TpT Teacher-Author Kim Adsit (top row, 2nd from left) doesn’t waste a second. Busier than ever since she “retired” after 30 years of teaching kindergarten: She’s a Teacher-Author, a national presenter, and a volunteer in both her daughter’s and daughter-in-law’s classrooms. Kim loves family! (especially her grand-babies!), warm places, popcorn, and anything outdoors.
Read on and learn Kim’s advice for blogging and getting started on TpT.
1. Kim, you’re retired — but not really. You volunteer in your daughter’s classroom and speak at conferences around the country. What does a typical day look like for you planning all of your retirement commitments?
It was the year of, “you can retire if you want to,” and I had no intention of leaving the classroom. It actually wasn’t until February that I made the decision I would indeed retire. I’d worked as a presenter; mostly with SDE, for about 15 years — working during the summer and a few days during the school year. In November, the opportunity presented itself to retire and work “as much as I wanted” as a presenter/staff developer.
It took me a couple of months to convince my husband that I could find enough work to meet our financial obligations. But, it was finally decided… I would leave the classroom. My heart was full of excitement and nervousness all at the same time. I think the only way I could really let go, was that my daughter Megan already had her classroom and I knew I could still be around students!
Now my “retirement” weeks are filled with presenting, working in Megan’s and Ginny’s rooms (my daughter-in-law is a teacher, too), and spending time with my
grand-babies! Most weeks involve a trip to the airport with a flight to some destination to work with teachers. I work mostly with K–1st grade teachers at state conferences and seminars. But I also have the opportunity to work in specific schools, providing customized training, coaching, and modeling.
At least once a week, I have a day to work in Megan’s room. I love being there, where I can try out new techniques, see what works with kids, and just enjoy seeing Megan “do her thing!” The best part of the week is saved for the end, when I get to put on my “Gammy” hat and keep my two grand-boys. I take advantage of nap times and the evenings to prep materials, create new ideas, and stay up-to-date on research and trends in education.
2. What first brought you to TpT, and how did you become a Teacher-Author?
Most teachers love the opportunity to spend a day in the classroom of another teacher. Because of my work as a presenter, many teachers came to visit in my room. Some of you may know that Deanna Jump and I lived in the same town for several years. So, during a casual conversation about teacher visits, Deanna said she was coming to spend the day with me before I retired: A day of two friends teaching together to celebrate the end of my career.
It was during that day that I first heard of TpT. Deanna had just started the journey of her amazing success, and she was excited to tell me all about it. She pretty much said, “Girl, what are you waiting for?” It wasn’t until September however, when school had started back, that I thought about our conversation. I was home alone, all my friends were teaching, presenting hadn’t started, I had cleaned out every closet and cabinet, I was second guessing my decision… it was then that I remembered Deanna telling me about this online company. A place where I could share the things I had done with my kids over the last 30 years and that people would pay to download!
I had to find something to do. So, I sent Deanna a message and asked her if I could come by and talk to her about it after school. To say she was excited would be putting it mildly. She was bubbling over with enthusiasm as she showed me all around TpT! I put my first product up that next day… and waited… and waited… and waited. I can’t remember how long it took to sell that first product, but it sure seemed like forever! I’m not a very patient person, to say the least.
Then, in October, my husband Andy took me on my retirement vacation to St. Lucia. We didn’t have Internet, phone, or TV there. Each night we’d go to the office to check for emails from our kids… and to check TpT. We couldn’t believe it. I was selling resources and we were on vacation at the same time!
3. What are your two favorite paid TpT resources and your one favorite freebie, and why?
My two favorite products are really two series: Reader’s Workshop Units and Small Group Math: DI Easy as Pie Units. I can think of a few reasons why these are my favorites: They’re impactful in their ability to change the way someone teaches, they provide a pattern that allows the brain to optimize learning, and they’re easy to implement.
But if you asked me for the BIGGEST reason I love these units, it would be because I was able to work on them with my former teaching partner, Michele. We are a perfect team and we both love Panera Bread!
We usually start off at Panera, talking through the units — how do we want them to flow, what standards should be included, what activities/mini lessons are we going to include? Then we divide up the work: Michele scripting the lessons (her strong point and passion) and me creating all the games, charts, and other resources — the fun part! With two of the math units completed, and several still to go, Michele and I will definitely be having a few more lunch dates at Panera!
I also like to create fun games and engaging activities like this freebie, ABC Roll, Say, Keep. Here’s why: The brain learns by pattern but seeks novelty. So when I can plan fun games that get kids engaged, half the battle is won!
4. What advice would you give to someone just starting out selling on TpT?
I think it’s harder now for teachers to make a presence on TpT than when I started. There are so many fabulous resources that it’s challenging to have your items be seen by other teachers. So I think it is ever more important for new Sellers to think outside the box, to develop their own unique style, to create a niche that will encourage Buyers to come back and get more resources. The bottom line is to keep true to who you are as a teacher. Your products say what you value, what you think is best for kids. They say what you stand for as a teacher, and they’re a representation of the teaching that occurs daily inside of your classroom. They’re a peek inside your world, your thoughts, and your values.
5. You have a very popular blog you write with your daughter Megan. What is your collaboration process, and what advice would you give to people considering a collaborative blog?
Megan and I didn’t start KinderGals until after I retired, really not until nearly six months after I started TpTing. TpT brought me a new awareness of social media. I had a website that I used for bringing in presentation work, but that was about it.
So, when I decided to start a blog, I needed a classroom to blog about! Who better to work with than Megan? While we’re two very different people, we both have the same passion and love of teaching. Our styles of teaching are very similar. Megan has always been a learner. So when she stated teaching, she asked me lots of questions and used many of the tricks, tips, and lessons that I was using in my room. And she was able to teach me how to use technology to make resources attractive and to produce them more quickly.
While I do most of the actual blogging, Megan is the continual source of material. Whether I’m in her room trying something out or she’s taking pictures of her day-to-day teaching, there’s always something to blog about. I don’t really have a clue how to do a linky, or how to have a fan freebie folder, or how to add video clips to PowerPoints, or even how to make an editable document… but Megan does! I think this is why our blog works. We share the same passion, we have the same values, but we have very different gifts and are able to complement each other to create a better blog.
Thanks so much Kim, for your excellent insights and the peek inside Megan’s classroom. To read about more TpT Teacher-Authors, check out these 5 Questions blog posts.