What is Teaching Resources? Who is Laura Candler? How did this site develop? If you’ve ever wondered, this is the place to find out! Knowing a little about my background may help you better understand the resources on this site. There's lots to share, so I divided it into three sections to make it easy to find what interests you.
I'm a classroom teacher who loves teaching and has spent years writing books and developing a huge online collection of lessons and printables. I taught for 30 years in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade, so my resources tend to appeal to upper elementary and middle school teachers. In addition, my teaching style includes many active engagement strategies such as cooperative learning, interactive whiteboard use, and learning centers. I have a passion for sharing those types of lessons with other teachers. I guess what I like to do best is find the most powerful teaching strategies and make them easy to implement. I'm currently taking a year off from the classroom so I can create more resources and learn more about how to use technology in the classroom, but I'll be back in the fall of this year.
If you visited this page to learn about my credentials, you can visit Laura’s Bio for my educational background and a list of my published books. If you want to learn the Teaching Resources story, read on!
Ever since I started teaching almost 30 years ago, I’ve loved collaborating with other educators and sharing teaching ideas. I enjoy attending workshops and learning new strategies, and when they work for me, I want to share them. The most powerful workshop I attended was a cooperative learning workshop by Laurie Kagan of Kagan Cooperative Learning. Those strategies revolutionized my teaching, so I submitted a book proposal that combined my lesson ideas with Kagan’s cooperative learning methods. My proposal was accepted, and I eventually wrote six books for Kagan; those books are still in print and available from www.kaganonline.com.
In 1997, I logged onto the Internet for the first time. I immediately loved its collaborative spirit. I joined an active discussion group and enjoyed learning new ideas and sharing materials online. I knew I wanted my own website, so I taught myself FrontPage and created Teaching Resources. I needed a way to organize all the activities I wanted to share, so it seemed natural to create an online File Cabinet organized with file drawers for each subject. Through the years I added other web pages with strategy information such as Cooperative Learning, Literature Circles, and Mastery Learning.
For the first 10 years, everything on my website was free. I had not written any Power Packs, but I did have hundreds of free printables in my File Cabinet. Earning money from my site wasn’t even a consideration at that point. Then reality hit in 2007 when I realized that my two teenage daughters, Wendy and Amy, were getting close to college age and my teaching salary wouldn't cover the cost of their education. I decided to turn my website into a business by writing some books and offering them for sale on my site. I hoped that if people liked my free materials, they might be willing to pay for additional materials that were more comprehensive and complete. Thankfully, I was right!
As a teacher without any business experience, learning how to turn my website into a business was quite an experience. I was lucky to have someone guide me through the whole process in a step-by-step manner. Soon I began sending out Candler’s Classroom Connections, my email newsletters, and I wrote my first Power Pack. After a few months of operating as a business, I took a long, hard look at my website. I realized that the whole website needed to be overhauled and rebuilt. It was like an old quilt that had been patched together in too many places, and it needed a fresh new look. By following links from a site that I liked, I found Doug Brown Design, a company located right in North Carolina where I live. Doug came up with the design for this site, and I loved it immediately. But it took many more months and many thousands of dollars to create all the pages, move all the content, and link all the files. I’m pleased with the result, and I hope you find the site easy to navigate and fun to use.
When 24 Hours Isn't Enough
For three years I worked hard as a teacherpreneur, remaining equally dedicated to my students and customers. After hours of grading papers and planning lessons, I would reply to customer inquiries and help people download their purchases. During those years, I was teaching full-time, writing books, teaching workshops, adding new content to my website, and publishing a bi-weekly newsletter. People frequently asked me how I managed to do it all!
By the spring of 2010, I realized that I had no life outside of school and business, and something had to change. I wasn't ready to leave the teaching profession altogether, but I knew that I needed some time off to hire some help and organize my business. Fortunately, I had enough years of teaching experience and days of sick leave to qualify for retirement, so I officially retired. Well, things didn't work out as planned because when my year was up, I found that jobs were non-existent in my area. I realized that while I loved the classroom, I also enjoyed staying at home creating resources for teachers. So for the time being, that's what I'm doing!
For a few years I had an assistant working with me, but in 2013 I moved all of my sales to TeachersPayTeachers.com and I didn't have as much of a need for an assistant. I'm now working on my own again and trying to manage it all!
I am grateful to the teachers who share the Teaching Resources website and Candler’s Classroom Connections with their colleagues! Every time you purchase a Power Pack or Mini Pack, you are helping me to keep the Teaching Resources site online and full of free content. I also appreciate the active participation on the Teaching Resources Facebook page where caring educators from all over the world share great strategies, helpful websites, and excellent resources with each other. Thanks for your ongoing support and willingness to collaborate!
You'll find some affiliate links scattered throughout my site, but they are only for books or items that I would recommend myself, although I'm not actually the Amazon affiliate myself. The official statement I'm required to include on my website is as follows, "Sheila Colby is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com."