August 22, 2014

Flash Freebie Friday!

My brand new product at Teachers Pay Teachers is free Friday, August 22 until 9:00 p.m. Pacific time.  I hope you love it.  Please leave positive feedback if you do!  Thanks!

August 19, 2014

Ode to Crayola!

Is there anything better than brand new box of crayons? It's one of my favorite things about August - $0.50 sales at Target.  That delicious Crayola scent when you open a fresh box signals a fresh start and endless possibilities!   I have no plans for this brand new box just yet, but it's fun not to know.  Happy creating!

August 9, 2014

It's Good for Your Character:

In my spare time, I like to create lesson plans for my store on Teachers Pay Teachers.  While I thoroughly enjoy creating these plans, I'll admit I enjoy it even more when said plans are purchased.  There's this lovely little phone app that emits a glorious "cha-ching" when items sell.  It's a splendid little self-esteem booster, an electric jolt of validation straight to your warm and fuzzy core!

Last week, a site-wide sale was planned.  Many people make what can only be described as sick money during sale events.  I found my sales to be underwhelming.  Correction: My sale...singular...was utterly demoralizing...temporarily.  I posted the following on the Seller's Forum to a board where sellers share good news, and whether or not you have anything to do with Teachers Pay Teachers, if you've ever been acquainted with failure, this might be of interest:


Disappointed in your BTS sale?

Me too.

You might be discouraged and deflated and questioning the value of your work.

Me too.

You might feel your phone’s silence signals some final judgment on your worth.  (Where’s that sweet “cha-ching" ?! Is my phone on silent?!)

Me too.

Yesterday, this was where I was at – feeling pretty miserable.  Today, I’m shifting perspective.  There are thousands of amazing products on TPT.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more.  There must be thousands of kinds of and ways to enjoy chocolate – that doesn’t stop me from trying new ones!  Just this last weekend, a friend of mine showed me ‘smores “nachos"  courtesy of Pinterest.  They were a delight and made me think, “Where have you been all my life? How could I not know about these?!"   Someone could wonder the same about my lesson plans one day.  That day wasn’t Monday or Tuesday, but it could be Wednesday or next week, or next year.

I can quit today, or I can decide this failure will make a great story when my store is more successful down the line.  How proud I will be at some future TPT conference to tell people, “I sold only one item at the BTS Sale of 2014.  I was so depressed about it, I almost quit.  Instead, I put my head down, focused on improving my products and marketing and found my way, and look at me now!"
Last year, I don’t recall doing well at this sale.  My sales usually peak late winter and spring, (and that peak is quite modest by most sellers’ standards, I think).  But this year was different.  This year I tried harder and differently.  I updated product covers and content, added Common Core, went to the Vegas conference, started a blog, a FB page, and got on Pinterest.  Trying and failing is hard and stings much more than failing without effort.  It shakes your confidence.  It tricks you into believing failure at a task is equivalent to failure as a person.  Perhaps rather than buying into that fallacy, we should take these opportunities to practice the persistence and resilience we preach to our students when they struggle with reading or adding fractions.

So today I will pick myself off the ground and regroup.

Here is what I know:
  • I need to focus on adding more products.
  • My current product offering is not focused for fall, so I shouldn’t be surprised I missed the BTS frenzy.
  • My products could use some clip art make-overs (I’ve done one round already – you should have seen them  before!)
  • My content is very good: kid-tested & teacher-approved! 
  • I am down, but not out.  I can and will figure out how to be good at this.  
  • Success doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen at all if I quit.  
  • “Comparison is the thief of joy."  – Teddy Roosevelt. (Thank you, Rachel Lynette, for sharing this quote at TPT  conference!)
  • There is no such thing as too many ways to enjoy chocolate.  smile

It might seem odd to some that I posted on this forum, but for me, this is a personal milestone reached.

August 6, 2014

Article of the Week

If you teach middle or high school ELA, I recommend you check out this site which has many great resources, but my favorite is the Article of the Week.

From the page:

To help build my students’ prior knowledge, I assign them an "Article of the Week" every Monday morning. By the end of the school year I want them to have read 35 to 40 articles about what is going on in the world. It is not enough to simply teach my students to recognize theme in a given novel; if my students are to become literate, they must broaden their reading experiences into real-world text.

I used to do this every Monday with my 7th graders and it was great for close reading, discussion, and debate.  I often followed it up with journal writing as well.  Many of my students told me they looked forward to this each week, and I thoroughly enjoyed moderating the informal debates that would spring up!  

August 2, 2014

Back-to-School Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers!!!

August 4th and 5th all products in my store are discounted 28%!  In celebration, I added a Back-to-School Icebreaker Activity as a Freebie.  Happy last days of summer!