Teach Starter: A Platform for Lesson Planning & Teachers

Teachers work long days and have little time to dedicate to planning lessons. Therefore, a resource like Teach Starter can significantly benefit teachers and their lesson plans – especially when it comes to teaching technology.

Teach Starter is a subscription-based site full of teaching resources for lesson plans. The platform’s primary aims are to provide as many easy-to-access teaching resources as possible and save teachers time planning their lessons. They also provide a large range of resources, including unit planning and activity book pages.

However, does Teach Starter achieve its goals to create a brilliant learning platform? Read on to learn the features of Teach Starter and any elements that are missing that Zenva Schools can provide.

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Who Is The Target Audience For Teach Starter?

As you would expect, Teach Starter is primarily for teachers. However, they stress that their resources are particularly for teachers who find the grind of teaching in the day and planning in the evening challenging and taxing. These are the teachers in the target market for Teach Starter and who the platform thinks will benefit most from their services. 

Who Created Teach Starter?

Jill Snape and Scott Tonges co-created Teach Starter in 2012. They were incredibly passionate about education but understood how difficult it could be to create or find adequate resources for lessons. 

Jill was a primary school teacher leading up to and during the creation of Teach Starter, so she knew what the site should focus on and the types of resources that teachers would find helpful. Therefore, she created all of the teaching content for the site. Essentially, it is a site for teachers, by a teacher.

Scott Tonges, on the other hand, focuses on digital technology and trends. He created the Teach Starter website and made all the graphic design art for the teaching resources.

Teach Starter: A Platform for Lesson Planning & Teachers

What Are The Primary Values Of Teach Starter?

Because Teach Starter markets directly to teachers, they want their fundamental values to be clear and accessible so teachers can understand their mission and decide if the site is the best fit for them. Here are the Teach Starter primary values.

  • Agency: The core value of Teach Starter is that a good teacher knows how to do their job without the site telling them. Therefore, the creators didn’t want the Teach Starter website to feel imposing or patronizing. Instead, they simply wanted to give teachers the tools and lay the groundwork to create lesson plans for their students.
  • Heart: Everyone at Teach Starter has to understand that teachers have incredible passion and dedication to their work. Therefore, they want to create teaching resources with the same level of passion, so teachers will want to use them.
  • Impact: Teach Starter aims to create teaching resources that will make a difference and provide value to teachers. They put effort into their resources by including clear goals and impactful lessons.
  • Simplicity: Creating teaching resources can be a long and complicated process for a teacher, so Teach Starter ensures that simplicity is one of their primary values. They want all their resources to be easy to understand and uncomplicated. They also want to make resources that are versatile and fit for purpose.
Teach Starter: A Platform for Lesson Planning & Teachers

What Does Teach Starter Offer To Teachers?

Teach Starter offers numerous tools and resources that teachers can use to create their lesson plans for their students.

Here are some of the primary resources that Teach Starter can offer teachers, and what Zenva Schools can offer to further the learning experience beyond Teach Starter’s capabilities.

Units And Lesson Plans

Although Teach Starter can offer many resources and tools for teachers to form their lesson plans, they also include fully formed lesson plans and units for teachers who don’t have the time to create resources every evening.

Teachers can access the units and lesson plans page on the Teach Starter home page. On this page, there are numerous complete lesson plans available. The page explains what the lesson plan includes, how long the lesson will take, how many lessons are in the plan, and more. There is also information for teachers explaining how to tackle the lesson plan and what else they can do to add to the lessons (activities with the students, etc.).

While Teach Starter certainly is beneficial in this regard, other sites like Zenva Schools do take it a step further. Not only do all Zenva Schools’ courses come with similar information (course length, number of lessons, etc.), the lesson plans available are tailored to various curriculum standards. As such, teachers throughout the world can rest assured that what they’re teaching matches what their particular school will require students to achieve.

On top of this, Zenva Schools also offers lots of supplementary material to support the lessons, including interactive activities, quizzes, text summaries of the lesson, and more – all easily downloadable at the click of a button.

Teach Starter: A Platform for Lesson Planning & Teachers

Curriculum Search

As well as pre-made lesson plans, there is a page for teachers to search through specific curriculums. There are KS1, KS2 Lower and KS2 Upper subjects on the curriculum search page.

When you click on the subject in the curriculum you want, the site will take you to a database of all the potential resources you can use (lessons, activities, etc.). You can narrow down the search on these pages by selecting the type of resource, the file format, and more.

Once again, it is worth noting Zenva Schools takes this a step further. Each course comes with a personalized lesson plan for various curriculum standards, including the Australian Digital Technologies curriculum, Common Core Standards in the US, and more. Zenva Schools also has a variety of different pages and filters that make it easy to find the resources you need, including filters by topic.

Resource Packs

Teach Starter has a database with resource pack bundles that group similar teaching resources together into an easy-to-access pack. Examples of the packs you can find on Teach Starter include multiplication speed drills, themed resource packs (animals, etc.), and more.

However, this is only relatively unique. To example again, while Zenva Schools doesn’t have a similar option, it does make it easy to find courses around specific topics – whether that be Python, Unity, or something else.

Resource Studio

On top of all the ready-made teaching resources, Teach Starter also includes a resource studio for teachers to create their own resources. Although they can do this without the studio, it gives them pre-made formats and templates to make the process quick and easy.

Similarly, though, platforms like Zenva Schools makes sure all their lesson plans are editable in a word document format. In this manner, teachers can tailor the plan to what suits their classroom best. Additionally, and as mentioned earlier, Zenva Schools offers downloadable supplements, including the full source code for projects featured. In this way, teachers get a robust amount of options to deal with how they want to customize their resources.

How Do You Use Teach Starter?

Teach Starter has tabs for all its features and resources. When you click on a page, it will clarify its purpose and place the teaching resources front and center. 

For example, the curriculum page lists all the subjects under the curriculums. Additionally, there are multiple search filters to help you find what you want to use for a lesson plan. There are also multiple formats available for download.

The site is also here to help teachers who struggle to create ideas for lessons and activities. One of their sections is the topics section, which has a subsection on topics that are currently trending. Teachers can use the topics section to find new ideas and see what other teachers are now using for lesson plans.

Although the layout is fairly effective, there are a lot of options! As such, it can be easy to get lost on the site. In comparison, sites like Zenva Schools keep things a bit more minimalistic, making it easy to compartmentalize and find the exact resources when a teacher would need. Thus, especially for technology teachers not as apt with technology, this can be a major boon when it comes to saving time.

What Are The Best Features Of Teach Starter?

Here are Teach Starter’s pros and cons, and what other platforms such as Zenva Schools can offer to those who want the missing Teach Starter features.

The Best Features Of Teach Starter

Here are the best aspects of Teach Starter.

  • Teach Starter has a massive list of resources available for teachers, including resource pack bundles, a curriculum resource database, and even a tool for creating resources.
  • Teach Starter has a transparent layout. Every resource you can access on the site is visible from the home page.
  • Teach Starter doesn’t overcomplicate its resources and makes its resource selection process very quick for teachers who don’t have a lot of time.

Are There Any Elements That Teach Starter Can Improve On?

Although there are multiple pricing tiers on Teach Starter, most of the most desirable features are locked in the most expensive tier. The lower tiers are limited to a selection of downloadable resources and some widgets. If you want the lesson plans, studio, and interactive powerpoints, you need to pay for the Plus tier.

Additionally, besides the lackluster pricing packages, Teach Starter is open to any teacher. So while they cover a robust collection of resources, that doesn’t make them experts in any particular one. So if you’re teaching digital technologies, for example, other teacher sites like Zenva Schools may be a bit more helpful due to their specific focus on those sorts of difficult topics.

Lastly, it is worth noting that Teach Starter is specifically aimed at helping teachers teach students. In terms of Professional Development, the site is lacking (especially in comparison to Zenva Schools who includes a separate page for teachers to track their own professional development with the material).

Teach Starter: A Platform for Lesson Planning & Teachers

What Do You Need To Pay For Teach Starter?

As mentioned above, along with its wide variety of teaching resources, Teach Starter also has multiple pricing tiers. These tiers vary drastically in price and included features. Here are all of the pricing tiers and the features you get with them:

  1. Free tier: As you would expect, this tier is completely free. It exists for teachers who want to test out the site before committing to a subscription. Because it’s free, the included features are limited:
  • Downloadable resources: Although you can’t access all the teaching resources, over 70 downloadable teaching resources are available on this tier.
  • Widgets: These are interactive apps and games you can access and use in lessons (for example, visual writing prompts generator). These are limited to four generators on this tier.
  1. Essential tier: The essential tier is for teachers who want to unlock more resources, but don’t want to pay for the expensive Plus tier. The essential tier costs 8.45 AUD per month or 99 AUD per year. Because this isn’t the top tier, the features are still limited, they include: 
  • Downloadable resources: Unlike the free version of Teach Starter, the essential tier has all the downloadable resources available on the site.
  • Widgets: These are interactive apps and games you can access and use in lessons (for example, visual writing prompts generator). These are limited to four generators on this tier.
  1. Plus tier: The Plus tier is the ultimate Teach Starter experience. It includes every available feature, so it understandably costs significantly more. The Plus tier costs 12.42 AUD per month or 149 AUD per year. Because of the cost, the Plus tier has many more features than the other pricing tiers. The features of the Plus tier include:
  • Downloadable resources: Like the Essential tier of Teach Starter, the Plus tier has all the downloadable resources available on the site.
  • Widgets: These are interactive apps and games you can access and use in lessons (for example, a visual writing prompts generator). Unlike the other pricing tiers, the Plus tier has all the available interactive widgets.
  • Editable teaching resources: Downloadable teaching resources that you can edit; the formats include PowerPoint, Word, and Google Classroom.
  • Lesson plans: As well as individual resources, you can download entire lesson plans if you have less time.
  • Resource bundles: If you like a particular resource, there is a resource bundle page that packages together similar activities and tools.
  • Resource Studio: There’s a resource studio tool that gives you templates to create your own teaching resources.
  • Pre-made interactive powerpoints: powerpoints to engage students; they are complete and ready to download.

Of course, for teachers on a budget, this sort of pricing structure may be on the high-end. This is especially considering the site itself emphasizes the teacher’s full control over the material. While this can be a positive, it also means teachers still have to put in a lot of time and effort to prep material for their class.

In comparison, sites like Zenva Schools may be a better option depending on classroom needs. For example, Zenva Schools is intended to be used directly in the classroom by students – not just teachers. So while teachers get access to lesson plans, students can access the learning resources directly without the teacher needing to print out anything if they don’t want to.

As a bonus, Zenva Schools comes with a ton of other useful features, such as the ability to track student progress with analytics.

In addition, Zenva Schools has a much simpler pricing structure. Most teachers will pay per student on a yearly basis, and get access to every single course and material offered – no secret charges apply!

Final Summary Of What Teach Starter Can Offer You

Teach Starter can offer teachers multiple resources and tools to create compelling lesson plans. Some of these features include PDF resource downloads, interactive widgets, completed downloadable lesson plans, bundles of teaching resources, and pre-made interactive powerpoints.

However, that does not mean the platform is lacking. Between a complicated pricing structure and the need for teachers to still do a lot of legwork, it’s not always the best choice. Additionally and to reiterate, most of Teach Starter’s features are only available via the highest-priced tier.

Thus, while teachers can certainly benefit, Zenva Schools can offer a lot more with much more prepared material that can be used out-of-the-box within a classroom setting. As such, Teach Starter is a great platform – but one that is made even better when paired with other tools.

If you’re from a K12 school and want to try out our platform, fill out the form below.

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