Back to School Stress Free Activity

Thinking back to my classroom teaching days, I remember the first day of school being very hectic.  With students bringing in supplies that need labeling and desks to be organized, it was a daunting task to keep order.  Students need an engaging activity that will keep them calm and focused.  They also need to get to know each other and establish a welcoming classroom community.  I created this banner for counselors but also keeping teachers in mind who are looking for a first week of school craft to help them keep their sanity.

I've tried some of those exciting bonding games like throwing wadded up paper across the room with tidbits of student info written on them.  Those games do have their place, just not for me on the very first day or two of school.  A calming tone needs to be established from the start.  That's why I've decided to kick off this year with a self-calming activity to keep everyone calm and stress-free.  Click to see more.

TPT Marketing Tips

Once you have created a product for Teachers Pay Teachers, it's time to start working on a marketing plan.  With so many sellers on TPT, you have to rely on more than just the search engine to get your product in front of buyers.  There are many different ways you can go about marketing your product, and you will eventually find the apps and programs that you prefer and feel comfortable using.  In this post, I will share my process for marketing a product after it is completed.  My steps have evolved tremendously over the past couple of years due to changes in the store and changes in technology.  I expect it will continue to evolve.  Maybe you can get a few tips to inspire you on your journey to marketing your products.

Print and Test

After creating a product, it gets printed out and tested.  I test products with my students, my children, and/or myself.   During the testing phase, I work out any kinks that may come up and modify the product.  Sometimes during a lesson at school, a student may have a question that I realize needs to be clarified. Some of my products that I use in the classroom, get yearly updates based on technology advances or questions that arise.  Buyer feedback is also taken into consideration when modifying a lesson.

Photos, Videos, and Photo Apps

During the testing phase, I take tons of pictures with my iPhone.  I don't use any fancy cameras or lighting at this time, although I do plan to purchase a lightbox in the future.  It's a good idea to have a solid white or solid black background for close up shots.  I have used poster boards and random items around the house as backdrops.  In addition to still photos,  I will take quick video snippets or use the boomerang app to get a snapshot of the product in use.  Boomerang is a free app that you can download on your phone.  It is kind of like the middle ground between a picture and a video.  There are other photo and video apps that you can experiment with on your phone.  I really love Lomics, Word Swag, and Legend.

Cover Page Template in Powerpoint

Before any new product hits the TPT virtual shelves, I create cover page and thumbnail images.  Now that I have images of the product in use from the print and test phase, I can make more engaging cover pages.  I made a Powerpoint Template that is sized at 8" X 8" for all of my square covers and thumbnails.  To create a template in Powerpoint, choose Design, Slide Size, and Page Setup.  (your version may vary some)

Now that these are ready, it's time to upload the product and move on to social media.

Blog about it

This is about the time that I begin taking notes for a blog post related to a product.  With the product fresh on my mind, and images in hand, it's not too hard to create an effective blog post.  Sometimes it fizzles out and I skip this step or come back to it later.


Three words.  Pin. Pin. Pin.  Nothing seems to drive more traffic to any store than Pinterest.  To create pins that are the optimal size for pinterest, I use 4" X 9".   I spend a good deal of time designing pins for every product.  I usually make 3 or 4 pins for each product with different looks. If I do create a blog post about the product, I will make a pin just for the blog post and pin that as well.   It's a good idea to have a pinterest board called "My Products."  I usually pin everything related to a product to that board initially.  Once it's on that board, I will go back and schedule future pins to other boards.



After pinning to that initial board called "My Products", I open the Tailwind app and schedule the pin on an interval schedule to various boards.  It's fairly easy to use and has built in tutorials.  Tailwind allows me to spend more time creating new products instead of pinning.  If you want to try Tailwind, be sure to use a coupon for a free month.
 Click for coupon.



After pinning, my next priority is Instagram.  It's a good idea to post a mixture of funny pictures, quotes, and product images.  Try to post real pictures of your product in use rather than cover photos.  You can spruce up your images by adding elements from photo apps.  This is when those fun apps like Lomics, Wordswag, and Legend come in really handy.  Don't be afraid to download apps and play around with them without really knowing how to use them.  Many of them are user-friendly and become self-explanatory with practice.   I import the images from the product testing phase into these fun apps to create something that will stand out on Instagram.  This is a comic strip video created on Lomics to promote my Zen Doodle Planner.



If you haven't started scheduling posts on facebook, now is the time.  I recently doubled my followers by scheduling regular informative posts to my page.  I throw in one of my own blog or product posts occasionally.  To schedule posts, click on "Publishing Tools" at the top of the page.  Then choose "create."  This is a huge time saver and very worth the effort.  Once I create a product, I will schedule either a product post or blog post about the product on my facebook page.

Facebook Groups

I'm involved in many online collaborative groups of educators and specialists.  The friendships and connections that I've made on there are invaluable.  One of the groups called The School Counselor Store, allows you to post products for potential buyers.  Some of my favorite facebook groups for networking are Confident Counselors Connection, Elementary School Counselor Exchange, Caught in the Middle School Counselors,
Teachers, Counselors, & Specialists, and Educator Swap & Shop

This may seem like a lot of fuss for each product, and truthfully, it is very time consuming.  You will find yourself feeling overwhelmed at times.  That is when you take a step back and practice your version of self-care.  It's easy to get caught up in the process and become a non-stop working machine.  However, a little fun can go a long way towards recharging your creative juices!  Have fun, don't try to do too much at once, and let your store grow at it's own pace.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  Please leave a comment if you found it helpful.

Don't have a store yet?

If you don't have a store and are considering opening one, click here for my referral link.  I appreciate you reading my post and can answer questions in the comments about getting started.