Did you know that there is a TpT for Schools site set up specifically to help schools find and purchase the resources teachers need in their classroom? No?? Or maybe you did know but your school isn’t using it? Did you think that it wasn’t worth sharing it in your district…or had you never thought about it?
OK, that’s a lot of questions…so let me share with you 5 things I’m excited about with TpT for Schools and a very good reason that you may want to share it with your administrators.
Of course the first reason is that you are paying for resources out of your own pocket–which already is pretty much only change that jingles. It’s one thing if you decide, as a professional, that you want to add to your personal repertoire of materials for teaching students. Buying out of pocket makes sense at that point because you are planning to keep the materials for the future.
But most of you, especially teachers just starting out, don’t have the money to invest in EVERYTHING you need to get the classroom started and provide instruction. Or maybe you changed the type of class or don’t think you’ll be in the same type of class in the future. In that case, it makes sense to have resources that get left with the classroom rather than personally owning them.
TpT for Schools allows you to suggest resources to your administrators that you believe would be useful in your classroom. If administrators if your school or district has a TpT for Schools account, then the administrators can review your request and determine if they think it would be a good fit. Then he or she can make the purchase for your classroom.
2. Individualized Resources
Every student in your classroom has different needs. Some of you teach classes from kindergarten to sixth grade…no big range of skills there! Some of you support classrooms of students preschool through high school…again, that’s not a lot of material needed, right? (sarcasm sign here).
So in addition to the visual supports and other materials needed to support our students, we need a lot of stuff in our toolboxes to pull out and individualize our instruction for our students. TpT has created a vehicle for doing just that.
3. Continuity of Materials Across Classrooms
Wouldn’t it be nice, if you were teaching using a specific resource that was working for a student, if next year’s teacher could continue with it? We do that all the time with big curricula, like the Edmark Reading Curriculum. You started on level 1, and ended in level 2. Next year’s teacher should have the same curriculum so he or she can pick up at the next lesson where you left off.
But many times, we don’t have this with TpT resources or teacher-made resources, because the resource belongs to the teacher who bought them.
TpT for Schools allows the administrator to look at materials that are being used in one classroom and license them for the next teacher for those students. This way there is continuity in the instruction that doesn’t exist with teacher-made resources or teacher-purchased resources. So the students get what they need.
4. Continuity of Instruction Across Teachers
Have you ever taken over a classroom in the middle of the year only to find that all the visual schedules the students had, all their communication tools for the room, the visual supports, and much of the teaching materials left with the teacher? Probably because it was stuff she purchased and/or made. It belonged to her. Makes perfect sense that she would take it with her. But where does that leave you on January 3….or the students? You don’t have the same materials that the last teacher had. So the schedule format might change, the teaching materials might be different, etc.
TpT for Schools now also has a classroom license. It costs a bit more than a regular license, but here’s its advantage: If a teacher leaves, the material can be licensed to the teacher who replaces him or her. And then the material stays when a teacher leaves and the students use the same supports and teaching tools they have used all year long.
5. Collaboration Across the Team
Still hesitant about talking to your school administrators about TpT for Schools?
You may think that it isn’t your place to tell your administrators what you need. Or maybe you think that they don’t care or don’t want to hear from you about it.
So, let me share this bonus note about what I’ve seen in special education classrooms across country in the last 25 years. There is often a huge disconnect between special education administrators / school administrators and teachers.
This is a conversation I have had so many times I can’t even count. I walk into the classroom and there are no teaching materials other than some unifix cubes and old textbooks way above the level of the student. I say to the teacher, “what do you use for teaching materials.” Teacher says “This is all I was given. I’m waiting for them to give me what I need to teach these kids.”
I go to the administrator and say, “The teacher has nothing in the classroom to teach with that is appropriate for her students. What happened?” The administrator says, “I’m waiting for the teacher to tell me what she needs.”
I kid you not! This is seriously a conversation I’ve had many times on both ends. Administrators, especially those who aren’t part of special ed. like many principals, are looking for guidance from you as the specialist about what you need to do your job. Sure they aren’t going to give you a blank check to buy whatever you want for the classroom. But most of them are willing to at least consider teacher requests for materials. And some of them are even waiting for you to tell them what you need.
What should you do next?
- Start a conversation with administrators about how TpT for Schools can help you in the coming year.
2. Highlight the benefits above and the following for your administrator:
- Increased administrative awareness and oversight of resources being used in the classroom
- Increase collaboration among teams using the same resources
- The ability to evaluate the rigor of requested resources for teachers before deciding on purchasing
- Access to updated resources that can be downloaded immediately and used quickly to create change in the classroom
- Empowering teachers to make decisions about teaching materials based on the needs of their students
- TpT can take purchase orders to fund an account, thus making it easy to draw from the balance as resources are needed.
3. Go to this webpage and send your administrator information about how TpT for Schools works.
4. Be prepared to request resources and articulate clearly how they will align with your lesson plans and individual needs of your students. Review resources carefully to show your administrators why it is needed for your classroom, the time it will save you from creating your own resource, and/or benefit your students.
5. Don’t hesitate to reach out to teacher-authors from TpT with questions that you think your administrator might ask (or does ask) about what the resource includes.
For instance, for many of my resources, I can point you to sample IEP goals or curriculum cross-listings (see the preview of this product for an example) that you might use so you can show the administrator how it ties in. Similarly, for many of my resources, I can point you to blog posts and other resources that shows how they are helpful in implementing an evidence-based practice.
So, go check out TpT for Schools on your own and think about how you can work to get it in place for the coming year. Your bank account and your students will thank you.
Until next time,