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Thursday Tips for Teachers: Concept to Creation

Happy Thursday! Time for part two of  tips for TPT creation. As I said last week, my first unit took weeks upon weeks to creation. This is also due in part to my perfectionist tendencies and the amount of work I put into my units. I just truly believe whatever I create be something I would love to have and buy in a heartbeat. :)

1. Start with an idea :)

I'm currently working on a middle school vocabulary unit. We serve 3 different middle school sites and the site coordinators requested more middle school vocabulary activities.  

2. Research, Research, and more Research

I began to research academic articles on vocabulary acquisition and middle schoolers. A number of articles cited the need for games, context clues, and text features. After taking those things into account, I created a rough draft on cards.

2. Cover Creation and Inspiration: 

I first start with a graphic image I like and build the color scheme around it. For the last few units, I have used a four color that I simply googled. I then play around with the colors to determine what colors become the title and the background. I usually make 8 covers before I find the one that makes my heart happy. Personally, I can't create the unit until the cover is done. I get so excited about the unit that I can't wait to create it :).
Below you can see the creation of the cover based on those colors. The cover is mostly blank because I intend to place product images on the front. I started with this graphic from Jessica Weible and used the dress as a basis for the color.

 4. Use shapes

For the majority of my sheets, I use the shapes in Powerpoint. By simply changing the fill and line color, you can create any of the frames you would like. I love the edit shape button so I can change the shapes to the way I want them.

5. Make a template

In the beginning, I would make a sheet and duplicate all of them, before I started filling them in. That sounds great but I would have to format all the pages again and again to make them uniform. Now I only make the first set of sheets before I begin and perfect the measurements, fonts, coloring, and position of the text.

6. Ask for feedback!

As I worked on the sheet, I gave it to several of my work colleagues for their feedback. This lead to my adding a picture section and sample sentences on the front page, as well as my reorganization of pages. All these changes hurt a lot less when I only had to change 4 pages instead of 100. In exchange, I give them all a set of the completed packet (along with a business card to pass on to their colleagues) :)

 7. Copy and fill in :)

After finalizing the format of the unit, I then duplicate the sets of pages and organize them by set. Then ensues, the 10 hours of work completing the units, much better than the original 40. I save so much time by having a strong plan and feedback cycle. Read here about how I save time with printing and filling out the unit. Next week, I will share some websites that have helped speed up specific unit creation :).

Speaking of work, that's all for this Thursday! Hope it was helpful!
Now I'm off to finish my units :)

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