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Getting Started on Teachers Pay Teachers

I got started on Teachers Pay Teachers this February after being inspired by Amy Abbott and her amazing blog and PowerPoint presentations. If you haven't stumbled across her blog yet, you should definitely check it out here: AbbotMusic I had been making PowerPoints for a few of my songs that I was preparing concepts visually, but they were definitely not anything fancy.

After looking at her things it made me realize how much better I could make mine and how many steps I was missing. I came across some free clip art sites, such as and began to find really cute clip art and borders. I have also found cute clip art on Teachers Pay Teachers and Etsy.

I am a visual person. I love things that are colorful, vibrant, and fun to look at. I feel like many of my kids are the same way. I love to have Mimio/PowerPoints that are visually appealing and have noticed that my kids get really excited when they see slides for a new song. It is like they are opening a new picture book in a way. I am not using the technology to replace the games, the singing, or the joy that is inherent to the music, but it has served as an amazing way to help my visual learners and all my students through the visual preparation of rhythmic and melodic concepts as well as practicing those concepts.

Why do I sell my products on TpT? There are teachers that create and give away many ideas and resources for free on their blogs and I think that is amazing!  Many times I purchase clip art specifically for the resources I am creating and I spend countless hours on my creations. I do have some freebies on my store, but most of my items (the meat and potatoes) are priced because they are time consuming to make. This endeavor definitely requires more work than just "uploading the things you already have created for your classroom". You have to make sure every item you upload has an attention grabbing cover page, a credits page that cites all your graphics, clip art, etc. You must make sure that all of your clip art is copyright free (where as before I would Google search for the images I wanted for my classroom creations), the whole document needs to be complete and nicely laid out for someone to want to spend their hard earned money on it. Most of the items that I have created for Teachers Pay Teachers have taken 4+ hours to create. So, a bundle that has 5 songs probably took me over 20 hours. It is incredibly time consuming, almost like a second job, but I love creating things and I love that I have beautiful things that I can use year after year in my classroom. Selling on TpT has also helped pay for some of my graduate hours and teaching resources and I can see it making a difference for my family in the future.

A little bit about signing up:

When you sign up on Teachers Pay Teachers your first product that you post is free. After that you can add paid products. One thing to note is that you do not get the full amount for that sale. With a free membership, you make 65% of the sale. and there is a 30 cent transaction fee per item. I remember posting that first paid item wondering if anyone would buy it and to my amazement within a week I sold my first item! So, just to give you an idea, my first item I sold was listed for $2, and I made $0.90 off of it. About a month after I joined, I upgraded to a paid membership of $60 a year. This allows sellers to keep 85% of their sale with no transaction fees. I had no goals or expectations starting out and I have been amazed and humbled by where this has taken me.

Here are some tips from Teaching and Tapas blogger. I have added a few thoughts of my own in red behind her great tips:

1. Make GREAT cover pages. They should catch a buyer's attention. Think colorful, bright, and clutter-free.

2. Put your name, copyright, and date on every page. (I personally have not put my name on every page paged because I know I wouldn't want to buy something to put in front of my students that says "Teachers Pay Teachers" or "Copyright (Insert Another Teacher's Name)". I usually put my name on the cover, directions, and credits page, but I leave it off on any page that a student will see. I guess it is personal preference, and it does leave me at risk for people to steal my work, but I would rather take that risk than put my name on the student page. -LJervis)

3. You can find cute clipart on Etsy, Scrappin Doodles or TpT.

4. Upload everything as a PDF. This saves formatting and also the clipart sellers don't let you use most of their clipart with out it being in a secure document.

5. Include thumbnail images and a preview of your file (I usually only include previews of my large bundles- LJervis).

6. Don't undervalue your work. A buyer must have $3 worth of things in their cart before they can check out. You may lose out on a sell of an item less than $3 if the buyer feels they can't find anything else to add to their cart when they go to check out.

7. Once you have about 10-15 good items up, start to market those. Utilize pinterest, facebook, and a blog if you have time. (I think Pinterest has made the best impact for me - LJervis)

8. Upgrade to a premium seller once you feel like you are ready for the commitment so that you can keep more of your earnings.

9. Be active in the sellers forum on TpT to gain new followers. (I am not sure how many new followers I have gained from that, but it has definitely given me a lot of ideas of how to improve my products and it has been a great support system)

Please feel free to use my "refer a friend" link to sign up as a seller:

You won't lose any of your earnings by doing this, but it will give me 5% of TPT's share. Please let me know if you use my referral link and I would be happy to help you get started. I would also help you gain a following by featuring your products on my pinterest, facebook, and blog.

I hope this post has been helpful for anyone considering joining Teachers Pay Teachers. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to comment below or email me at

For more ideas, check out this great blog post on Getting Started on TpT from Erica Borher's blog:

Have a great day,


Making Musical Transitions

When I first started teaching I had no concept of musical transitions. I would simply move from one activity to another. Often during this time the kids would get off task waiting to see what the next activity was going to be. During level 1, I got to see how the fabulous Jo Kirk would weave her songs together through stories and though I am not as creative as she is, I began to create stories to connect the songs I was using with my first and second graders. After my Kodaly Levels 2 and 3, I feel like am better at making MUSICAL transitions.

A musical transitions will guide your students throughout your entire lesson, connecting songs with melodic and rhythmic activities. These should never be drills, but simply a way of getting from point A to point B.

Here are some examples of melodic transitions using the melodic element "fa" and the songs,  "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" transitioning to "Chairs to Mend"

Students sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on solfa with hand signs.

Teacher then shows 4 or 8 melodic flashcards. Here's the key. They are NOT FOR DRILL! The flashcards should be purposefully selected, not just "let's do a stack of flashcards". The first flashcard should have some tonal pattern from the song you are coming from and ending with a tonal pattern of the song you are going to. In between are tonal patterns of known songs. I would write down the exact tonal patterns I was going to use in my lesson plans including what songs they are from so that I could have all my visuals ready.

Here's how it would look: 
(pattern from "Twinkle Twinkle"

(pattern from "This Old Man")

(Pattern from "Are You Sleeping?/Brother John")
(pattern from "Chairs to Mend")

Which leads right to our next song! Sing on text then add canon:

Another way to get from songs with similar tone sets would be to use a tone ladder. Taking the same two songs, you could first sing "Twinkle Twinkle" then point to the pitch ladder having students sing on solfa with hand signs. You could do the whole song, then move to song fragments from other known songs ending with your starting phrase of the next song in your lesson. Your tone ladder could be projected onto the board like this:

Or you could use cut outs like these:

Rhythm transition activities:
Another rhythmic transition that could be used here would be flashcards. Again, the use of the flashcards is not for drill, but to guide us from one song quickly to the next for a seamless transition with no wasted time.

I could start with:

(from "Chicken on a Fence Post")

(From "Dinah")

(From "Golden Ring Around the Susan Girl")

(From "Old Brass Wagon")

And off you go with singing "Old Brass Wagon" and performing the square dance!

One of my goals for the upcoming school year is to work on including more musical transitions like these for grades 2-5. What other kinds of transitions do you use? What are your goals for the upcoming school year?

If you like the transition resources I have used in this post, they are all available at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store:

Fa Melodic Transition Staff Cards {FREEBIE}

Tone Ladders (Over 50 Pages of tone ladders that you can project or cut out and put on your board)

Rhythm Flashcards - Available by concept or in a Mega Set-The ones I used in this post were from my tiri-tiri (or tika-tika, takadimi, etc.) set