Saturday, June 18, 2011

Featured Seller: Anna Colley

1.   How long have you been on Teachers Pay Teachers?  What made you decide to be a part of it?
I’m not sure exactly when I joined TpT, but I think it has been about 3 years. I saw the potential to provide some quality resources to other teachers so that they didn’t have to recreate the wheel, and to make a little extra pocket money at the same time. I absolutely love it now. What I didn’t anticipate was how much I would enjoy polishing my resources for sale. Taking the extra time to think about design and add additional elements gave me a chance to be creative, and brought my resources to a new level. I wasn’t spending as much time creating the resources before I started selling.

2.   When did you know that you wanted to be in education?
I always dreamed of teaching from the time I was a little girl! I remember playing school with my brother when he was 2 years old and I was 10. I provided my mom with a report card showing his progress! J

3.   How are you currently involved in education?
I was a 4th grade teacher for 10 years before moving into technology. I am now a school technology coordinator at a public, special needs school that serves 3 and 4 year olds and young adults aged 18-21. I have really found my niche with this new job, and I anticipate creating some additional resources for early childhood, young adults, and special education for my store. I’ll also continue to create new resources for upper elementary.

4.   What would be your advice to people who are considering joining Teachers Pay Teachers?
Do it! It’s a small amount of work to polish your existing creations for a consumer audience, but it will continue to pay off passively for a long time to come. It’s nice to know that when things get crazy busy and I can’t dedicate the time to my store, it’s still earning me money! That keeps me coming back to create more quality educational materials when I do have the time. If you have a friend who is already a seller, use his or her referral link. I have had a few friends join without listing me as a referral, and that was kind of a bummer. It’s no different for your profits either way, and it builds up your friend’s profits.

5.   What has been a highlight, thus far, about being on Teachers Pay Teachers?
I have had quite a bit of extra cash, and have been able to treat myself to some toys that I really wanted—like my iPhone 4! It has also been creatively satisfying to polish my teaching resources up and make them more attractive for buyers. I’ve done my best work, curriculum design-wise, since starting to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. I think I have found a latent interest in graphic design, and I’ve had a lot of fun putting that to use.

6.   What is something fun about you that other teachers don’t know?
I worked my way through college in the movie theater business. That’s where I met my husband! He started out as an usher when I was a concession girl, though we both worked our way up into management before giving it up for work with more regular hours.

7.   Do you participate in education outside of the classroom?  In what type of role?
I am a Girl Scout leader, which is a lot like teaching! I also facilitate Disciple Bible Study for adults in my church. Disciple is an in-depth, 32-34 week study. The first study covers 80% of the Bible in about 8 months. I absolutely love it.

8.   What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I’d love to try graphic design! Thanks to my Teachers Pay Teachers endeavors, I’ve had the chance to dabble in that field, and it has been fun and satisfying for me.

9.   What profession would you not like to do?
I don’t think I’d like to do any kind of work that involves being outside most of the time. I just don’t like to be too cold or too hot.

10.                Who is your favorite author?  Favorite educational author?  And why?
It’s always hard to answer questions about favorite authors. How can I truly narrow it down to one?! I can give you a sampling of some of my favorites. For “grownup” books I like Lorna Landvik, Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, Robin Jones Gunn, Neta Jackson, Greg Koukl, Jodi Picoult, Michael Crichton, Richard Preston, Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, and Stephenie Meyer. For children’s books I really like Maurice Sendak, Gary Paulsen, Andrew Clements, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Eric Carle, Mo Willems, E.L. Konigsburg, Judy Schachner, Dr. Seuss, Judith Viorst, Madeleine L’Engle (again), C. S. Lewis (again), Suzanne Collins, Lois Lowry, and Roald Dahl.
For adult books, I really enjoy books that immerse you in another world (fantasy or sci-fi) and books that are really true to life, examining the intricacies of relationships over years. I also have an interest in Christian apologetics, so I read some nonfiction as well. For children’s books, I like silly, funny books like Skippyjon Jones, as well as books that really examine serious themes like The Giver or The Hunger Games, or books that deal with character development or relationships, like Hatchet or A Wrinkle in Time. When I think of all of my favorite children’s books, I would read them even if I had no children to share them with. Great children’s books are good no matter what age you are.

by Anna Colley

-Author’s Purpose File Folder Game “Author’s Porpoise”
When I saw that there was a demand for author’s purpose materials on TpT, I created this file folder game which can be used as a center or even sent home for parents and children to play together. The download includes everything you need to create a beautiful, full-color themed file folder game: cover, game board, 36 self-checking question cards, and complete directions for both teacher and students.

-Simple Machines Resource Pack
I found it difficult to find materials to support our curriculum for simple machines in 4th grade, so I ended up making many resources myself. This pack includes 7 different resources for teaching your unit on simple machines: questions for the Bill Nye video, crossword puzzle with picture clues (great for ELL), flashcards, vocabulary Power Point, scavenger hunt activity, unit study guide, and unit test.


  1. Great article! I was thinking about starting a first grade blog and selling on TPT, but I am just sort of overwhelmed by it all...and then confused about what clip art and fonts I can use if I offer a product that is free vs. a product that I am selling. I've bought a few clip art sets from Lettering Delights- but not the commercial license. I'm also afraid of doing all this work and not making anything off of it. Ughh... But then I look at products of yours and am so inspired to try! =)Jennifer

  2. Thank you for your kind words Jennifer! The blog thing can require a large time commitment to manage, so you may want to start with TpT and then decide where to go from there once your store gets off the ground. You could consider contributing to our blog to get some of the exposure of a blog without so much work. There's a "Join Tchr2Tchr" link at the top right of each page.

    As far as clip art and fonts go, there have been quite a few discussions about these topics on the seller forums that can help you figure it out. To start with, I'd say that if a clip art designer offers a commercial license, I'd assume you'll need that to use their work. To be sure what the permissions are for using clip art or fonts, you need to read the Terms of Use provided by the artist.

    Good luck with your ventures!


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