Good morning friends! I hope you are all off to a successful start on this Tuesday!
Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?
I'm really anxious about writing this post. Like when I decided to do it right before I went to sleep last night, that translated into a night of tossing and turning. But, after talking with some of my bloggy and TpT friends, I feel like it's really important and needs to be posted. I am not trying to be the boss of the applesauce here, but some things have been on my mind for a bit and I need to put them out there. This post is not directed at anyone specific... so don't worry!
Ok. Here goes.
There has been a HUGE influx of new bloggers and TpT sellers lately... good! Congrats! I am a better teacher because of blogging and TpT and I am happy for all of the new people joining us and wish you all the best on your journey!
It seems like there are either bloggers who have been doing it for a while or there are bloggers who haven't... not too many in the middle... and us old folks have been abiding by a code of conduct that we've kind of made up along the way and I'm worried that new bloggers may not be aware of some of the rules that we follow. This concern comes from experience, unfortunately, so I want to share our rules today in the hopes that, if you didn't realize them, now you do!
*Everyone knows the old saying, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". Well, when it comes to TpT, this is not true. It is SO disheartening to see so much copycatting going on. I know that, with so many of us using the Common Core, there will be some overlap. And I'm not talking about overlap. I'm talking about downright copying. If one of your students cheats on a test, what are you going to do? You're going to send their butt to the principal and start making some phone calls. You aren't going to tolerate a student stealing someone's ideas and passing them off as their own. We are all highly skilled and highly trained as teachers and we are capable of doing new things from new ideas. I'm going to be honest here and share what sparked this blog post; I saw on someone's blog pictures of one of my products that they had purchased and then pictures of their new product that they are selling which, if you didn't know it wasn't made by me, you would think it was because it's that similar to mine. First I was annoyed. But then when I started looking through their things, many have been directly copied from other sellers. It made me sad for that person and sadder for those who's ideas have been violated. Phew. That was uncomfortable!
*Pinterest does not give us ideas. If you make something because you first saw it in a pin on Pinterest, the idea didn't come from Pinterest. It came from someone else who would love for you to give them the recognition. It's great to share the blog the original picture came from. My thought on that is this: we all have a definite style. So, if I see one craft, project, or product that you made and like the style, I want to see more! I want to know what your blog is so I can see what you've been doing. Just saying an idea came from Pinterest doesn't allow me to know the person behind the pin!
*Have you read Ron Clark's Essential 55? It's a wonderful read! His 9th rule is that if a student does not say "Thank you" within THREE SECONDS of being given something (no matter what it is!), he will take it away. He says, "There is no excuse for not showing appreciation." Would you believe that I have a freebie that has been download 8,545 times? Eight thousand five hundred forty five times. There are 10 comments on the freebie. That's a little more than 1% of the folks enjoying it who have taken the time to say thank you. Now, that isn't why I share freebies and it's not why I shared that one. But who doesn't like to hear positive affirmations about their work? Especially us because teaching isn't just what we do, it's who we are. And I like knowing that who I am is making a difference for others. I'm sure you do too! If you win a giveaway, please take time to thank the teachers e-mailing you the winnings too!
*And speaking of freebies... they are free. If you don't like it, don't download it. I don't want to hear that my freebie isn't what you wanted or what you were looking for. Many of my bloggy friends have mentioned that they are being asked to "fix" and customize freebies... sometimes we aren't even asked, we are told that a freebie needs a font changed or the spelling of a word or colors/patterns/borders/graphics to match a classroom or theme. I'm going to be so honest right now... that is why the thing is free. Because it is what it is. Now, with that said, if I've customized something for you in the past, don't feel bad or think I'm being mean about your request. I did it without holding a grudge and because I had time and wanted to help you out. But there is not always the time and, what do we do at school when we do a project? If I bring out sliver glitter but Jimmy wants blue, sorry! We are using silver today. It is what it is. (Maybe I'm just a mean teacher and you would go get the blue?) Sometimes things would just be so perfect for our classrooms if there could be one minor change... but that change is the blue glitter! :)
*More on the freebies... can you tell this has been a problem lately...? Flash freebies. They are exciting! I love doing them. It's a fun way to give back to my blog and FB followers. I hate missing flash freebies that my favorite sellers do. Let's be honest. It sucks. Sometimes people do AMAZING things as flash freebies and I get there two seconds too late and it's a HUGE bummer. Please don't ask to have a flash freebie that you missed e-mailed to you. I get it. It's so sad to miss them! Like major sad. But that's the point of a flash freebie! My friend Rachel (aka- The Tattooed Teacher) has a great post about dowloading flash freebies on your phone to access later. Check it out!
*We can't send editable versions of our files out. Not only would sending a WORD (or Publisher, PowerPoint, Pages... whatever you use) document of my file be totally against the licensing agreement I have with the clipart artist, it opens me up to people changing my work and then posting it as their own. When I first started my class website in 2006 BB (that would be Before Blogging), I shared everything in WORD because I'm not sure PDFs had been invented yet. I kid, I kid. But, documents I shared in Word back then are STILL floating around the web today... with one or two words changed and someone else's name and copyright smacked across the bottom! When you buy teaching resources at the teacher's store or Amazon or where ever you buy them, you can't change those either... so it's no different than that.
*Contests... this one blew my mind when my friend shared it with me last night... recently, one of my bloggy friends did a giveaway. Yay! We love giveaways! Days after it was over, she received an e-mail from someone claiming to have won but had not received the prize via e-mail. My friend went to check on this and found that, in reality, the person had NOT won and was trying to get a free prize out of the deal. I could not believe this, and said so. And another bloggy friend said the same thing happened to her! I just feel like I have to put that out there, even though we are probably talking about two or three people. I cannot believe that someone would do that. Really. I'm completely flabbergasted about that one. I just wanted to put that out there along with one word: Integrity.
*I posted about this one before, but I think lots of people started blogs this summer during their time off, so I just want to put out a gentle reminder. It takes time to grow your blog and TpT store. It takes more than a month, more than a summer even. The way you grow your blog and store is to interact in the blogging community. Visit other blogs, comment (with genuine comments, not just "Come follow me!"), join an online group of teachers, join some linky parties, HOST some linky parties! Develop your brand and find a style that is YOU. This took me a while. My early products make me cringe now! I'm working to re-vamp them, but now I have my style which comes through in the things that I make and do. The point of this is- it isn't "if you blog it, they will come". It is go forth and mingle. Interact on blogs. Don't beg for followers. If you establish yourself as a place with good information and solid products, you'll get followers... and sales too!
*Last thing... I'm adding this about an hour after originally posting because I just thought of it... if you are a TpT seller, please please please take some time to find out what is legally allowed and what is not. You can NOT sell anything Daily Five related. You can give it away for free, but you can't sell it. Dr. Seuss AND Elf on the Shelf are OFF LIMITS- not for sale and not for free. There is a forum on TpT all about copyrights and trademarks. Please take some time to check it out. It is very upsetting to me and other sellers when we have followed the rules and taken down our Dr. Seuss stuff, but other people are making money selling something they can't. Please know that Seuss Enterprises takes it really seriously. They patrol TpT, will contact you, and YOU are financially responsible (not TpT!) if they catch you selling Seuss products!
Now, I don't want this post to be all doom and gloom. My friend Tamara from Mrs. Russell's Room had a great idea... a list of things that SHOULD be copied and imitated!!!
*a great work ethic- find a blogger/seller you admire and work as hard and honestly as they do!
*learn how to create great products by watching tutorials. You can Google or search Youtube for literally anything, as I'm sure you know. You can find out how to make the most of your graphics, special tools in Powerpoint or Publisher, doing great things with fonts... if you want to have great products, take a look at some of the top sellers on TpT. It will give you an idea of where to start when it comes to design.
*Tamara said, "Although free is not bad, most often, paying gets you more and at a higher quality" when it comes to graphics and fonts. There are some amazing graphic artists out there and, paying a few bucks for quality clip art is totally worth it!
*Ask some teacher friends to edit your products for you before you post them. If you're on TpT, someone in the forums would LOVE to look over your work for you, I know it! I have some amazing go-to editors who always find things that I miss. Let's face it, after working on a product for hours/days/weeks/months sometimes, I know what it's supposed to say so I miss little things when I proof it myself. Asking a friend to check it always helps me tighten my work up. And, oh yeah, if you find an error, just let the seller know. We're human and we will fix it as soon as we can!
So, now that I've shared all of that with you...
It's TWOs-day! That means TWO people are going to win my new CCSS aligned grammar assessment pack for 2nd & 3rd grade!
And the winners are...
If you didn't win... I'm sorry! But... this is $1 off on TpT or get even MORE off by checking out my blog shop and reading about the coupon code!
you can check it out at TpT, TN, or my blog shop (under ELA) if you want more info!
Hopefully we're still friends and my post today gave you some food for thought... pass the word along to someone who needs a reminder! :)
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