You do not want to miss this! I am teaming up with so many great teacher authors to give you FOUR chances to win $100 TpT gift cards in honor of Teaching Autism's birthday (Happy birthday!). You have until February 28th to enter! This giveaway is so big there are four Rafflecopters! Have fun entering and good luck!
Click the links and make sure to enter all four raffles!
I have been a member of Teachers Pay Teachers since 2011, but I didn't become a premium seller until 2014 (something I am KICKING myself for...sign up as a premium seller right away!). I have had minor successes in my store, but I have been creating things on an as needed basis for my own classroom making it more of a hobby than a business. I have countless products that I started and never finished. I also have so many products that I posted that I haven't updated. Some of them need updating BADLY! I have decided to get really serious about taking my store to the next level recently. After the birth of my son, rebranding my store and putting more time into TPT became a priority for me. I have over 150 products in my store currently so going back to update and brand is a huge undertaking!
I started this process by posting my store to some TPT groups I am in on Facebook to get feedback from fellow teacher authors. I highly suggest joining TPT groups to get advice, feedback, and helpful tips. The most helpful advice I received was from Misty Miller the admin of TPT Seller Tips and Advice. I posted my store looking for advice on how to improve and Misty offered some great advice. She suggested that I brand my store so all of my products have a similar look, make square covers, create custom categories, etc... Honestly I had been meaning to make square covers for my products, but I was overwhelmed with the thought of making 150+ covers.
My first step was to decide what my brand actually is. My old button (to the left) had lots of glitter and not a lot to do with education. My new button (to the right) is cleaner and clearly school centered. I created my new button using Canva.
Once I figured out what my brand would look like I began to go into TPT and create new covers for each of my products. I changed from traditional covers to square covers and for the sake of my new brand made cleaner covers. The covers to the left are the new ones and the covers to the right are the old ones.
The titles on the new covers are clear and easy to read. The product is more straight forward and the whole thing is less cluttered. This has been a time consuming project, but one that is well worth it in the long run. As I go in to update each cover I also update the products themselves. This includes changing fonts and graphics, adding content, and changing layouts. The final step before updating is to fix my descriptions. I make the descriptions more detailed and link to other similar products. I am sure this rebranding project will keep me busy for quite some time, but it has been well worth it!
Today I am linking up with a few other teachers for a gift certificate giveaway to Teachers Pay Teachers. Entering is simple and easy through the Rafflecopter! The giveaway ends at midnight on February 7th!
I have been slacking in my blogging duties. Life has been crazy around here! I got pregnant and had my son and have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I must say I absolutely adore being a mom!
But I digress, I have been looking for ways to market my TPT store better lately and have heard SO many people talking about Tailwind so I signed up for a 30 day free trial. Has anyone tried it? Have you had luck with it? Is it worth it? I literally signed up this evening so I don't yet have the answers to my own questions. If you haven't signed up for Tailwind and want to try it out for free you can use my link!
For now, if you need me, I will be rummaging through Tailwind!
I can not wait for April to be over. It is such a busy month and May will bring some much needed stress relief. I am taking some graduate classes for the next step in my teaching license and have to present my Capstone project later this month. This has been an intensive project on project-based learning in science. I am testing to see if it is better at helping students retain information. Part of my Capstone brings back one of my favorite lessons...ECOCOLUMNS! I blogged about this here.
This is such a fun project but it requires a ton of prep work. A big part of it is getting tons of soda bottles. A lot of my kids don't drink soda, which is awesome, but not for this project!
When we finally got the bottles we marked and cut them for each group and set them aside. We were also waiting on the supplies to be delivered. This super heavy box showed up in my classroom which meant we were finally good to go!
Last time I did this project we used circuits and I almost vomited. I hate bugs! This time I went a safer (for myself) route and got pill bugs. These guys don't jump...thank GOD!
I also ordered a variety of aquatic plants so the kids could have a diverse ecosystem.
And of course I have to mention the main attraction...the guppies and snails!
As I said, this was a long process. We began by planting the terrarium with rye, moss, alfalfa, and mustard seeds.
Then we had to wait for them to germinate.
I will post more about these ecocolumns in another post.
Below I wanted to share some awesome pictures from our March cereal box book reports...check them out! The directions and rubric are posted on my TPT store.
This week we are doing standardized testing at my school. When I was a kid it use to be my favorite week of school. We had no homework, I liked the tests (weird, I know), and it was a break from the normal...but times have changed. Testing week now seems to be a week full of stress and anxiety for the poor kiddos. It stinks! I want the kids to enjoy themselves (as much as humanly possible during testing) and relax. Last year I gave out little motivational treats each morning of testing week for my students. I decided I would do the same this year plus I really like puns.
Here is a shot of my week setup of treats. I am giving out Starbursts, Tootsie Rolls, Gum, Swedish Fish, and Smarties with the punny printouts (they are from various places on TPT). I also made up a little testing toolkit for each child. Inside each kit was 2 sharpened number two pencils, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener.
The kids love coming in to a new treat each morning. I'm hoping it brightens their week a little bit!
Okay so I totally have been slacking on my blogging lately. I have switched gears to wedding planning and grad school work. Speaking of grad school...I have my capstone project coming up. I am in the midst of writing the lessons and getting prepared to implement it. I chose to do Project Based Learning in science vs. traditional teaching methods. I am using life science for my unit. I will definitely post more on that as I get into it. I'm pretty excited!
Anyways...We have this thing at my school called science week. It has now turned into STEM week. It is a week where everything is science related. We do science readings, math, social studies, and so on. There is also a science fair at every grade level. I have revamped the way I do this in the last couple years. I switched to inquiry projects for my fourth graders. They have to pick a testable question, follow the scientific method to experiment and collect data, then they report back to the class. This is a really great learning experience for them! They do everything in school aside from the actual experiment part.
We just started the project last week with our big kickoff. I wanted a better way of keeping track which student was doing each project. I have used Kidblog.org in the past for other assignments and decided to set it up for all 3 of my science classes.
I had to set up an account for all the students. Below is the homepage.
I posted a question about the inquiry project and they logged on and responded with their idea. It has been awesome! They are super excited about using Kidblog.
I logged on to find so many comments! It has been a great tool to engage the kids in their inquiry projects...HOWEVER they have totally hijacked it and started making their own posts about all sorts of things!
Exhibit A: This Cinderella survey
I have to admit I do think it is cute...for now! Have you ever tried Kidblog out with your students? If you did, what did you think of it?