As I am also a teacher and a full time doctoral student, my time is limited. Summer is my primary time to create new products. My husband helps with the basic setup – he enters the information into each presentation and does rough formatting, but I go through and review every lesson to ensure that the flow makes sense, as if I was teaching that lesson. This includes rephrasing awkward wording, adding various timing features to the text, ensuring that it is visually appealing for the students and teacher, etc.
In addition, I consider how students will react to the presentations, including how distracted students might become if I add too much or not enough. I think about the font (seriously) as I explicitly remember my 2nd grade class going off on a 15 minute tangent because the “cutesy” font made the letters look different than how they were taught to write. So, in the middle of my math lesson, I had to explain what font choices were and why designers use them and emphasize why they really weren’t relevant to the math content. Can you imagine if that happened during an observation?! Also, the clip art I use is carefully chosen to ensure no tangents similar to the font tangent to occur. Again, I learned from experience – “Why does that kid look so funny?” “REALLY – why are his hands circles?” and on and on and on. So, my buyers benefit from my experience.
The creation process from start to finish is incredibly lengthy. I would estimate that each lesson requires at least one full day to complete. Now, multiply that by 150+ lessons. THEY ARE VERY TIME CONSUMING TO CREATE.
Once my products are complete, they don’t do teachers any good if they’re sitting on my computer, therefore I must dedicate time to uploading them to my TpT store which can take 5-10 minutes for each one (times 150+ lessons). All this doesn’t include any of the time (or money) I spend to search out and procure the digital papers, fonts, clip art, etc. When I actually sat down and considered all of the various pieces of creating my products, I was astounded. If a teacher would spend 2-3 hours creating a lesson and they earn (for argument’s sake) $20/hour – that resource is in effect, worth $40-$60.
I think my price of $3 seems fair.
For the last three years, I worked as full time as a teacher and also attended school full time, as I was working toward earning a doctorate. Thankfully, that crazy train has ended - I earned my Ed.D. in Learning and Innovation last May. I learned so much, and now I realize exactly how little I really know! During my dissertation journey, I researched roles that educative curriculum materials can play in teacher learning. I thoroughly believe that teachers learn right alongside their students - and that's how it should be. I experienced this myself when I was a corporate trainer and I still do as a classroom teacher.
Curriculum materials, such as textbooks, are ubiquitous in schools. We have all experienced reading from a textbook and recognize that the information provided in those standard curriculum materials is typically solely for the students. My focus, educative curriculum materials (ECMs), can include textbooks or other common classroom curriculum materials, but what sets ECMs apart is their ability to help to increase teachers' knowledge, not just student knowledge. These kinds of materials help teachers develop more general knowledge that they can apply flexibly in new situations.
Teacher’s manuals can certainly increase teacher’s knowledge, but if the reader skims the material instead of noting all the tips and tricks that are included, and reflecting deeply on how the information can be applied to their own pedagogical practice, the manual will fail to provide the teacher with new knowledge that can be applied in different situations.
My goal was to find a way to make the teacher's manuals more accessible to teachers. Quite honestly, no teacher has the time to read those huge manuals for each subject. It's too much, and it's not reasonable to expect them to do so.
Curious what I learned? Keep reading! The next post will give you more information about my journey!
I've been working on creating video previews for a few of my products on TpT. I really think they'll help buyers know more about the product and ensure that they are satisfied with their purchase. I bought a program called Movavi and it works really well. What programs to you use to create videos?
As I was dreading the afternoons with my classes after testing, I knew I had to come up with a few creative ideas to keep the kiddos active, busy and engaged.
Testing week is a challenge as I teach math to the entire 4th grade, so during testing weeks, there are a few classes that I see every day, some that I might see only once or twice and there are even years when I don't see specific classes at all during that week, so regular teaching is out. I can't really plan lessons because I want everyone to stay on the same track.
Typically, I opt for review games and centers to keep to some sort of routine. Enter my TpT search. Was I ever glad I went looking because I found a phenomenal teacher-author!
Math in the Middle creates online review games that are super fun and keep the students engaged. I'm truly amazed at what some teachers create and would love to be a fly on the wall in their classrooms. I leave feeling inspired and I must admit, a little bit jealous of their talent! I'm so thankful that these creative souls share their products with us and I'm happy to pay $5 knowing it's going to another teacher and that my time with the kiddos will be fun and educational. Win-Win for everyone!
What are some of your favorite TpT finds?
There are a lot of educators offering pre-made lesson presentations for Engage NY math. Most are priced very competitively and include cute fonts and clip art. So, how do you decide which product is best for you?
Before you make that decision, you should understand what these products are and how they can be used. These products are tools, NOT replacements for your experience as a teacher. They will not magically teach your class for you.
What the presentations are meant to do is to help you save hours of prep time and provide a colorful, informative background as you instruct your students. That being said, be sure to review the slides BEFORE you teach to ensure that you understand the main take-away of the lesson. This way you can integrate your personal experiences and keep your kiddos engaged (no pun intended!).
Tip #1 Make sure the presentation is compatible with your classroom technology.
There are multiple types of software available and each school seems to have purchased something different. If you have a Smart board, you will want to use compatible software and there are excellent presentations that are designed for this technology that allow you to move items on the board and create an interactive experience. For the rest of us, purchasing this format doesn’t make sense as we don’t Smart board software that run .notebook files.
The most universal type of software is a PDF (portable document file) and should work on almost every type of computer. Most products will list what type of format they were developed for in the description. Be sure to check your classroom technology before you purchase a product.
Until I took the time and really started reading posts about Pinterest, I didn't understand (or believe) that it had so much power. Well, I've been working on this during the summer and I'm here to tell you - it does, it REALLY, REALLY does. Prior to the summer, I used Pinterest occasionally to pin items that I found to be interesting to me personally, not really caring if anyone else liked what I was pinning or not. That was fine for that purpose. However, I wanted to see if I could really increase traffic to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and therefore, increase sales. The answer is, without a doubt, YES. Now, in all honesty I had paid Pinterest to promote a few of my pins before sales and things but after that - well, see for yourself. The number of monthly viewers has (at least for me) turned into increased sales that I could not have believed if I hadn't experienced it myself.
Now, I'm not turning into Deanna Jump (but who is?), but I can tell you this increase will help me pay extra toward my student loans that I'm incurring while pursuing my doctorate and I am very grateful. I'm also slightly proud of the positive reception my products have had from teachers. I made them for myself in my own classroom and I'm so glad to see that other teachers find them as useful as I do.
them. The cool fence backgrounds with the adorable clip art kiddos - they're just too cute. I really appreciate the artistic talent these clip artists have - they're so creative.
What I really love about these, is that in the products themselves, I didn't use any of my fancy fonts because I knew buyers wouldn't have them on their computers and I didn't want them to have to buy anything else. So just using the regular, standard fonts I was able to show how wonderful covers can look!
PowerPoint really is versatile and once you learn how to navigate the program, you can do quite a bit.
I hope buyers take a look and that they love them as much as I do!
Consider this - if, everyday, I am expected to teach a brand new lesson in phonics/reading, math, social studies, science and English language arts, when am I going to have time to review the lessons in those teacher manuals? Um, never.
I've been teaching for a few years now and I've never had "down" time during the day, or quite honestly, even the year! Even those of us with the best intentions wind up doing everything else during our prep period other than reading through all the material we have to review. There's some good stuff in those books, but you have to be able to spend the time and read every page and take notes. We're all trying to survive on the Cliff's Notes versions.
So, how did I remedy this?
I'm sure I've committed some sort of Pinterest Faux Pas because I uploaded EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT (okay, not really - but many) to my board today. I still don't understand the etiquette and I've committed to study it more, but I was so excited that my products were DONE, I just had to get them out there.
Additionally, I watched some videos on making Pinterest Pins. Apparently, I haven't been doing that right either! Good grief. I'll get there I guess. Here are a few attempts. I learned on TpT that you can assign them specific links and then you can see which one brings you the most traffic. SO MUCH INFO!
Which one will people respond to best? I'm not sure. What do you think? Asked the hubby and he said he loved them all - isn't he the best?!
Okay, I'm off to make more covers - this is too fun!
I have been on Teachers Pay Teachers for a few years now selling the SMART board files I use to teach math. However, I came across some clip-art by a very talented individual and I was so inspired, I learned how to create the animated .gifs that everyone has in their quote boxes.
I have to say, I was pretty impressed with myself! I didn't do any ground breaking research, but I did have to continue to work at the process until I found something that worked. It took a looooooong time. I almost walked away, but I decided to take a deep breath and keep plugging along.
The end result was worth it I think. I hope other sellers do too. Take a look at a few of them here and let me know what you think!
I have several styles up at my store. Come take a look - they're under my Custom Categories --> Animated Quote Boxes.
Elementary Teacher/ Teacherpreneur
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