Within the digital marketplace exists teacher-centered stores. Web stores such as Teachers Pay Teachers offer teacher created resources.
They offer numerous teacher created resources. By the thousands.
Which is good! Variety, depth, assortment of experience and teaching philosophies. Still, choosing teacher resources can be overwhelming.
Not only do I sell lesson plans for teachers (and their subsequent activities), but I also purchase teacher supplies. I’ve never had a bad purchase, but some are better than others.
From years of experience, I narrowed my considerations into three categories when buying teacher created resources. Here are three ways I judge products before purchasing.
I ask about the abilities that the product provides for me and my students.
1. Ability to differentiate.
Could you use the product in more than one way? If I buy task cards, I know that I can use those in groups or individually – with students moving around or not. Sometimes the nature of the product allows different uses.
Other times, you may need to look at how the product is structured. With a writing project, I need to be sure that if the rubric is closely tied to the project (where the student directions tie directly to a checklist), that I have enough time to create checklists for varying abilities.
Now – that won’t dissuade me from purchasing if it’s quality material. If I’m short on time, I might opt for a more general one. It is simply a factor when choosing a product.
2. Ability to use for many years.
As I acquire teaching materials, I’m ok with knowing I won’t use a product every single year. I want to pull it out and use it when the students have a need or desire for it. More supplies in my arsenal? More variety. When purchasing, I look for the longevity of a product.
If a product has the year on it, I would like reassurance that the seller will update the file. For instance, many end of the year memory books contain final writing sheets for students. The covers may have the school year. When I buy a project, I want to use it more than once. Normally sellers include that they will update the files. If not, it never hurts to ask.
Another factor I consider is the subject matter. A product focusing on the history of the winter Olympics is cool, but I may use it only once every four years. Again, I may buy it! I just need to be aware when considering the price and my overall needs.
3. Ability to get updates.
Some sellers list the last time they updated a file in the product description. This isn’t mandatory, but it is kind. When I teach with my own creations, I create new activities, new lesson plans. I add those materials to the product. Some of my products (and other sellers say this too) contain soooooo many pieces that in no way could they be used for one class. I like to pick and choose – to find what works. I consider this a bonus for teacher created resources – we’re nice like that.
A seller who updates and is active on the site is likely to provide buyers with new materials – free of charge.
I believe these three factors directly contribute to the quality of materials. The quality should be evident. Looking at these factors should give greater insight into what you are getting for your hard-earned money.
Thankfully, we live in a time where teacher created resources are available for purchase, saving time and sleeping hours. Shopping for teaching supplies can overwhelm anyone. Narrow down your choices by looking at a few factors and discerning what will get you the overall best deal.
What tips do you have for buying teacher created products?