Monday, February 25, 2013

TPT Tips (from an amateur)

I've been wanting to write a post on this topic for some time because of the:

blessings/wealth of information/community of SLPs/friends,  

I have received through selling on TeachersPayTeachers. 
I have held off though because I am in noooo way an expert on this area, and do not want anyone to perceive me as such. There are much bigger sellers out there-ones I will constantly be challenged and inspired by.  However, I was recently told by another seller (Speech Universe) that I made it into the top 100 TPT sellers of the week last week. "What?!" I exclaimed! I had absolutely no idea and had to rush over to make sure she actually saw "Nicole Allison" posted there-lol! Yes, I made it into 99th place last week (if you look now though, it's probably changed!) I ran to my husband and, jumping up and down, told him. And...I want you to know it's all because of you. You have supported this little endeavor since I began. You have left feedback, challenged me, encouraged me, given me inspiration and given me new ideas. Thank you soooo much. Because of this celebration of reaching the top 100 this week, I am posting my evidence-based product "A Unit on Prefixes, Suffixes and Root Words" for free this week, as a thank you. I hope you enjoy. Thank you :-)

Because of this milestone, I also got up enough courage to publish this post. Here's my little disclaimer though: These are what I've found work for me. They may not work for everyone. I hope they work for you though :-)

Tips for Starting TPT:
1. If you think you have a good idea, it's original, and it will help others (like me), then by all means, create a TPT account! I still remember that late August day when I sat my husband down and said "I think I have an idea-it's probably really stupid and won't go anywhere, but I have one. I want to align what I do as a speech therapist to the Common Core Standards and create something that makes it really easy to see." That's how my first product, K-5 Common Core Standards, was born.  It's the Nike idea of "Just do it." It can't hurt and the least you can do is make your own life easier by creating a product you love. On TPT, you'll need to upload your first item as a free item. Keep this in mind because right off the bat, you'll need to have at least two items ready to sell :-)

2. For ideas on how to make materials, see this fabulous post by Jenna Rayburn on Playing With Words 365. I also use PowerPoint for all my materials because you can easily see and navigate through pages. Plus, it's very easy to duplicate a page and then change minor things if you are creating multiple of the same thing.

3. I won't spend much time on this, but please make sure your products are your own ideas and you pay for any clip art you are using. Read all "Terms of Use" documents. I strongly believe that, in any area of my life, if I display integrity and honesty, it will someday be rewarded :-). I believe the same will happen to you. 

4. Once you have your log-in, you'll want to set up your account. Tell people a little something about yourself. Tell us what you do, what population you work with, why you love your job, and perhaps something interesting about your place of occupation. Be personable-we want to get to know you!

Tips for Selling on TPT

1. Okay, that you've set up your account, you'll need to upload your free item. I think some people may rush through this step but, in my opinion, it is huge. Your free item speaks about you as a seller. It tells people "Even though I'm listing this for free and will not make a penny from it, I make quality materials and want you to really benefit from it!" Make sure this product speaks about you and the kind of quality you value. 

2. Once you've uploaded your free item, you'll upload your first selling item-this is where is gets so exciting! My suggestions for this are: 
  • Always write a thorough description. You will want your readers left with absolutely no doubts as to what they are potentially purchasing. This is usually not accomplished by writing a few sentences. Don't be afraid to include details and examples.
  • I always upload a preview. Again, I don't want any doubts. When I am buying on TPT, I always look for this feature as well, as I am very visual and like to see exactly what I am purchasing. 
  • Upload clear, good quality pictures. 

3. Now that you've uploaded your first item for sale, you'll need to promote it. This is always the trickiest part of selling. You'll need to get awareness out there because-hey, you have an amazing product! Here are a few ways to do this:
  •  Enter the blogging world/facebook world/twitter world and promote your item this way. It can be a lot to keep up with but tons of traffic comes through these sites. 
  • Contact another seller or blogger and offer to have them try your product for free in exchange for a review on their site.  
  • Promote your item on TPT. Under "My Sales," if you scroll down, you may promote either a free item or a paid item on TPT. I would suggest promoting a free item for starters because the paid item cost $50 if you are chosen, so you want to make sure your earnings can surpass that hefty fee. Promoting a free item though gives you a spot in the monthly newletter that hundreds, if not thousands consumers read. I'm not sure if this is true, but I do feel that Paul and the people who are behind TPT are more apt to pick starters to promote their items. They like to help the little people like us :-)

4. Definitely take advantage of the monthly email you are allowed to send to your followers. You are only allowed to send one note per month. TPT will not send you a reminder when the 30 days are up so you'll need to keep track of this yourself. I actually schedule it in my calendar because I think communication with my followers is sooo important! 

5. Still on the topic of the monthly email-make sure it counts! This is your one shot to communicate with your followers for the month. You'll want to grab their attention and inform them of new products you may have listed. You'll want to thank them for their support. Be concise but informative. As a buyer on TPT as well, I always make sure to read the letters others send me. Many of them contain 1 line stating that they are throwing a sale but do not state what products they are excited to have added or any new updates. One of the nice things about the monthly letter is that you can insert hyperlinks. This makes it easy to link back to specific products, your store or your blog. You'll want your consumers to remember you and this is an easy way to make that happen. 

6. Stay in touch with TPT. Read the weekly newsletters and keep tabs on the new items posted from people you are following. Read the forums. TPT has a "Seller's Forum" where you can communicate with other sellers about all sorts of topics. This is my go-to place on any question I have about selling. 

7. Refer others. TPT is growing exponentially but there are still those who do not reap its benefits! My mom is a high school math teacher who has always created amazing lessons for her students. I referred her and now receive 5% of whatever she makes (the 5% comes off of TPT's earnings, not the seller's). It's not much, but it is definitely a great feature (and one I would definitely not turn down should you start and would like to say I referred you -shameless plug!)

8. If you have a question or issue, don't be afraid to submit a ticket for help. When I was first starting, I had absolutely no idea of what to do, so I submitted a lot of these. The staff is always helpful and usually gets back to you within 24 hours, if not that same day! Definitely utilize the support!

9. Display great customer service. There is a section for buyers to ask you questions. When you receive an email that you've been asked a question, promptly answer it. I always try to answer mine within 24 hours of asking. It shows that you care about your buyers and your products. 

10. Always display grace. Let's face it, somewhere along your TPT journey, you may stumble across an unhappy customer. Poor feedback may be left, harsh words said. As a seller committed to my products, I completely understand that this hurts. It's hard not to take this personally, with how much time and devotion goes into making the treasured product. However, take an honest look and re-evaluate it. Is there something you could have done better? Respond graciously to the feedback and ask if there is anything you can do to improve the product or make up for the disappointment. This tells other shoppers that you stand by your products and you want buyers to be happy. 

TPT has been such a rewarding experience. Even if I didn't make a single dime from selling, it makes me a better therapist and educator. I sincerely wish you the best and hope it does the same for you. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Grammar Jeopardy Pack-No Fuss!

If you're like me, by this time into the year, it's crazy IEP season. This means I'm tired...My dog Toto Bear perfectly demonstrates what I feel like these days. (This was taken on the day we had new carpet installed in our house-obviously, he is thrilled!)

It gets worse. Last night I dreamt about a forgotten IEP. You know the type-when you wake up in a sweat and it takes 10 minutes of reassuring yourself it was just a dream, there really wasn't a late IEP. Whew! It's starting to get to me a little!

Anyways, the last thing I'm thinking about right now is cutting out more cards for therapy, laminating them and then cutting them out again. 

That's why I created this new Jeopardy Grammar Pack

This unit is jam-packed with visuals, 

quick-print worksheets,  

and a 60 Question Jeopardy Grammar Game

With this super-simple game, you download a Read-Only PowerPoint and allow students to see it on your computer. Students choose which category and amount they want (the questions become harder as the amount increases). Once pressed, they are taken to a screen with a question:

Once they answer, you simply press the "Home" button to be taken back to the main screen. I keep score on a post-it note by my desk. 

No cutting. No laminating. No fuss. 

This unit is "spring-themed" because I usually review these skills the week before spring break. 

I'd love to know what you think- Comment below if you like the idea of no-fuss materials, along with your email. I'll send this Grammar Pack out to three lucky commenters!

*Update-I just experimented using it on my iPad-it works! Now you can play Jeopardy and practice grammar skills on your iPad!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Post on Inferencing All to Itself!

Maybe it's just me, but I find inferencing is such a very, very hard skill to teach. But it's also so very, very important. It's like a riddle -the answer is not stated directly but it is probably the most common type of problem a student will encounter in their life. So...I went out scouring the web for some good materials on inferencing and am devoting an entire post to what I found. If you have any good materials or strategies you use, please post in the comments so others can benefit as well!

For older students:

1. Here is a humorous video to show your older students. Have them guess what's going on (using facial expression and context clues).

2. I love using Speech Room News Comic Strips for Inferencing. My older students love Garfield and Snoopy so it's not hard to motivate them using this activity!

3. Don't forget about my Inferential and Problem-Solving Language Activity Pack. This pack contains tons of fun activities, cards, games and worksheets to target on inferencing! Take, for instance, the ""Who Can Answer the Fastest?" cards, a fun version of the game "20 questions." Students are given 3 clues about a person, place or thing and must answer first to receive the card. For example "thing, bubble, sweet" would be "gum."

For younger students:

1. Inference Riddle Game is a great way to work on inferencing. On this website, students are given a clues, one at a time, until they can guess the object.
For example:

 I begin in the morning . . .
Tomorrow is always another . . .
. . . at sunrise
. . . and last until sunset
"yester" is always the one before
"to" is the one right now
There are 365 of me in each year
Night is my opposite
I hope you have a nice . . . 
I am DAY

Okay, be many clues did it take you to figure it out? I had so much fun on this website trying to guess the mystery on the first clue that I'm not even going to tell you how long I spent on it! :-)

2. Pinterest
There are sooo many activities out there to target inferencing skills. Click HERE to see a list of them.
Some of my favorites are the pictures like this one:

3. Good old Tom and Jerry clips are perfect because there is minimal talking. I actually mute it and then pause it during various parts to infer or predict. This one would have been perfect for Valentine's Day!

4. I found these cute St. Patrick's Day Inferencing Freebie Cards from Preschool Speechin. These are perfect for young kiddos! Make sure you leave some feedback if you grab them!

Hope you "inferred" some new ways to teach these skills!
What do you use to teach inferencing? Leave your email and one random comment will win a copy of my new St. Patrick's Question Pack (which does contain inferential questions)!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Shop Updates {and Sale!}

Some of the first words I heard when I entered this profession were "You're not going to make it if you're not flexible." Now there's some words of encouragement!
Over the years though, I've realized how true those words really are. As speech therapists (or any educators, for that matter!), we must be willing to:
  • adjust our schedule 100+ times throughout the school year
  • when one two ten techniques go wrong, pick ourselves up and try again
  • keep up with ever-changing educational policies and requirements
  • be knowledgeable on the yearly weekly changes it seems that IEPs go through you, I'm learning quickly to be flexible and apt to changes. I'm taking this a bit further and making some updates on some of my most-loved products. Here's what I've been doing the last month. I think you're going to like the results! Lucky for you-if you've already purchased these, you'll want to go back and re-download the "revamped version."

1. Added a ton to my Curriculum Based Language Assessments Aligned with Common Core Standards

I just about doubled the number of standards it addresses on this document. 
Here's the kindergarten assessment. You can see how much is added.


After: make it even easier for you to ensure you are assessing those lovely Common Core Standards, I labeled each question with the standard it addresses. It couldn't get easier!''
*Update: A wonderful buyer of this product recently shared with me how she has enlarged the letters, sounds and words from these assessments so that students can easily see them while the therapist scores! She has permitted me to share those with you. You may find the Letters and Sounds HERE and the words HERE. Thanks so much Shannan!
2. I re-formatted my best-selllers K-5 Common Core Standards and 6-12 Common Core Standards

 Now, the tables are all formatted to fit better on the pages so that none are sprawling across two pages.
3. "Beautified" my cover for Articulation for Reading and Conversation. It's not a big deal, but I purchased these adorable frames and font during the Super Sunday Sale and was just couldn't wait to use them!

 Please make sure you re-download them (at no charge) if you previously bought these itemes! I want my beloved customers to have the very best!
Oh...and in case you would like to purchase one of these updated products, I'm throwing a President's Day Sale this Monday, February 18th. Everything in my store will be 15% off!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Essentials for IEP Season

We are headed into that dreaded time of the year….also known as….IEP Season.  During this time, my desk usually looks like this….barely enough space for my “oh so treasured coffee!”

I thought I’d take this time to highlight a few best-selling products that I guarantee will save you hours of time.

This is currently my #1 selling product and is now being requested by entire districts to use in when determining the role of the speech therapist with the Common Core Standards. In this fantastic packet, you receive:
  • over 50 Speech and Language IEP goals aligned with the Common Core
  • contains topics on expressive/receptive language, vocabulary, grammar, phonological awareness, pragmatics, and articulation/fluency!

I have one product available for grades K-5 and another for grades 6-12.
Perfect for understanding how to address goals such as articulation, pragmatics and fluency within the Common Core Standards!


This document provides worksheets to quickly obtain baseline data. Quick and easy to administer-simply read questions and record student answers to determine strengths and weaknesses. Provides a picture of where the student is performing on language skills based on the material that is taught in the classroom. Writing goals will be easy when you readily have the baseline data at your fingertips!

Grab these materials at my TPT store and I guarantee they will make this season a little easier!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Valentine's Day Activities, Crafts {and Freebie}

Yum! Are you craving the little Valentine's Day candies yet? I sure am....but then again, I'm always craving candy!

I've been scouring Pinterest and the web getting my students in gear for Valentine's Day!  And of course...with any holiday, I like to include a freebie (my way of saying "thank you" to you!)

Absolutely perfect for targeting figurative language with those middle school and high school students! If you didn't see my blog post on it already, click HERE

For only $2, you receive 120 words divided into 2 Levels (one for grades K-2, one for grades 3-5). 

Here is my holiday freebie that I am providing you. 36 Homophones with 2 levels of difficulty all for free! One shopper left feedback that she was placing little Valentine stickers on the backs of these cards for some extra glitter. I love that idea!

For the crafties out there, here are a few easy, no-fuss crafts I know you'll enjoy.
4. Feelings Heart
This super simple craft requires supplies that you already have.
What you'll need:
*Construction paper
*Feeling Word Labels (found HERE)
*(I also printed out a list of feeling words for reference found HERE)

 Have students write and think of as many feeling words as possible. Use them in a sentence and have them tell of a time they felt this feeling. Say "Be my valentine" using different tones of feelings to work on tone of voice.
Funny moment: Today when we were working on these, one "feeling" word that came up was "frustrated." My student teacher asked if anyone had ever heard that word before. One student yelled out "Yes, I hear it ALL THE TIME at my house. My mom loves that word!" I had to supress a giggle :-)

Then, as an added bonus....I found these cute self-stampers at the dollar store for students to decorate their "feeling hearts!"


5. Using Paint Cards to make Word Ladders
You already know that I love paint cards. If not, see my post HERE.


This idea from pinterest is fun and easy. Just grab a heart punch and some paint cards and you can create your own heart strand. We're using them to make Word Ladders.

Have you heard of these? Word ladders are a great way to work on phonological awareness, vocabulary, reading and spelling all at the same time.
They work like this: Take a word and manipulate it by changing the meaning and letters.
Change the first letter "a piece of land-Dad parks the car in the parking ___" lot
to allow-The teacher ___ me lead the song. let
an animal that is taken care of by people: pet
change the vowel-a cherry seed: pit
pork comes from this animal: pig
change the first letter-to make a hole in the ground: dig
a pet that barks: dog
What compound word do the first and last words make? hotdog!

For this heart-chain craft, we are going to be manipulating words and then writing them on our hearts to make a heart chain. Challenge your students by having them give directions to others on how to manipulate the words!

Here's one that a student made today:
mom, mop, top, tap
Yay! We started putting up our Valentine Bulletin today!

I hope you found some easy (and cheap) Valentine's Day inspiration! What are you doing in your classes?

Monday, February 4, 2013

TPT Overtime Sale!

Two words.

The fact that you're even reading this means so much to me. Since starting this crazy blogging/selling/creating/facebooking/pinteresting adventure, you have supported me. You have commented, read posts, laughed with me, cried with me during Sandy Hook, encouraged me and bought from me. I am truly humbled by your support every time I turn on this computer. Thank you, my friends.

And thank you for participating in the huge TeachersPayTeachers sale yesterday! While the game was going on in the background, I drifted into "shopping mode" and emptied my wish list. Once in a while, I looked up to watch the commercials :-). What was your favorite? I think mine was this M&M commercial. I just love these little guys!

However, if you missed the big sale, don't worry- I'm joining other SLPs in the "overtime" sale going on today!

Here's what I bought yesterday. I've been eyeing some of the amazing looking book companions that I'm seeing a lot of. I went through my book inventory on Friday and bought these two companions that I currently own the books to. Here's why I like them:

1. Paper Bag Princess (Speech/Language Activities) by CC.
What I like about it:
  • This packet is jammed full of speech and language materials! In a nut-shell, it contains activities on vocabulary, grammar, describing, compare/contrast, perspective taking, sequencing, and articulation. 
  • What I like about it: CC does an amazing job of including follow-up worksheets on the skills addressed in this packet. So...after practicing irregular verbs....
....students can review using a worksheet!

This is just an example of the beautiful activities you will receive with this fabulous book companion set. 

As I'm sure you know, Jenna is famous for her creative materials. I absolutely love the activities included in this packet. In a nutshell, this packet includes activities on retelling, rhyming, grammar, sequencing, object functions ordinal numbers, comprehension, articulation, and following directions! Tons of activities for less than it costs me to grab a Starbucks!

 Here are some examples of the beautiful pages you will receive with this product.

One of my favorite things about this product (which doesn't sound like a big deal) is the clarity of it. However, this is a huge deal to me when I'm using these products on a regular basis. The font is super easy to read and a great size. In addition, the graphics are adorable without being overwhelming. I just love how it looks!

These being my first book companion purchases, I am very pleased (and will probably go back for more!). I love incorporating literature into activities and these make it easy. Nice work, ladies!

Please let me know! What are some of your little treasures you purchased yesterday?