Sunday, July 31, 2016

Interactive Shape Notebook

I finally finished my 3rd Interactive Notebook and it's a shape one (If you missed them I also have an Alphabet and Community Helper one)! This has been a labor of love for me all summer and I can't wait to see what you all think.  It includes 14 different shapes and I think it will be a real hit in the classroom.  Lots of shape recognition going on in here!  
Cover Page

You can do this notebook in a spiral notebook or a bound book of card stock or construction paper.  I chose to use a book of white card stock because I like that it's a little bigger and it stays together better over time.  You definitely can use a spiral notebook for this, you will just need to tighten the pieces when you glue. Here's an example of a spiral notebook so you can see that they still fit together nicely.
One thing to note about this notebook is that I have included the option for the right side pages to either be one single worksheet (the easy option for little ones) or a cut and paste option where students cut and glue the individual components of the page.  

Let's take a look at a few other pages:
Circle Pages
Trapezoid Pages
This Interactive Shape Notebook comes with patterns, directions, and worksheets to make all the crafts you see here!  You can get it here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

My First Interactive Notebook!

   Interactive notebooks are quite "IN" right now, so I thought I'd try something new and give one a try.  I'm very happy with the way it's turned out and just loved that I was able to take my craft patterns and add a new element to them.  It's definitely more kindergarten level, but preschool age children could do this with some assistance.
Here's the cover page.  Just take a regular spiral bound notebook (8 1/2 by 11) and glue the cover on top and centered.  It also has the option for the students to draw a picture instead of an apple as well as a page with dotted lines for students who still need help writing their name. 
Here are some example pages:
Letter A Pages
Letter B Pages
Letter C Pages
Letter D Pages
This Interactive Notebook comes with crafts and worksheets to make all 26 letters crafts you see here.

You can grab it here.

Instead of a notebook you also could bind white paper or construction paper together if you'd prefer something a little sturdier or without lines.  This is something I'd give to parents as an end of the year gift or as examples of their child's work.  Do a letter a week and it will be sure to be a hit with your kiddos!
On that note, I definitely see more interactive notebooks in my future :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Makeover Madness (#TPTSellerChallenge)

 
I'm participating in the TPT seller challenge (#tptsellerchallenge) and this week it' Makeover Madness time!  This is perfect timing for me because as some of you may have already seen, I have slowly been making over some old projects of mine for the past 3 months!  Today I can give you a peak at some of the changes I've made to my covers and why I have changed them! 
 
Like most TPT sellers, I had NO idea what I was doing at first on TPT and I will whole heartedly admit some of my first few projects weren't my finest.  Now 15 months into my TPT journey I feel like I have created a product (my patterns) that I can be proud of and that are a TOTAL timesaver for teachers in their classrooms and homes.  Here's my before and after picture of my Super Hero Cut and Paste Bundle.
Let's talk about the before cover...
Let's talk text.  While my before cover really wasn't so bad, there were some things I wanted to change.  The first thing that I noticed was the title of each individual project on this cover was super hard to read!  It was way too small and that's not good when it comes to buyers looking at your project.  If they can't read the title as a thumbnail, changes are they will pass it right up.  The next thing that really bugged me was that none of the texts I chose popped!  I love me some KG fonts and from all her helpful hints this past year have learned that you should have 3 different fonts on a page at a time.  So my title now uses two fonts and I think it has that POP I was looking for with the remaining font used on other text. 
 
Clip art is super important on a cover, as teachers want to see the cute stuff!  So while my clipart was fine (STILL love Scrappin Doodles), some of the placement wasn't great and I honestly wanted to try some new clip art.  I was using Scrappin Doodles for EVERYTHING at first (were talking my first 200 projects at least) and I just wanted to try some other talented clip artists on TPT (there are SO many!).  My new favorite clip artist is Graphics from the Pond and I just think her clip art really gives my covers some much needed fun.  Her scrappy stuff is just too cute! 
 
Okay now for some really important changes.  After continually doing research on copyrights I put a proper copyright on the cover and all pages of each project.  You will now see my store name, the year, and me- the author are included!  Be sure to do this as it protects you work.  Another big change I made was adding my logo to the bottom right side corner of the cover.  This will slowly be done to all of my projects so when you see them you will know I created the project and what to expect from it (if you've already purchased a pattern from me obviously).  I LOVE that I follow the same templates for all my projects so YOU know what you are getting from me and there are no surprises. 
 
The final change was a small one, I made the background slightly smaller which left me room to make all the previous changes mentioned.  Eh, kind of boring but still important :)
Hope you guys liked my makeover madness and if your a seller there is still time to join up!  It's a great way to keep you on task this summer.  Also if you have previously bought a project from me check "your purchases" as I may have revised it, which means you can redownload it and get the newer version for free!  Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

First Official TPT Milestone....What?

This past week I reached the first official milestone for TPT (only 11 months in!) and couldn't be more ecstatic.  I started this journey last April hoping to make a couple extra hundred dollars a month while subbing until I found a permanent teaching position.  Instead a few months into subbing, I realized my passion was more into creating products than it was of being in the classroom.  I'd come home from subbing and be eager to work on TPT and dread everyday I got called in.  I honestly felt like I was losing money everyday I wasn't working on TPT!  While I love working with kids and miss being in the classroom, the idea of my projects reaching thousands of students has been just as gratifying.  Everyday I wake up excited to work and create new projects and each day I wake up so thankful for Teachers Pay Teachers and the community of teachers on there that I have learned from.  I am also truly grateful for my fans and followers as you guys are always giving me ideas, asking for new things, sending me pictures of my projects, and continuing to purchase again and again.  It really can make a girl emotional, you know?  I definitely feel like I'm living the dream and want to send you all a big "THANK YOU!"
 
To celebrate this accomplishment my "Best Selling" Scuba Diver Cut and Paste is going to be free for an entire week (3/8-3/15)!  I have recently updated this product and given it what I call a mini-makeover.  If you have purchased this project previously, please make sure to download it as I adjusted some of the patterns to make them more user friendly.  I have also included two writing prompts so it's a great project for many age levels.


Now what some of you don't know about me, is that I previously worked as a Teacher's Assistant for 12 years.  I worked with ages all the way from birth to 12 years old and during that time I created projects just like the ones I sell for the classroom I was working in.  I also created more bulletin boards than I care to share! Haha.  Anyways, now that I am settled in the new house with my family and have a proper workspace I finally have a small space to create some "mini" bulletin boards of my own and hopefully give some inspirations to teachers making them in their own classroom whether it be at a school or home. So here's my first of many bulletin boards....
 To go along with my scuba diver I definitely needed to create a bulletin board that was ocean-worthy!  I started by stapling some yellow bulletin board paper at the top of my board.  Then I took my blue paper and created waves on it before I hung it up.  I then layered it slightly over the yellow paper and the rest of the board like so.
 I think every good bulletin board has trim around it.  In my opinion it really polishes it off.  For my bulletin board I made this trim using clip art from Graphics From the Pond (just love her stuff!).  I used Microsoft Publisher to do this and it was super easy!  I created a shape rectangle filled it in with yellow ( I was able to fit three pieces on a page), then added my clip art, printed, laminated, cut it out, and stapled it around my board.
I then place my scuba divers on my bulletin board and added a title to the top: Come Swim With First Grade!  Now obviously my scuba divers are quite large for this board so my recommendation to you if you have a small board is to reduce the size of them on a copier.  I always make my patterns large because it's way easier to scale them down than up!  By doing this you will be able to fit more on the board.  You could also use the scuba divers as an accent on the corner and then have your students do other ocean animals next to them that are smaller. 
Here's a close up of the scuba divers!
Be sure to grab this project here (free this week only!):
and if you are looking for more ocean animals check out my
Ocean Animal Cut and Paste Set
Thanks everyone! Time to work towards the next milestone :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

So You Want to Be A Teachers Pay Teachers Seller?

I have been a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers for nine months now and let me tell you it’s been quite the journey.  I have gone from being a preschool teaching assistant to a substitute teacher/stay at home mom to a store owner, blogger, social media expert (okay, maybe not exactly an expert !), manager, accountant, secretary all while still being a stay at home mom of a three year old. 
My short journey on TPT has been a busy one.  I have worked day and night creating products, sometimes putting more time in this than I would a normal job nine to five job but to me it has all been worth it.  I have never loved my work more than I do now and the opportunity to create projects for students all around the world drives me to keep on creating.  I also know how stressful it is to be a teacher and love that I can make products that are “time-savers” for teachers.
One of the greatest things about Teachers Pay Teachers is the community of teachers that sell on there.  I have never seen such a sincere community of people who are willing to help one another by giving tips, sharing their ups and downs, their stories, and goals with one another.  So today I’m here to share some of my tips with you in hopes that they will inspire you in your own Teachers Pay Teachers journey.  Without further ado, here they are:
My TPT Tips to Success:
1.        Find your niche.  This may take some time but really think about what you want to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Make it unique.  Make it stand out.  Make it your own.  For me, I’ve been making cut and paste projects for over 10 years, so it was a no brainer.  For others though you may have to do some trial and error to see what sells and what doesn’t.  When you find something that sells well, see how you can incorporate it into other things and go from there.  Sell things you love.  Sell things you put your heart and soul into.  With time, they will sell.

2.       Create products with great content.  First off, I recommend using Microsoft Publisher or Power Point.  I use Publisher but I know most top sellers use Power Point.  Stay away from Microsoft Word as it is not only not buyer-friendly, it’s also not seller friendly.  You will have a much easier time manipulating, copying, etc. on Publisher or Power Point than you would on Word.  My first few products were on Word and let me tell you I’d never go back to it.  The content in your products need to be relevant to classrooms today.  Research common core, state standards, etc.  to see how you can apply them to the products you create.  If you create something teachers can’t apply to the classroom, you are creating something that probably won’t sell.

3.       Make covers that are a “Wow” factor. Make sure you create eye catching covers for every product.  I will tell you right now if your cover doesn’t have cute fonts and great clip art it probably won’t sell.  Teachers love products that not only have great content but that look good too.  For that reason I highly recommend investing money into fonts and clip art.  My first month I spent around $50 combined on both and earned it all back my second month.  It was totally worth it and now I can use what I bought for years to come.  I love KG Fonts as you can buy one font at a time for $5.00 and have unlimited use of it for life.  Once you buy 50, she will even let you switch to her lifetime use of all her fonts.  Totally worth it!  For clip art I just love Scrappin Doodles, Educlips, and Creative Clips.  I myself even dabble a little in clip art at my other store, Crafty Bee Graphics.  Be sure to check all these out!

4.       If you serious about TPT, get the premium membership.   I know at first spending $59.95 on something you’re not even sure will work seems daunting.  My advice on this is to put up around 10 products and if you start seeing that your stuff is selling, upgrade your account.  If your stuff still isn’t selling, create more products or consider tweaking the earlier ones.  Sometimes it takes more products for you to be “seen” on TPT or for buyers to feel confident in your work.  By buying the membership you go from receiving only 60% of your sales to 85%.  That’s a big difference!  And if you continue pursuing your store’s growth, you’ll get your money back in no time and then some!

5.       Realize that everyone’s journey on TPT is different.  Some sellers become instant hits, while others have a more gradual journey.  I myself have had a faster start than most, but I have also been pursuing it full time without a teaching job.  That isn’t the case for most sellers on the site.  Most sellers are full time teachers where as TPT is their side job and they do it for extra spending money and to share their unique materials with other teachers.  Don’t get down if your journey starts off slow.  Stick with it and it will grow.  Be happy for other seller’s successes and learn from them.  Everyone on Teachers Pay Teachers is your friend, not your enemy or competition.  Remember that!

6.       Check out the forums!  This is a must.  Your best way to success on TPT is to check out the forums as there are so many useful tips and tools on there.  It is the BEST place to talk to other sellers, get great tips about what works and what doesn’t, hear success stories, meet the TPT staff, and just become a part of the TPT community.  I can’t tell you enough to check this out as I learned so many do’s and don’ts there.  It will inspire you I promise!  Shelly Rees, Utah Roots, and Mad Science Lessons always have something good to say!

7.       Write thoughtful descriptions, add previews, and link your products.  Think of your description of your product as a preview of what you’re selling.  If your description is vague a buyer might feel that your product will be the same way and not buy it.  Therefore take the time to write clear and informative descriptions that will make buyers comfortable purchasing from you.  You will also want to add a preview of your work.  The more and more TPT grows, the more buyers will want to see a preview.  I am telling you now, take the time to do this on every product as it will help your products sell.  Would you buy a product without seeing a preview?  Lastly, link your products to one another.  By doing this a buyer will have the opportunity to see other products you are selling which can lead to more sales!

8.       Give credit where credit is due.  When using fonts or clip art from other TPT sellers or outside sources provide a link or credit to them somewhere on your product.  I like to do this by creating a credit page that goes on the back of all my products.  It’s a simple way of thanking the wonderful artists who provide you fonts and clip arts to make your sources look as good as they do.  They deserve the credit for their work as do you!  

9.       Understand copyrights and protect your work.  It is of the utmost importance that you put a copyright/watermark of some kind on all of your work.   That means every page folks!  If you don’t do this you are giving buyers an easy way to claim your work as your own.  Nobody wants that as all the time and effort you put into your products should be credited back to you.  YOU did the work, so be proud of it and own it!  So please, listen up, and do this right from the start.  You don’t want to have to go back and correct your products later.  Once your store gets going you’ll be too excited about creating products to want to go back and correct errors.

10.   Get up to date with social media.  After you’ve successfully made 20 to 30 products start considering ways you can get yourself known.  I started slowly by making a Facebook page and now have a blog, pinterest, and instagram for my store.  It’s A LOT to manage so start with one thing and when you feel like you’re ready to take on more try another.  I have had a lot of success on Facebook, but many sellers love getting their resources out there on Pinterest.  A blog is great for writing and discussing your products but it can’t just be that.  It needs to be a place to share and give great ideas to other teachers.  I myself still struggle with this as I do not have a classroom of students to write about.  It can be done though, just create your own voice!  I love reading Amy Lemon’s blog, “Stepping into Second Grade,” as she has found just the right amount of product, personal life, and teaching in her blog.

11.   Don’t worry about followers!  Focus on reviews, not followers.  Reviews tell you information about your products and whether or not buyers like what you’re selling.  They are a way to know if your products are working in the classroom or if something needs tweaking.  Don’t get down about a less than 4.0 rating, instead learn from it!  When it comes to gaining followers, it happens slowly and will gradually happen faster as your store grows.  Don’t waste your time asking people to follow you; instead concentrate on great products and then the followers will come on their own.  Trust me, you want real followers!  Ones that want to come to your store to buy over and over again.  Not ones that are simply there because you asked them to be.

12.   Have fun!  If you aren’t having fun on Teachers Pay Teachers then you are doing it wrong.  This is a site to be passionate about.  A place where you can create fun and meaningful products.  A place to be yourself and show your creativity.  A place to find a sense of ownership of owning your own store.  A place to find pride in yourself.   The top sellers on here love what they do and you can see it in their work.  Do the same and you’ll be successful.  This is a place where you can love what you’re doing. I haven’t met one seller on here yet, who doesn’t love the site just as much as I do. 

If you are interested in becoming a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers I would be more than happy to mentor you.  I can answer questions you might have, talk to you about my store, give you tips, etc. and just guide you as you start your own TPT journey.   I am an open book.   All I ask is that you use my referral link when you sign up so I can get credit for referring you to the site.  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Signup/referral:catch1356  Teachers Pay Teachers is a full time gig for me, so I am easily accessible if and when you have questions.  Please email me at lb.craftybeecreations@gmail.com if you'd like to hear more.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Big Thanks to The Moffatt Girls!

A big "Thank you," to Annie of The Moffatt Girls for listing me as an up and coming TPT Teacher-Author.  My mouth literally dropped to the floor this morning when I saw my picture and Owl Freebie listed on the Teachers Pay Teachers Blog under her post.  Annie, the owner of "The Moffatt Girls," just became the 3rd Teachers Pay Teachers seller to reach one million dollars in sales.  I hope to someday follow in her foot steps and am honored and overjoyed that she selected me as one of ten sellers who she considers "up and coming" on TPT.  Congratulations Annie, I won't let you down!  Be sure to check out the TPT blog post here, this girl is truly an inspiration to all us "newbie" TPT sellers out there: The Moffatt Girls Reaches One Million in Sales!
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