Conquer Your Quest to Find the Best Resources

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Do your kiddos ever struggle with a certain skill or a specific subject, and you think…if I could just find the perfect resource to help them?  You don’t necessarily want to buy a whole new curriculum or even an entire book, but you need something that will target the gap your kiddos have.

Those are the same thoughts I used to have…until I found TeachersPayTeachers

TpT is an open marketplace where teachers share resources they have created.  I love that I can find exactly what I’m looking for at a reasonable price; and when I purchase something, I am supporting teachers, just like you and me.  As of today, there are 2.4 MILLION teaching resources on the site!!

Yes, you heard me right…2.4 MILLION, and 390,760 are completely FREE!

Honestly, you can find anything and everything on TpT, which is both amazing and absolutely overwhelming.  Because it is so vast, there’s no way to see everything offered on the site.  So, to make maneuvering it manageable, I have put together a comprehensive set of posts to help you make the most of your TpT shopping experience.  Here’s what you will be learning…

  • In this post, you will learn how to develop a strategy for conquering TpT, and YES…you do need a strategy!  What I am sharing with you will completely change your approach.
  • The next post in this series will help you maximize your searches on TpT so that you are seeing more of the resources that interest YOU.
  • The final post will help you stretch your hard-earned dollars on TpT so that you get the most value for the money.

So, are you ready to conquer TeachersPayTeachers?  Let’s get started!

The very first thing you need to do BEFORE you visit the TpT site is to create a strategy.  Remember, 2.4 MILLION resources are currently listed.  This means you need to ask and answer four questions to guide you and focus your search.

1.  Why Are You Shopping?

Where are the best educational resources?

This may sound like a silly question, but think about it…

  • Are you shopping because you need a specific resource?
  • Do you need some ideas for an evaluation?
  • Are you trying to focus on a specific set of skills?
  • Do you need to purchase an entire curriculum?
  • Are you just bored and want to see what’s new?

Why are you shopping?

Let’s face it…TpT can be a time waster just like social media.  And we both know that if we aren’t careful, we could browse for 3 hours!  {It doesn’t seem possible until you’ve done it.}  Then you’re left asking yourself, “Why did I come on this site?  What in the world was I looking for?”  If you go to TpT knowing why you are there, it will make your experience so much more enjoyable.

So, the first thing you must determine is why you are shopping.

2.  Who Are You Shopping For?

Finding teaching resources

After you nail down why you’re shopping, you need to know who you are shopping for.  This may sound like an odd consideration, but it will make a huge difference in how you filter your search.

For example, if you are shopping for products to help a struggling reader in 3rd grade, don’t assume you need to start with reading products in 3rd grade.  In all likelihood, your search needs to begin one or two grade levels below that kiddo’s current grade to find the best resource to meet the needs.

However, be mindful when looking at all of the products that the clip art and design of the products aren’t too “baby-ish” for the child.  In other words, if your 5th grader is struggling with reading comprehension, don’t purchase a product with cutesy clip art on it.

A kiddo who is struggling is probably quite aware of the fact that the activities you are having him complete are below his grade level, and purchasing resources with adorable clipart designed for younger children is only going to make that child feel frustrated.  So, just be mindful of who they are, and what they need.

So the second thing to determine is who the resource will be for.

3. What Are You Shopping For?

Resources that help you teach

You’re probably thinking, “I already know what I’m shopping for!”  However, you may NOT have evaluated every aspect of what you want.  Have you considered grade range, subject area, price, and type of resource?

I’m sure you know the subject and grade you’re exploring, but only having those two pieces won’t narrow down your search very well.  Remember, there are 2.4 MILLION products to filter through, and while knowing you want 3rd grade English is helpful, you’ll still find 5,200 results.  So, being able to refine your quest for the perfect resource by price range and type are imperative.

Price

Save yourself time and heartache, by deciding how much you’re willing {and able} to spend on the resource BEFORE you begin bulldozing your way through millions of products.

You and I both know that we can find the perfect product for the IMPERFECT price.  I can go to the high-end clothing stores, and drool over all of the fabulous clothes.  But if I only have $50 to spend, I will end up either leaving frustrated and sad with no clothes, or having purchased something using my credit card with a price tag that rivals my mortgage!  So do yourself a favor, and just decide how much you can spend.  Then narrow your search accordingly.

Type

Now, you may know everything except the type of resource you want to purchase, and that’s ok.  Sometimes, I like to check out a variety of resources before I make my decision because I want to simply see what is available!  There is nothing wrong with this IF you already know the other three components that the resource must have.   Make sure you realize that not narrowing down the type will give you many more results.

If you would like to lessen the number of results you get in an effort to save time, consider asking yourself a few questions like these…

  • Are you looking for Task Cards?
  • Are you in need of worksheets?
  • Do you want to start using Interactive Notebooks?
  • Will the resources be used with one kiddo, a small group, or a large group?
  • Do you need a resource that spans a year?

Knowing what you are searching for will be the third thing to consider when shopping on TpT.

4.  When Should You Shop?

Best educational resources

This is the last big question for you to answer before you log on to TpT.  The obvious answer is always shop during a sale!  However, we all know that we need products when we need them, and inevitably, it will be the day after a sale.

If you find yourself in need of a resource immediately because one of your kiddos is struggling, just make the purchase.  We’re in education because we love kiddos and want what’s best for them…even if it means spending more time and money than we intend sometimes.  Life doesn’t always happen the way we want it to, and education is certainly no exception.

However, if you aren’t in desperate need of a specific product, consider waiting to make the purchase.  If you choose to make a last-minute purchase, you’ll end up buying the first thing you see, and not taking the time to compare the options.  

Most of the time, it results in a product that is good, but isn’t exactly what you really wanted or needed.  I know this because I’ve done it.  More than once in my teaching career, I was found frantically printing and laminating task cards 3 minutes before I was due to pick up my kiddos from lunch.  Not my proudest teaching moments.

TeachersPayTeachers can be a teacher’s best friend or greatest nemesis.  Take just five minutes before logging onto the website to consider the four questions we have examined.  

Finding the best teaching resources on Teachers Pay Teachers is daunting!  With over 3 million products to choose from, it is easy to get confused.  However, you can narrow down and find only the best of TpT!  Discover the strategy you need to implement.  I never even considered 3 and 4!!  #TpT #teachers #homeschoolers

Remember, why you are shopping, and who you are shopping for.  Then, narrow down what you are shopping for, and remind yourself to be a savvy shopper whenever possible.  This will guarantee you are maximizing your TpT searches.