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Learning in Las Vegas and Seattle Bound. Part 2

I will continue now with tips from my afternoon sessions at the TPT conference!  I had a great lunch with a terrific group of  teachers and clip artists at the Grande Lux Cafe next to the casino at the Palazzo. Nice little place, and the food  was excellent. Luckily we sent a few ahead to get a table, or we would have had to wait an hour to be seated!

After lunch,  we parted ways to attend different sessions. I headed for Michele Luck of Michele Luck’s Social Studies and Jennifer Smith Sloane of 4mulaFun to learn about making exceptional Middle School and Secondary products. You should stop by their stores.

I had met Michele and her husband Steve before when their travels brought them to a campground not far from my house in Georgia. I was excited to see her again, and sad to hear that  Jennifer from Formula Fun was really sick and had to leave. I had only a chance to meet her for a minute in the hall.  (She is better now, I understand, but poor thing had to deal with a kidney stone) This session was probably the smallest group I encountered, so it became a sort of Question and Answer session and the group came together on a great collaborative effort to iron out issues such as product covers and pricing.

The group did come to an agreement that product covers and credit pages are still important for secondary products, but graphics should look more refined for a more mature audience. Color products are fine, but teacher authors need to remember that printing is often limited by school budgets, so products need to have printer and ink friendly pages and a black and white option.

Pricing products is much more difficult for secondary teachers because pages in products have much more content than those in the lower grades, and everyone agreed that an 82 page product on the elementary level may not carry as much content as an 82 page secondary product, so there should be separate pricing guidelines for different levels. For now, most were going to price pages about 20-25 cents a page, (lower for extremely large files), or use their best judgment on what be a fair and reasonable price for the content. Several people from team TPT were present, so they made a note of it.

My last session was with Laura Candler(left) and Rachel Lynette (right), about making products for Grades 2 – 5.  I really learned a lot in this session! Please stop by their stores…you will be amazed!

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Laura Candler and Rachel Lynette recommend that your products should be:

1. Complete: This means you need a cover page, CCSS alignment, directions, student pages, and keys.

2. Rigorous: This means they should be aligned, tap into higher level thinking, and differentiated.

3. Easy to use: This means again that everything is included and ready to use. Include graphic organizers and teacher directions.

4. Attractive: This means that you again need an eye-catching cover, professional clip art, and interesting fonts.

5. Targeted: This means that clip art and fonts are appropriate for the grade level. You need appropriate content, font sizes, and spacing.

6. Exceptional: This means that your products should stand out! For example, look at Jennifer Runde’s from Runde’s Room interactive math journals.

Rachel also recommends that you find a niche. Build a product line and hone your skills. Make templates that are recognizable as yours.  Build a following by being the expert, but most of all, love your niche. Love using it, love creating it, and show that you believe in it. Know your skill set of resources and your temperament, and find a niche that fits.

Also, it is important to consider if there is a need for your product.  Look at the competition. How will your products be different than what is already out there. How does it fit?

After the sessions, TPT had a happy hour, and the TPT team was presented with a gift from TPT sellers…a collage of logos from seller stores!

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You can see me almost in the middle of the bottom photo! :)

I wish I could say I spent lots of time at the gorgeous pools…but I was so tired from all the walking, that I never made it down to swim. However, I did have a lovely dinner by the pool with Victoria Leon.  The next morning, I got myself packed, took a cab to the airport (I didn’t want to wait half an hour for a shuttle), and headed to Seattle, to await the arrival of grandson Liam! Bye Las Vegas! It was great!

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Best wishes to all. If you didn’t make it to the Las Vegas TPT conference this year, you really should make plans to go next year!

Deborah Hayes

aka HappyEdugator

:) Freebie today: All About Me Puzzle


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