Mike Amos-Simpson, the author behind Thinky Publishing, talks about his international experiences, why he sells on TES and his motivations for creating resources.
Tell us about your professional background.
My early work was with young people in various settings, including young offenders, young carers and out-of-school programmes. Later, I helped to develop youth leadership programmes before setting up a national residential programme supporting young people in low-income communities to organise community projects.
Over ten years, we worked with hundreds of groups and established a team of young trainers, many of whom are now teachers. The work took me to some unexpected places including Europe, Tanzania and Malawi.
I returned to Africa several times and we had regular requests to teach English. I wanted to do something that had a more lasting benefit and so I began to work with schools in the UK to help them create illustrated story books that were shared with children in Malawi and other countries.
What did you set out to achieve with Thinky Publishing?
My aim is to create good quality resources that inspire both teachers and students. In terms of what it’s about, I have two main interests.
The first is project-based learning through group work. Later in the year I’ll have some new resources for those interested in using group work and social action to support character building.
My other interest is based on my work helping schools create illustrated storybooks. The Monster Punctuation series is the result of this and I have plans for more story-making and writing-related resources.
The majority of your resources focus on punctuation. Why did you choose this topic?
When I make books, I edit the stories provided by schools and it’s obvious that punctuation can be tricky not just for students, but for teachers too.
The new series I’m working on is called Unpunctuated. It’s full of creative writing challenges to help students develop their understanding of punctuation and to build up their confidence with writing sentences.
It’s all linked to the latest curriculum guidance and I’ve broken down the mechanical language of grammar to be as simple as possible with the aim of enabling those teachers without an English degree to be able to enjoy teaching the subject.
What made you want to sell your resources on TES?
Physical resources need a lot of upfront outlay and space for storage. I’ve been interested in making digital resources for a while, but it’s only quite recently that it’s become a more realistic option.
Not only is it convenient and efficient for teachers, but also for me as it means I can easily adapt and develop resources without having to wait until a certain number of copies have been sold, as is the case with physical products.
I’m hoping in time that teachers will become more involved in feeding back on how resources can best be adapted for their needs too.
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