Nicole Shelby is third from right on the top row. This is from a blogger meet-up in Louisville, KY with fellow Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio TpT Teacher-Authors (and bloggers).


Well, wow! TpT Teacher-Author Nicole Shelby is really going places. We just had to get the scoop. And what better way than, you guessed it, 5 Questions With the Teacher-Author?

1.  You were the NUMBER ONE seller on TpT in August! Congrats! What did you do to encourage that success?

Thank you very much!!! I am still in disbelief! I have really thought about this question a lot. I wish I could say there was one magical thing that I did that helped encourage the success I had for the month of August. But to be completely honest, I am not sure how I was so fortunate.

I will say that my interactive notebooks were the reason for my increase in sales. These notebooks are aligned with the Common Core Standards, so I think that was a big plus because so many states are moving toward the adoption of the standards. In addition to this, I utilized Pinterest to promote the products. Pinterest drives a lot of traffic to the TpT site, so I think that resource helped as well.

Bo, Nicole Shelby's 9-month-old English Mastiff
Bo, Nicole’s 9-Month-Old English Mastiff

2.  What’s your process for creating resources? How do you make the time in your day and how do you organize everything?

I have SO many ideas floating around in my head. In fact, I have a notebook that contains pages and pages of ideas and projects. I actually sleep with the notebook on my nightstand because I will wake up in the middle of the night with an idea. I’m afraid I will forget the idea before morning, so I jot down my idea whenever it strikes. Some of those “dreams” are now products in my store.

Other than the notebook for brainstorming a list of ideas, I really don’t do anything else on paper. I take the idea and create a cover page for the project. To me, once I get the cover page complete, I know exactly the direction I want the rest of the unit to take.

Budgeting time isn’t easy, especially when I am being pulled in a million different directions between school and home. Fortunately for me, sitting down and working on something for my classroom or a product for my store is VERY relaxing for me. It’s kind of like a painter and her canvas. I love to allow the creative juices to flow.

Creating materials is definitely a stress reliever for me. This is why I don’t have a set schedule for working on materials. I don’t put pressure on myself to finish something because I never want TpT to feel like a burden. I think that’s why I enjoy it so much.

Vacation in the Bahamas - Nicole Shelby
Nicole & her Husband Vacationing in the Bahamas

3.  How did you start selling on TpT?

Actually, I stumbled across TpT one day back in 2011 when I was searching for ideas to use for a topic I was teaching. When the site came up, I immediately clicked on it. I thought it was a pretty interesting concept, an open market for teachers. I told my husband about it and he encouraged me to open a store. I had always been a teacher who created her own materials for the classroom and he knew that.

So, because of my husband and his faith in me, I opened a store. I didn’t know at the time, but TpT was an answered prayer. Yes, TpT has been a HUGE help financially, but it has served a bigger purpose. It has been an outlet for me as I have gone through issues both personal and professional.

4.  What are your three favorite products and why?

I originally created this last year as a “thank you” to all of my store followers. I shared this with a few of the teachers at my school and it ended up becoming a big school-wide writing activity. It was SO neat to see the hallways decorated with the students’ ideas of what Santa’s new suit should look like. It will always be one of my favorite items in my store because of the excitement and creativity that was generated at my school.

This interactive notebook has changed the way I teach. It serves as a great reference tool for my kids and makes the standards more concrete and visual. I love the results I’m seeing in the classroom from using these.

I created this unit when I first started teaching the CCSS because there was not a lot of Greek mythology material available that is appropriate for upper elementary kiddos. I love the clip art used in the file as well. Although the clip art is available for purchase in Melonheadz’s store, it was specifically designed for me and this unit. This is BY FAR my students’ favorite unit every year.

5.  Who inspires you?

This is probably the easiest question for me. I know I have mentioned my husband in a previous response, but without a doubt, he is my biggest inspiration. A teacher at my school shared this quote with me a few years ago, “We become what the most important person in our life thinks we are.” I don’t know where the quote originally came from, but it really stuck with me. I strive every day to be the person that my husband “thinks” I am although I know I could never really live up to those expectations.


I love what we learn about the TpT Teacher-Author behind the resources in these posts. Be sure to check out all of our 5 Questions series.