Thursday, August 20, 2015

Full heart

My heart is FULL after a FABULOUS Meet the Teacher night! I got to meet my sweet students and their parents. Wow- it's going to be an awesome year. I loved seeing my former students come back for hugs, too!

I truly believe that McAuliffe is the BEST place to educate a child. There is so much warmth and love within our little McAuliffe family. It's such a special place. Seeing the kids' faces when they walked into our circus-themed school was priceless. They are so excited to be back at school. Makes my teacher heart happy.

Our theme this year is The Greatest Show on Earth. And I'm quite confident it will be.

 I'm too tired to post pics of the classroom but plan to work up a blog post over the weekend.

For now, it's an early bedtime to rest up for a long work day in the classroom!

How cute is our new email signatures? Thanks, Whitney, for making them for our staff! Check out her blog At Whit's End!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Let's Talk QUALITY not quantity.

Anyone else stressing that it is AUGUST?! I mean, seriously, where did that summer go? I mean, we just got out of school, didn't we?!

I just wanted to share how I spent this summer in my little TpT world. 

Are you ready for it?!

I created one. new. product. ONE! That's it. 

When I realized this last week, I started to stress out...

How could this be? I have had ALL summer to create more products for my store and that's all I got?! I will NEVER have more time on my hands then now and NOW summer is practically over....

Once I pushed those annoying and negative thoughts out of my head, I realized what I HAD done.

 I spent time with my kids, I somewhat organized (some) closets in my house, I went on vacation with my family, I sat around, cuddled with my kids, and relaxed when I wanted to, and I SLEPT IN every day! We, teachers, deserve that, right?!? 

But  I also realized {subconsciously, none the less}, that I had a new mantra for the summer and I was ready to EMBRACE it.....

It's all about QUALITY. 

I do not need to be concerned with filling my store with a bunch of products. That doesn't necessarily equal more buyers and more sales. 

So, in this post, I wanted to share how I, instead, focused on QUALITY this summer and why you should too. 

Shortly after summer began, I participated in the TpT Seller Challenge hosted by the fabulous ladies at Sparkling in Second, Third in Hollywood, Peppy Zesty Teacherista, and Teach, Create, Motivate

Did you do it too? It was AWESOME! I felt that it really helped me focus on QUALITY. 

If you participated too, then you know what I'm talking about....

The first task in Week 1 was to choose an old product to revise and makeover.  I knew that I desperately needed to do this so I was PUMPED!

So, I decided to start with my BEST SELLER: The Great Sub Reference Binder. 

This was scary for me because if it is my best seller, then why change it? Great question.

Simply put, I knew I could make it better. 

I seriously considered just remaking the cover and then tweaking a few of the pages, but it just snowballed. I gave it a complete facelift and I LOVE the way it turned out. 

Here is my original Sub Reference Binder....

And AFTER the Makeover!

To read the post on my Makeover Madness, you can check it out HERE.

After that first makeover, I couldn't stop. It was ADDICTING!

So, since it was close to Father's Day, at the time, I decided to revamp my Father's Day Book and Coupon set. It was one of the first products I ever created and it was in desperate need of attention. 

And, again...I LOVED the way it turned out!! 

I included a directions page on how to assemble the book and updated the fonts and graphics throughout the product. 

To read more about the makeover, you can check that out HERE.

Then I realized it took a whole lot less time to makeover an existing product then to start with a new one from the ground up. I could get more accomplished this way. Yes, I did say "more" but with a focus on QUALITY. 

To me quality, is not only the attractiveness of the product although I know that plays a major part, but additional features with quality graphics, designs and fonts.

SO...this is how the rest of my summer went. And I call this "Out with the Old" and "In with the New. I know, original, right?!

This was my VERY FIRST PRODUCT! Something I was already using in my class so I just created a cover in about 10 minutes and uploaded into my store. Easy as that. It had over 1640 downloads and I had received some great feedback when I decided to update it. So I figured many people were seeing it, using it and liking it BUT this wasn't my very best work. I knew that and I didn't want that to interfere with my "brand." Especially since this was my Primary Free download. 

But now is it is so much better!

I did "cutesy" up the cover, as you can see, but I also added a student reflection page for their journal entry that parallels the actual rubric. Again, something I was already using in my classroom...just made it more marketable. You can download this new version for FREE.

I'm all about finding ways to "work smarter, not harder." Definitely still learning. 

My next up for remodeling were my Teacher Binders. These actual covers were made over once already, last year. I look at them now and cringe. 

And here they are now...

I did spruce up many of the pages and added LOTS of different features like divider tabs and notes pages. 

Feel free to check out the new editions HERE

Next up was another FREEBIE. Ooh, I know what you are probably thinking...
Why are you wasting time updating a FREE product?? 

Here is my answer for you... 
BECAUSE...teachers LOVE Freebies! And sometimes (when you are a little fish, LIKE ME, in this big TpT pond) freebies might just be the driving force into your store. When I promote free products via Pinterest or Facebook, I can tell that is how a majority of people  are introduced to my store.  So, if they get a high quality FREE product from you, they are more likely to come back and actually BUY something from you. That is just my 2 cents...

Back to the updates!

I literally created this in my classroom while kids were coming in and starting their morning work on the day after Halloween. {First of all, how CRUEL is it for teachers to have to come to school the day AFTER Halloween?! Ugh, painful.} I needed something for them to focus on quietly (since they are probably still in their sugar comas) and then later share with their classmates (because if we didn't let them share all about their night, they would be going crazy.) So, I uploaded this into my store as a freebie as soon as I was done passing it out to my students. 

Because I had created it super fast, it didn't even have a cover page. 

Not only does it have an adorable cover now, I also linked it to my Halloween Fun Activity Pack!

You can get this FREEBIE HERE

I believe it is important to have your free products as part of a larger bundle or paid product. :) 

For this particular freebie, I added the link to my Halloween Fun Activity pack on my Credits page. 

Here is a preview of the Halloween Fun Activity Pack...

Get this HERE.

Next up was my Parent-Teacher Conference Forms. 

Another sad product in desperate need for a makeover. I actually consulted with a fellow teacher I met through Facebook and she gave me some great suggestions. I love the way it turned out!

I bought some quality clip art and fonts and spiced up the cover. I added new conference forms and resources too!

I will definitely be using these this year! You want to too? HERE they are!

And the last product I updated this summer was my third ever TpT product.

It was one of the ones that I would see in my product listings and just cringe.  But now I like it a whole lot better!

It is a perfect first day of school class graphing activity. I added instructions on how I use this in my classroom and also provided transportation cards to include in your class graph....just slip them in a pocket chart or use magnets on the whiteboard.

 I also included black and white pages for easy printing!

If this is something you would like to do in your can get these HERE

Before I wrap up this post, for those of you still with me {Thank you!}, I did want to share one last tip regarding QUALITY PRODUCT PREVIEWS.

I believe that having a quality product preview on every paid TpT product in your store is a MUST! I create most of my previews using Picasa. I love that you can easily create a collage featuring the contents of your product. I used Picasa to create the collages you see in this post. :)

I also have made product previews in PowerPoint and then saved as a PDF for my larger products.

What are some other ways you can create quality product previews?? I want to hear from YOU so share your ideas in the comments!!

OH! One more thing, I almost forgot...TERMS of USE page! I created a Terms of Use page and added it to all  most of my products. (that is still on my ever-growing to-do list)

Here is what mine looks like....

I also figured out how to make the "Let's Connect" links clickable. Whoo hoo!!

I think adding the Terms of Use page is just another way to add QUALITY to your products.

SO, that pretty much wraps it up! 

Thank you for reading and allowing me to share my "Quality not Quantity" summer with you all!

What else do you think determines QUALITY products?? What are the "Must Haves"?

I would LOVE to hear from you so please leave me a note in the comments!!

Best wishes on this coming school year...I hope it is filled with all things QUALITY.