How to Make Things to Sell on Teacherspayteachers
There are so many products you can sell on Teacherspayteachers.com. If you have an idea, look into what other products are out there. Teachers need all kinds of materials. You’d be surprised by what you see there.
But here’s the thing— this is a lot of work. I’ll explain.
I finished another Tpt product which I’ll probably upload in the next day or so.
People ask me the reason for having my Teacherspayteachers Store. Simple–I stayed home with our daughters when they were young and that put me behind financially. When I retired from my career, I was out half of my pension had I taught the entire time instead.
My goal is to make up that money.
Some folks also ask if it is difficult creating the product. They are curious as to how much time it takes to create one.
Since I taught for gobs of years creating the lesson or unit for the product is easy for me.
- I taught drama classes for thirty-eight years, both public and private. Girl, that gives you LOTS of experience and LOTS of materials.
- My bachelors degree is in theater and my masters is in education with an emphasis on creative arts learning–arts integration.
- Plus, I directed over 250 plays and musicals with adults and children alike.
You put all of those ingredients together and you get a brain full of lessons, units, methods, resources and materials which float around up there until you need them.
Generally, I work about six or seven hours each day. The entire time isn’t spent creating a product, but a great portion of each day is spent bent over my laptop doing so. How many hours do I put in each day? I say, “When my back starts hurting and I can’t ignore it anymore, I stop.” Yup, that’s about it.
A Week in the Life of a Teacherspayteachers Product
First, I figure out how many days this particular product will encompass. Mine are usually for one to three days, but several are for much longer. For instance, my radio theater unit is three weeks long and the set design unit is ten days in length and so forth.
I throw titles on each slide just to give me an outline of sorts which is just another way to organize my thoughts, really.
I rough in certain slides just to get a feel for what else I need. Usually, I begin with the Dear Teacher note because it helps me find a thesis statement. Or, I think about what I want the teachers to know about the product before they start.
At this point, I am really tired (and the hurting back thing…) so I stop and do some mundane task like the laundry, or make dinner or just veg’ out and rest my brain. Switching gears and walking away from the creative problem solving gives me a fresh outlook when I hit it again.
I work in the morning from 7:00 to 12:00 and usually in the afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00 or 4:00 to 6:00ish. In the evening, I am checking my website, blog and some Pinterest collaborations, looking at my Instagram page and Tailwind community of which I am a member.
I begin to create each slide. Quite frankly, typing up the lessons is a synch for me, because of my resume and you know, I’m ancient.
But the killer is the layout!
I think about colors, different borders, photos, video clips, music clips, etc. If I have adapted a folk tale into a class play, I talk with my husband about what I am needing. He is my composer, having done so for many years when he was an instrumental music teacher. (This is a bonus I didn’t realize when I married him 38 years ago…..a delightful surprise!) Tim begins thinking about the music we need for the play.
Day Three, Four, Five, Six and Probably Seven:
A product of around fifteen pages will take me several days. Obviously, the larger the product, the more days I spend on it. Radio theater units take several weeks (they are about 70 pages in length). Ironically, the Denzel Washington biography took me at least sixty hours to complete (because he has such a huge resume) and it’s only ten pages in length. Honestly, I never know how long it will take until I’m finished–ha!
As I continue creating slides I ask myself certain questions:
- Do I need to script this part for the teacher?
- Will directions for the game or warm up suffice?
- Would a diagram help to explain something better than words?
- Should I add a sound byte to explain something further?
- Do I need non-royalty clipart or photos to complement the lesson? I peruse several free photo sites I can depend upon (wikicommons, pixabay, unsplash, creative commons, etc.) I’m subscribed to Depositphotos.com and highly recommend them. This includes derivations of the subject I’m seeking–dance steps (I don’t like the ones I find) which leads me to dancers (too specific) to dance shoes, for instance. Many times I trash the clipart ideas and just let them sit in my brain for several days until I tackle it again. I have to watch this part because I can get sucked in the rabbit hole very quickly and spend all afternoon looking for clipart.
- How many slides is this exercise going to require?
- Is this lesson too big?
- Should I break it up into several lessons?
- Is it too complicated for the age group?
- Is it too simple for the age group I’m targeting?
- Should I offer it in different formats, like the Famous Artist Series?
When I put together a radio theater script, I discovered if I add a blank slide between the pages of script it helps with run over. THIS IS A BEAR TO CREATE. Radio theater scripts are numbered, each cue on each page and the numbered cues don’t continue on to the next page. The next page begins with number one again. So, if you make any changes (which of course, I do several times) that blank page in between the typed pages gives me leeway to tweak the script and also keeps me sane. Otherwise, I whine to my husband and he fixes the pages for me.
A Week in the Life of a Teacherspayteachers Product
From my set design unit.
Sometimes, I must create the product so they can be photographed. That’s pretty easy and fun for lessons on costume design, for instance. However, the set design unit took me several days of creating the entire product so I could photograph the various stages of completion. After that, I must send the photos to myself, download them into the power point and fix the image (using several photoshop resources–cropping, brightening the whites, etc).
Whenever I run out of steam, I work on the covers. I LOVE creating the covers, because they are fresh ideas and enjoyable to develop.
Recently I settled on a look I want for the covers–each has a border reminiscent of a theater marquee, a large rectangle for the product’s title and a smaller one for its subtitle. It includes the grade level and my Dramamommaspeaks logo. (Recently, I hired someone to make that a new logo for me–this is not in my wheelhouse.)
I use the same font on all the print on the cover, so they have a uniform look. However, I’m known to change the font to something which gives a particular feeling for the title of the Broadway musicals or plays, for example. Hopefully, if people see all the products together they will recognize them as mine. Or at least that’s the hope. This is what I mean—
Nearing the end of the product’s creation I must wrangle font size. Gad, it is the bane of my life! I am always in a quandary whether to have each page the same size font size or vary it depending upon what the page will be used for. Would a teacher appreciate larger font when they are lecturing from the pages or will they be used as slides to be projected on a white board? Should I add photos to those pages or will they be distracting to the students? Maybe clipart will help them remember the information?
This process can last up to two weeks depending upon whether I need to create different lessons for the unit, my husband is composing music for one of the fifteen minute plays or a variety of other things. I’m a Rockstar grandma, too so that keeps me busy seeing our granddaughters and being available to our daughters if they need our help. Sometimes I choose to be grandma and put the lesson to the side. You gotta do what you gotta do, you know? 🙂
The goal is to create 2.5 lessons each week. I’m sitting at 60 as of today, but the goal is around 200. I never thought I could create 60, so to have done so is nothing short of incredible to me. However, the longer I create, the more the lessons comes flooding back into my memory.
If you are looking for a sampling of my work, check out this bundle: Drama Curriculum Units and Lessons
This product can last a semester, quarter or month depending upon how many times you meet with the students. and…it’s a growing bundle which means I’ll add more products to it as I create them.
If you’d like more information about selling Teacherspayteachers, check out Teacherspayteachers.com Sales Expectation Versus Reality
Do you have an idea for a product? I’d love to hear about it.
So, if you are thinking of creating lessons to sell on Teacherspayteachers.com, I hope this information helps you.
Do contact me at email@example.com or through DeborahBaldwin.net if I can help you.
If you’d like to know about other products of mine, check out: There’s a Place for Everyone in Theater
or maybe you are looking for a free lesson Ice Breaker Storytelling Using Jig Saw Puzzle Pieces
Thank you for this article. It is so useful for me. Lots of wonderful ideas. 🙂
I am glad to hear it.
Fascinating to read about your experienes with writing materials for Teacher Pay Teacher. Very useful tips. Thanks for sharing.
You are very welcome.
Colourful Teaching for You says
Wow! This is an amazing article. I enjoyed reading about your past and current experience, and the steps you take to create your fabulous products.
Thank you for the kind words.
Oh gosh, thank you! It is my goal to make drama user friendly while not sacrificing the integrity of the art form.
So true! Creating resources that are meaningful and engaging takes a lot of work.
Inspiring article Deb.Thanks a lot.
You are welcome!