Thursday, March 3, 2016

Creating Original Quality Products

Many teachers make resources to use in their classroom. I know as a Special Education Resource teacher, I was always creating things for my students due to lack of curriculum, supplies, and just to meet their needs. Now it's time to take those created resources and get them ready to sell. Here are some things to think about before you post an item to sell.

1) Does your product contain original content? You cannot sell a worksheet that you've downloaded from the internet. You cannot retype the workbook page and call it yours. You cannot retype a passage and call it yours. I've created learning centers for my students. I would take a worksheet or workbook page and rewrite the information on cute, themed cards. That was okay as I was just using it in my classroom. I cannot turn around and type it up on cute, themed cards to sell. It wasn't my original content. You need to write your own reading passages, create your own math problems, or write your own social studies questions.

2) Is your product free from existing trademarks? I am not a lawyer and will only say to check for trademarks before creating a product. There are many popular names and characters that are trademarked. I suggest the United States Patent and Trademark website: Do your research before jumping in with some popular characters and themes. Just because someone else is doing it doesn't mean it is okay for you to make. They may have permission and you don't. If a Cease & Desist letter (which does not have to be sent first) is sent to TPT, your product will be removed and you will have a strike against your store - 3 strikes you're out.

3) Is your resource a quality product? Be sure to edit and re-edit your work before posting. Spelling or grammatical errors are a turn-off and buyers might not return. They also might rate you poorly on their feedback instead of leaving a comment in the Q&A. Are words lined up properly? Does it look professional? Does the product include what the teacher needs to use the product or have a list of materials that would be needed? Do you include teacher directions? Not everything needs teacher directions, but be sure to include directions when there is a need. I didn't think to include directions to play the card game War in one of my products. Boy, was I wrong! The buyer certainly let me know about it in the feedback. Do you include an answer key if appropriate? Yes, teachers want answer keys. It makes it a lot easier on them. I had someone ask me for a key because they were too lazy (their words) to make one. Make sure the fonts you use on the material is suitable for your age group. Save the cute fonts for titles!

4) Does your product contain commercial use design elements? Any clipart, photos, fonts, or backgrounds you use in your products should be for commercial use (even free products). You cannot just pull an image off of Google and stick it on a product to sell or give away. Remember that what you make for your classroom is different than creating to sell. TPT has many wonderful artists who provide clipart, photos, fonts, and backgrounds for you to use in your product. Be sure to read and comply with their Terms of Use as each one is different.

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  1. What a great idea for a blog! I am somewhat new to TPT (less than a year) as well. I can't wait to read more!

    1. Welcome! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you were here. I'm pretty excited to start this new venture and hope to post about 3 times a week. Be sure to join the weekly newsletter for more tips and motivation.