How to Get Your TpT Credits!

TpT credits. Maybe some of you have heard of those. 

I recently posted on Facebook that I was going to be catching up on my feedback so I could maybe buy a bunch of stuff using TpT credits on the Back-to-School Sale. After posting, I wondered if some people knew that they are rewarded for leaving feedback on purchases.

And so here we are....

There's a few steps you must go through before you can get TpT credits. We start with feedback.

After you purchase or download a product off of Teachers Pay Teachers, you have the option of going back and rating the product. You could certainly rate it immediately, but I like to open it, make sure things work, make sure there are no mistakes, etc. Teachers Pay Teachers is so nice to send out a reminder email saying I need to leave feedback on things I've purchased. Sometimes I then go to rate the product, but sometimes I will admit I still haven't had the time to really look at it.

So, when I AM finally ready, I go to the Teachers Pay Teachers website and go to "My Purchases" in the "My TpT" pop down menu.

This is located on the top right of you screen. Roll over "My TpT" and this drop down menu will appear. Choose "My Purchases" to see all your downloads paid and free downloads. The page will load with your paid purchases visible. Just select the "Free Downloads" if you wish to rate a free product you've downloaded.

For this particular post, I am going to be leaving a review for the digital paper I used in THIS blog post.

Once you find the product that needs feedback, click the "Provide Feedback" link just next to the picture of the product you'd like to rate.

Below you can see the seller's page for this product. I need to rate it, but FIRST I need to make sure I read. I am usually in a hurry. Life is busy. BUT this is the moment I take to stop and reflect. It would not be fair of me to rush through this process and be careless.

If I ever have any questions about a product, I always enter them in the "Product Q&A". Sellers receive an email when this is done, and I've almost always heard back from a seller before 24hrs has passed.

If there is a mistake, the Q&A is where I write to them to let them know. Some sellers include an email/contact info in the purchased files or downloaded but not all. I find the Q&A is quickest. ***Make sure you mark that you'd like to be notified when the seller responds!!! I have forgotten to mark that little box in the past, and then I've forgotten I've asked a question until the next time I go to leave feedback and I think of it again!*** :-)

Once I've had any questions answered, notified the seller of any mistakes, and reread the product description just to make sure I remember EXACTLY what it was I was buying, then I leave my feedback.

Sometimes I read, again, what is considered fair feedback just to make sure I am being fair to the seller. I have to catch myself sometimes especially when I think "oh, I wish this product had this or that". A rating isn't supposed to be based on wishes. It's based on what is. Sometimes I contact the seller, though, and tell them "Hey! You know what would be awesome...." but that never dictates my rating for the product I purchased nor do I expect the seller to change a product just for me (unless it's a mistake).

I've very rarely ever had to give less than four stars to any product. So many of the teachers, clip artists, etc I've done business with have clearly taken time to create really well made products. I will admit, I've found an error or two in some, but that happens. We're human. I just contact the seller and wait for the product to be fixed before rating it then. No biggie.

Some sellers answer every single comment on their pages. Some do not. It really has to do with what you wrote, the time available to the seller, etc. If you want to be notified if they do respond to your comment, however, make sure you click that little box below your comment,, and you will get when a notification when and if they respond.

Voila! There it is. Rated, published, and done. 

Now the point of this whole blog post was to get those TpT credits I was talking about! The product I used here was free, so I will not receive any credits. I try, however, to leave feedback on products I use and enjoy when they are free just because I feel it's the right thing to do. Do I always keep up on all my feedback? Nope. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get it done. Sellers appreciate hearing back from their customers, especially if it's something you or your students really enjoyed.

If you are ever curious as to how many credits you've accumulated, you can just go to the "My TpT" drop down menu and select "TpT Credit Balance".

On that page, you will not only find out how many you have, but you can also find out the nitty gritty of how much each credit is worth.

Alright. So let's say you've been awesome at doing all your feedback on purchases, and now there's something you find that is amazing and you want to purchase it for your classroom!

Add whatever it is to your cart, and when you are done shopping, go to the checkout and let's see what you can save just by providing fair feedback! :-D

So here we are in the checkout. I've selected and clicked on "Redeem TpT Credits". The amount you have available will be listed here. I've placed the arrow over mine for privacy, but you will have whatever you've got listed right next to "Available Credits". You can choose to type your entire amount in the space provided, or you can type in some other number not exceeding your max, of course. It's really up to you! 

Once you've typed in the amount you'd like to use and clicked on "Apply", you we see how much you saved in you new total! Continue with the checkout process as per the usual and feel super savvy about how much you saved! :-D

Hope this helps you take full advantage of doing business on TpT, and don't forget to enter the BTS code "BTS15" in your checkout on August 3rd and 4th (2015) to get even more savings!

Voice and Movement Exploration Activities in the Elementary Music Classroom

Voice exploration, pitch exploration, vocal exploration. 

This kind of activity can be referred to as any of those terms and more. Whatever you call it, finding a variety of ways to explore can be so valuable in the elementary music classroom.

I use pitch exploration slides for a variety of  activities within the classroom. Most often they are used either as a warm-up or focus activity, preparing students for labeling concepts, or as a brain break activity.

In a focus activity, I use the slides at the beginning of class. This gets students focused and warms up their voices. You can also use vowels (Ah) or nonsense words (Loo) to work on vocal technique or plant the seeds for something you are going to be presenting and working on later in class vocally. 

Help the gnome climb to the top of the flower to see what he can see!

Prepare students to label and experience concepts such as higher and lower, head voice, melodic movement, and more with exploration slides. I will admit I usually use voice exploration slides in the lower grades as higher and lower, etc. as generally taught in those grades. They can be great, however, for reviewing these concepts in upper grades or introducing the concepts to students new to your school who may not have learned these concepts elsewhere.

The gnome wants to jump onto the mushroom! Let's help him with our voices.

Use slides as a brain break activity. Disclaimer just so we're all on the same page: Teachers have many different ideas as to what a brain break is in their classrooms. To me, a brain break is where students either get to do a "just for fun" activity like a Just Dance video on YouTube, a familiar/favorite singing game, or "free" movement. Now as music teachers we all know that movement is never completely free as there are always guidelines for safety etc. which is why I put quotes around "free". ;-)

Hop after the caterpillar to hitch a ride!

This version of  the activity allows students to explore their space. We may go through the slides a couple or more times. First time through, regular voice exploration so they can gain a familiarity with the slides. Second time through, I'll have students spread out into their own space, and they will move their voices and bodies in nonlocomotor ways while following the slides. (Quick review: nonlocomotor is moving within their space like up/down/walking in place/jumping in place/etc. Locomotor is moving through space like skipping/leaping/etc.) Third time through, students get to move through the room while also using their voice and making their movements/voice match the slides.

Follow the gnome as he leaps to the next mushroom.

There are times where I have found myself in a classroom where there is either not enough space or too many students to move through space or BOTH! Don't worry! These students can do the activity too. They can either go as far as the nonlocomotor repeat, but I also have a fun alternative that can either build on/replace that. I have a ton of little hand puppets and Beanie Babies in my room. Students each receive one puppet/baby. Depending on time, I may just quickly pass them out, or I may have students line up and they get 3 seconds to pick a puppet/baby to take back to their spot. I usually have students sit criss-cross on the floor in these classroom situations (chairs would take up too much room and restrict us even further) and they hide their puppet/baby in their "bunny holes" (the hole created by their legs being criss-crossed). Students then do movements either sitting or standing (your choice) in their spot while moving their puppet/baby and voice to match the slides. 

Activities like the one I wrote just above saved my sanity one year when I had over 40 first graders shoved into a room that was already too small. (The one good thing about that year was the fact I saw them mid-morning after they had settled into school routine and before they got hungry.) They got to move, use their creativity, and they weren't tripping all over each other! Sanity. Saver. :-)

One last thought. Not all classrooms have the advantage of having a computer with a projector. That's okay! Print out the pages and laminate them. Draw a line on the board for students to follow. Use a manipulative, like a puppet, for students to follow. Everything doesn't have to be tied to technology to be great. ;-)

Click on any of the pictures in this post to go to my Google Drive where if you click on the arrow in the upper right hand corner, you can download this FREE mini vocal or movement activity for your classroom! Special thanks to Paula Kim Studio for the great digital paper and NinjaWoman Clip Art Studio for the cute clip art. Please follow my Terms of Use listed in the file and have a ball!

You can also check out my store for more pitch exploration slides! Click HERE to check them out. Enjoy! :-)