I was finding were station activities or other fun things. What I was really looking for, however, were more in-depth curricula and more comprehensive units for 1st grade subjects. I couldn’t find a lot of these things, so I just started making them myself. And then I figured if these were things that I needed, other teachers must need them as well, so I started posting them to TpT.
Q. What are the most important things every TpT Teacher-Author should consider when creating and marketing resources?
A. First and foremost, I’d say that when creating resources, they should be research-based and research-driven. Personally, I don’t feel comfortable putting resources out there that aren’t in the best interest of students. When I market my resources, I make sure to share where all of my research comes from. I’m also very transparent with my buyers about what each resource is going to include. I don’t want them to have any questions about what they’re getting when they download something from me. To do this, I direct buyers to download the preview from the description, since showing is more valuable than telling. For a 50-page product, for instance, I’ll have seven pages of material in the preview, so they can get a really good idea of what’s in there.
Q. Why do you include all of the information that you do in your resource descriptions and previews?
A. There are so many resources available for teachers and schools on TpT, and I don’t want them ever wondering if my resources are right for them. With more and more administrators, superintendents, and principals looking at TpT resources, I don’t want to waste their time. I want them to be able to look at what the teacher sends them and know right away if the resource is right for their school based on that.
K-12 music resources
Q. Why do you think it’s valuable to have a consistent look across all of your products?
A. There’s a lot of value in your buyers being able to glance at a product and instantly know that’s it’s yours — just from the covers alone. I also think that having a uniform look makes your store look more professional. And now with TpT for Schools, if an administrator goes to your store and sees that all your products have a consistent, professional look, it’ll make the job of convincing them to buy your products that much easier.
Q. How can Teacher-Authors make sure they’re creating resources that are school-ready?
A. Teacher-Authors should create products that are so thorough and so descriptive that anyone could use them. A lot of times, Teacher-Authors think that teachers will instinctively know how to use a resource, but the reality is, they actually don’t. So lay out a comprehensive set of directions, provide some visuals of how to get it set up, and include strategies for teaching and ideas for differentiation. Even just a few pages of notes about how to use a resource will be really helpful for teachers. It might take longer to put all this together, but in doing so, the resource will be so much better for students and will enable teachers to be even more successful.
Q. How can Teacher-Authors help schools better support educators?
A. By making wonderful resources! If administrators walk through their buildings, see awesome learning going on, and realize that it’s because of a TpT resource, it can be a game changer. The more Teacher-Authors share what works with their own students, the more other people will see how amazing TpT resources can be for schools everywhere.