Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Um...that's not how this works

First, this is not meant as a personal attack on any individual TpT sellers but rather a blanket statement of frustration.

As a TpT seller myself, I work very hard on what I create.  First and foremost, it is created for my students.  I've found some amazing resources on TpT (both free and paid) that I love using in my classroom.  Overall, I have an extremely positive perception of TpT.

There is no review process before people upload products to TpT, which is why feedback from buyers and previews are so crucial.   A vast majority of what I've downloaded or paid for has been exactly as described, for which I'm thankful.

But lately I've noticed a trend on TpT that's a tad irksome.

Sellers are tagging their resources as being appropriate for several different grade levels.

I've also witnessed these products being used at my school.  Teachers will download products that say they're meant for a specific grade (say second), but upon examination, they are actually more of a kindergarten/first grade activity.  That's frustrating and deceptive to teachers.  

I don't think my colleagues want to use materials that are below grade level.  They trust that a passage deemed second grade truly is second grade, but that's not the case.  The material was marked K-2, which meant it was too easy for many of the students.  This happens all the time and teachers are unknowingly using materials that aren't challenging enough for students.  '

The blame is with TpT sellers overtagging their materials.

Now, I am slightly guilty of this because I tag my novel guides in 4th and 5th, despite only teaching fifth grade.

However, many of the novels are focused on Greek Mythology, which is a fourth grade literature standard under the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).   However, The Lightning Thief is used extensively in Jefferson County's long range reading plans, meaning the novel is frequently used as a mentor text in fifth grade.

Further more, these novels (by Rick Riordan) range from 4.6 to 5.3, which corresponds with the 4-5 Lexile band for reading.

Materials within one grade level (K/1, 1/2, 2/3, 4/5, 6-8, etc) tend to be appropriate.

However, reading passages should not be tagged as being K-4 or 2-6 grade appropriate.

 A second grader and a sixth grader should be reading very different passages.  Reading instruction should look very different in kindergarten versus fourth grade.

(I'm referring to materials meant for grade level, tier 1 instruction and not activities designed for intervention/extension (tiers 2 and 3). Whole group instruction should look very different in second grade compared to sixth grade.)

Materials shouldn't be marketed to K-3, because there are great differences between these grades and students' ability levels.  

So, fellow TpT sellers, please stop over tagging products.   An amazing activity for first grade should be labelled as just that, not tagged as something that's also appropriate for fourth graders.

With the upcoming annual sale, shop with caution fellow teachers!

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