In 2018, I became aware of Product Pals and, honestly, it has enriched my life and teaching experience so much. Getting to field test great Teachers Pay Teachers products on my own students and write reviews is only the half (or really maybe the fourth) of it! I have collaborated with some extraordinarily creative and innovative educators over the course of the last few months and look forward to continuing to do so. In addition, I have gotten some great feedback on one of my own products.
Let me start with February. First of all, I should apologize to Let’s Be Franco and Fifth in the Forest because I don’t think I did their shout-outs justice! I absolutely loved their products, as did my students, but I didn’t take nearly enough pictures. Let’s Be Franco’s product is a collection of Growth Mindset lessons, posters, a slide show, and more that would be great any time of year, but would be phenomenal at the beginning of the school year.
I also filmed my students learning something new which was an amazing, hands-on way for them to apply having a growth mindset to their own lives. Thank you, Let’s Be Franco for this great lesson.
Fifth in the Forest’s product is a Civil Rights Movement Slide Show and Study Guide that was absolutely perfect for Black History Month. My fifth graders really enjoyed taking notes like middle schoolers and high schoolers, as well as learning more about segregation, passive resistance, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Jackie Robinson, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, freedom rides, the March on Washington, the KKK, Brown v. Board of Education, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, and other topics. They were fascinated by the fact that Ruby Bridges is still alive and that Linda Brown was also still alive in February. They couldn’t believe that these events happened so recently. This presentation led to some great discussions and some clearing up of misconceptions. My students didn’t really understand that the Montgomery Bus Boycott was local because the Black citizens of Montgomery were protesting their mistreatment on city buses whereas the Freedom Riders’ protest was national because they were protesting the mistreatment of Black citizens on buses that carried passengers across the nation.
In March and April, I was able to find some testers for my own Poetic Elements Gallery Walk and I absolutely loved the variety of ways the testers implemented my product! The Instagram Shout-Outs were incredible, too. Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, check these out!
During April, I was able to test two fantastic products: Reading Trifolds and Vocabulary Graphic Organizers. The versatility of the trifold product by Miss P’s Style is outstanding. They can be printed on brightly colored paper or white paper and the teacher can decide what books or passages s/he wants to use with the trifolds.
The range of activities in the Vocabulary Pack by Pencils and Playgrounds is so great that it is a product that could be used throughout the year for so many different units of study! My students chose their own words from their independent reading books, but a teacher could also use common vocabulary from science, social studies, math, or a class read aloud for students to study.
In May, I jumped at the chance to test additional products from Miss P’s Style and Pencils and Playgrounds. I have finished testing Miss P’s Reading Graphic Organizers which are so versatile! My students and I loved the full color, laminated card stock sheets for reuse, but teachers could also print them in black and white on colorful paper (or white paper) for one time use. Using the graphic organizers during small group discussions was terrific. We read articles and focused on cause and effect, determining important information, and drawing conclusions, but (like the trifolds) you could use any fiction or nonfiction text for a lesson with any of these organizers. My students LOVED using the sticky notes and I’ll bet yours will, too.
I am currently wrapping up my product test on Text-Based Evidence Reading Passages – Summer by Pencils and Playgrounds. (May is over on Thursday, right? Thank goodness for a 31 day month!) Look for my post on Instagram this week. I will say that these passages are delightful and are getting my students (and me) excited for summer. I love that both fiction and nonfiction passages are included in the packet.
Finally (you thought I’d keep going on forever, didn’t you?), I want to share feedback on products that I field tested as well as feedback I received from testers of my products. Teachers really are a fantastic group of people. I love Product Pals so much. I hope that if you’re reading this and have never participated that you will during the 2018-19 school year. I’d like to give shout-outs to people who tested my products: The Crazy CATcus Lady, The Gypsy Teacher, Draz’s Class, and Memoirs of an Educator. My final shout-out goes to Thompson’s Teachings and from September to Mrs. May for coming up with this wonderful idea!