The Importance of Protecting Intellectual Property

The Importance of Protecting Intellectual Property (new updates as of 9/21/16)

There are many intellectual property considerations when entering into contracts or selling your products online.  I have some advice for fellow sellers that is useful when entering into contracts and/or marketing your products.  First, make sure you retain your copyrights and have the ability to enforce them by registering your copyright with the US Copyright office! You can do this online at for a $55 fee. The application is fairly simple to complete.

Within your Products:

Make sure you have a copyright disclaimer in all of your work. In all of my work, even my free items, I have the following on page 2 after the cover page (feel free to use!):

© YEAR Michelle Heisler: The Teaching Bank. All rights reserved. Purchase of this unit entitles the purchaser the right to reproduce the pages in limited quantities for classroom use only. Duplication for an entire school, an entire school system or commercial purposes is strictly forbidden without written permission from the publisher. The Teaching Bank, ADDRESS, EMAIL ADDRESS

Copying any part of this product and placing it on the Internet in any form (even a personal/classroom website) is strictly forbidden and is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These items can be picked up in a google search and then shared worldwide for free.

I have also added the FBI Piracy seal to my TOU page. You can view the information regarding the use of the seal, the requirements and TOU here: FBI Piracy Seal Information

In addition to my TOU page I have included on every page of my products (even free ones):

© YEAR Michelle Heisler: The Teaching Bank

Having these identifiers on your products will leave no question that the work is yours and make it harder for people to outright copy things.

After Publication:

Do google searches on a regular basis for your name, store name, product names, etc. I have the best luck with "@Michelle Heisler: The Teaching Bank" since that is what is at the bottom of every page. You will be amazed that even with these notices on your products many people will upload them to websites. So many people just don’t understand how putting a unit on their personal website really gets it out there to the world through Google. Find an email address for the website, the individual, the school district, etc. and email them a DMCA letter asking for it to be removed. Here is a template letter that I have used and have had success with. Most people don’t honestly know they are doing wrong and immediately comply and apologize.


Subject: Notice of DMCA Violation

I have found in good faith belief that you have posted a PDF of my (PRODUCT TITLE) on your website which is not authorized by me, the copyright owner. By posting copyrighted material on the Internet you have violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Every page of this document specifies, that I, (YOUR NAME), am the Copyright owner of this material and on the Terms of Use page (page 2) of the work I specifically state that this product is for one classroom use only and I do not authorize it to be uploaded and/or published on any website in any format.

Please remove this item from any place on your website immediately in order to comply with the copyright law.

The copyrighted work at issue is:

The information in this notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, I am authorized to act as owner with the exclusive right of the material that is infringed.

You can reach me at (YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS) for further information or clarification.


**You are free to copy and paste this letter for your use.

In addition to notifying the infringing site it is best to notify google as well so it is removed from their google search function. You can do that here: Google DMCA Complaint 

Other Resources:

Laurah J, over at the Tools for Teachers by Laurah J, has a wonderful, FREE, resource in her store called,  Understanding Copyright and Trademark Law: A Guide for TpT Sellers, that I highly recommend you download. It is wonderful for new and seasoned TpT sellers!

Nothing will protect you 100% from copyright infringement. There are always people or companies out there that will be willing to break the laws no matter the risks, but hopefully these things will make it harder and deter the people not willing to take the time. It may also help educate those out there that are truly unknowing and mean no harm.

If you are looking for some additional TpT selling tips please check out Erica Bohrer's Ed-Venture's phenomenal Blog post titled, "Getting Started on TpT". Click the graphic below!

The Teaching Bank will no longer be affiliated with

The Teaching Bank will no longer be affiliated with

Effective December 13, 2013, The Teaching Bank novel units will no longer be available at  I am still proud to offer my novel units and other curriculum products at Teachers Pay Teachers, Teacher’s Notebook, Tools For School, and Amazon.

Hopefully all my former Enotes customers will follow me to Teachers Pay Teachers, Teacher’sNotebook, Tools for School, and Amazon where they can continue to have access to my original teacher written and tested products! Thank you for your continued support!

Holiday Freebies Galore!

The third annual TpT Winter Holiday Tips and Freebies Ebooks are now available! Click on the cover pictures below to download the free book/books of your choice. There are four books available this year for grades Pk/K, Gr.1-2, Gr.3-6, and Gr. 7-12. Each book has 50 pages of wonderful tips and free activity downloads to make planning this holiday season a breeze. Check them out!

Unfortunately I was not able to participate in the 2013 edition of the Holiday Book but I was lucky enough to participate in the 2012 edition. Here are the free items I offered last year. Click on the pictures to download from my store:

I also offer some other Holiday/Winter themed items in my store. Check them out!

Happy Holidays!

NIne more hours to SAVE!

Just a little over nine hours left to save at the big TpT Cyber Monday-Tuesday Sale. Don't miss out!

The Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale has Begun!

The Cyber Monday and Tuesday has begun!
At Teachers Pay Teachers The Teaching Bank is offering a storewide sale of 20% off every product!  Use the TpT Code: CYBER at checkout to take an additional 10% off your cart total. This code can be used sitewide! The TpT code and The Teaching Bank sale means you can earn a combined 28% off your The Teaching Bank purchases!

Happy Cyber Monday and Tuesday shopping!

Thanksgiving 2013 Sales Event!

The Teaching Bank will be participating in the big 3-Day Thanksgiving 2013 Sales Event at Teacher's Notebook, Saturday, Nov. 30-Monday, Dec. 2.

Get 20% off EVERYTHING in The Teaching Bank's store AND sign up to be one of the 3 lucky winners of the Holiday Cookie Shopping ~ Money Counting/Making Change Math Center Giveaway!

Don't miss out! Head over to The Teaching Bank at Teacher's Notebook today!

Be Ready for the Big Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale!

Get ready for the big Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale, December 2-3, 2013!  Head over to Teachers Pay Teachers now and fill your wishlist with all of your teaching goodies then come back on Monday-Tuesday for 48 hours of savings!

The Teaching Bank will be having a storewide sale of 20% off every product!  Then use the TpT Code: CYBER at checkout to take an additional 10% off your cart total. This code can be used sitewide! The TpT code and The Teaching Bank sale means you can earn a combined 28% off all your The Teaching Bank purchases!

Head over to The Teaching Bank's store and start your wishlist now so you are ready to save this Cyber Monday and Tuesday, December 2-3rd!

Teachers are earning millions of dollars selling their lesson plans on the “iTunes of education”

Teachers are earning millions of dollars selling their lesson plans on the “iTunes of education” (via Pando Daily)
By Erin Griffith On November 4, 2013 TeacherspayTeachers has never raised a cent of outside venture capital. That’s fine — the 28-person company, launched from a New York apartment in 2006, has been profitably helping teachers sell their lesson…

Basic Math Facts Made Easy!

I've been struggling as a parent with my 5th grade daughter and my 3rd grade son's math curriculum. They follow the Envisions program at their school. I like how the Envision program boosts the mental math and estimation skills. I am wowed by some of the reasoning that my kids can do at their age so there are some really good things that can come from this program. However, I am finding that this program really lacks in building a foundation of learning the basic facts. By learning, I don't just mean understanding the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, the program is fine in that regard, what I mean is getting the kids to "know"="memorize" their basic facts. I am a firm believer that when you start working with longer addition/subtraction and moving into long regrouping problems the kids should know their basic facts by memory. If the child is stuck counting on their fingers a simple 3+2 they are at a huge deficit when they have the problem 423+92 in front of them. The same goes with the larger multiplication/division problems. A student is only asking for frustration on 423÷9 if they don't know 9x4.

I am seeing these struggles with both my 3rd grader in his larger addition and subtraction work and my 5th grader with her larger multiplication and division work. Both of these kids have never had issues in math before and have always felt it was their most liked and stronger subjects. My older 8th grade son never had these issues either. He did not use the Envisions program for the elementary grades and I feel he had a much stronger foundation therefore he avoided these issues. My daughter has strong addition fact skills and again she did not use this program in the K-1st grade where the addition fact foundation was built. She started using this program in 2-3rd grade so multiplication is where her deficit lies.

The school utilizes a skip counting chart and recommends finger counting to help the with the multiplication facts. This has not helped my daughter and in fact is causing her many careless errors in her work. I am not a fan of this method, so at home I am using the method that I used in my classroom. Breaking the factors down by 1-2 at a time and memorizing by the use of a multiplication table and timed test. We have been taking nightly timed tests working up to a 100 problem mixed (0-12) factor test. Her first testing of the mixed factors she was given 5 minutes and was allowed to use her multiplication chart. She completed 96/100 problems correctly. That was on October 16th. We've been doing it nightly (with the exception of Friday or Saturday) and last night, October 28th she completed that same test in only 3:30 seconds getting all 100 problems correct without the use of a multiplication chart! I am so proud of her! I am not surprised however, as I used this method for years in my classroom and I always saw great results in all ability levels. This method works! Check it out for yourself here:

You can find all the timed tests and multiplication charts available for FREE in my store as well.

Since I did not have a unit created for addition to help my 3rd grader I have spent the last few weeks creating one. His whole math foundation is being built with the Envision program so I need to intervene now! I am using the same philosophy of breaking the facts down by one addend at a time. He's been moving through at a quick rate and we are now doing 5:00 timed tests of 100 mixed addends of 0-10. He's still utilizing a number line and his fingers more than I would like but I know with nightly quizzing the rote memory will come. You can find the new addition unit here:

You can find all the timed tests available for FREE in my store as well.

My son is being introduced to the concept of multiplication in school right now so I am starting the above multiplication unit with him at home starting with the 0-1's so we don't find ourselves in the same situation his 5th grade sister is in.

If you are finding your child struggling with the basic facts please check out these resources. I know timed tests aren't the "in" thing to do anymore but they really do work. I've seen it with my own children, I've seen it with several years of students in my classroom, students of all different learning styles and abilities. It doesn't have to be a competition among the class, only a competition from day to day for the individual child. They just need to beat yesterday's score. That is the goal each day!

A Division Unit is also available if you are looking to work on the division facts.

The Wonder of Wonder by R.J. Palacio!

I just finished up creating a new unit for the novel, Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Of all the curriculum materials I create novel units are my favorite, but creating Wonder By R.J. Palacio Novel Unit Study~ Common Core Standards Aligned! by far has been my all time favorite! It has been a long time since a novel has prompted me think so deeply on so many levels.

Summary of Wonder:
(From the Book Jacket)

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

Auggie's struggles are written on his face. You go into the book knowing you are going to read about a kid who's going to have a tough struggle. The surprising thing with this book is that you end up realizing that the other "normal" characters who seem to have it all on the outside, they are beautiful, rich, smart, etc, all have some type of struggle as well. This book really makes you look beyond the cover and delve deeper underneath. It is a wonderful resource to strengthen empathy and learn to not be so quick to judge a "book by its cover" so to speak. This led me to a great after the book writing activity that corresponds with Plato's quote: “Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

One thing I really love about the unit I was able to create was how the text lent itself to higher order thinking questions. There are very few knowledge level (recall) or even comprehension level questions in the comprehension packet section of the unit. The vast majority are analysis and evaluation level questions because that is just where the text leads you. The book is just so thought provoking!

If you've purchased any of my other novel units you will find this unit set up a little bit differently. This book is written in eight parts so I have expanded the vocabulary activities to cover the eight parts. The comprehension assessments come after Part 1, Part 2, Part 5, and the end of the book instead of waiting until the very end as I do in my other units.

As with my other units this unit is aligned to the Common Core Standards for grades 4-6 and contains the alignment checklists for all of the activities.

I loved how R.J. Palacio subtly adds the character of Daisy the dog as the only soul who does not "see" Auggie's facial abnormalities. Through Daisy's interactions Ms. Palacio shows the unconditional love of animals. This prompted me to add a Reading Informational activity to the unit involving therapy dogs and animal assisted therapy. I know teachers are looking for Common Core aligned resources to help with Reading Informational Text skills so I added this small activity into the unit. I also have offered it as a stand alone free activity, that can be downloaded here:

As you can tell I loved this book. It is one of the best books I have read in a long time and I think it would serve well in any 4-6th grade classroom. However, I do have one minor complaint. In the book Auggie also deals with a hearing loss and there is a chapter that describes his experience in getting fitted for a hearing aid for the first time. I am also hearing impaired and have worn hearing aids for several years. In some ways Ms. Palacio was spot on describing Auggie's feelings about wearing hearing aids around his friends and how he may be perceived. However, Ms. Palacio was very off the mark when she described the experience of getting hearing aids and how they work. This is very understandable as I am sure most people do think that wearing hearing aids is very much like wearing glasses, which is how Ms.Palacio describes the experience. In reality it is nothing like that. After reading this chapter in the book I felt so strongly that I felt the need to add my own supplement to the unit explaining what it is really like to wear hearing aids and have a hearing loss in our modern world. I hope this supplement is helpful to your students. It is also aligned to the CCSS for Reading Informational Text and is offered as a stand alone free item here:

As I mentioned I loved this book! :) It hits on so many issues in the modern classroom and appeals to such a wide audience. It really is a must read!

Please go to my TpT store and download the free preview to see sample pages of all parts of this unit as well as the complete CCSS alignment checklist for grades 4-6 in its entirety. Please email with any questions you may have!

Product Description:
This unit is designed to be used with some student/instructor interaction. It can also be revised to be used as an independent study for the student. It is written for the 4-6th grade reading level.

This unit works great in a one-on-one setting for homeschool or for a teacher to use as a resource in the classroom for a small group or entire class. The unit is designed so that you can start teaching immediately with little to no preparation on your part. Great time saver!
This unit contains:

• Teacher Packet containing:

  • Detailed daily lesson plans
  • Answer keys
• Student Packet containing:
  • Vocabulary activities for 126 words.
  • Comprehension questions for every chapter.
  • In-depth character studies and writing activities for each section of the novel.
  • Two different non-fiction reading articles and accompanying activity guides that compliment the novel.
  • Four In-depth writing and analysis activities to complete after reading the book.
• An Assessment Packet that contains:
  • Vocabulary quiz with both matching and multiple choice questions.
  • Four Comprehension quizzes that include short answer, multiple choice, and essay writing for use after Parts 1, 2, 5, and the end of the book.
• Common Core Standard Alignment Checklists for grades 4-6.

• An After the Book Activity Packet that can be used with any book.

This unit is aligned with the following Common Core Standards:
RL 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.10, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.10, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.10
RI 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.10, 5.1, 5.4, 5.10 6.1, 6.4, 6.10
RF 4.3, 4.4, 5.3, 5.4
W 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.9, 4.10, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5., 5.10, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.9, 6.10
SL 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.6, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.6,
L 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6

ETA on 8/3/2014: Check out this product and many other wonderful products at the Back to School Linky Bonanza over at Mrs. Beattie's Classroom Blog!

Teachers Tap Into Apps to Extend Lessons Beyond the Classroom -

Interesting article in the Omaha World Herald this morning that talks about the use of websites and apps in and out of the classroom. There is even a unique way discussed to use that addicting game Minecraft in an educational way! I know my kids at home, ages 13, 11, and 8 LOVE that game and any way that I can take it from mind numbingly addictive to creative, productive, and educational I'll take it!

The article has a great list of websites and apps that you can incorporate into your classroom and/or share with parents to use at home. I hope you find it as useful as I did!

Doing a Little Labor Day Shopping?

Do a little Labor Day Back to School shopping at The Teaching Bank's new Tools For School store!

Use code BACKTOSCHOOL13 at checkout for 10% of your entire cart valid 8/30-9/2/13!

Don't Miss Out on the Big Back to School Sale!

Today is the last day of the big Back to School sale at Teachers Pay Teachers! Receive 20% off EVERYTHING in The Teaching Bank's store AND use code BTS13 at checkout and TpT will take an extra 10% off everything in your cart! This will add up to a savings of 28%! 

Get the 2013-2014 school year off to a great start that is light on your pocketbook with The Teaching Bank and Teachers Pay Teachers! Now is a great time to stock up on all those big bundles and novel units you've had your eye on!  

The Time Has Finally Arrived! Back to School Sale at TpT!

I know you've been waiting and wondering when, oh when, is Teachers Pay Teachers going to have their big Back to School Sale? Well fret no more, the time has finally arrived! Two giant days of savings are upon us! 

Today, August 18th, and tomorrow, August 19th, receive 20% off EVERYTHING in The Teaching Bank's store AND use code BTS13 at checkout and TpT will take an extra 10% off everything in your cart! This will add up to a savings of 28%! 

Get the 2013-2014 school year off to a great start that is light on your pocketbook with The Teaching Bank and Teachers Pay Teachers! Now is a great time to stock up on all those big bundles and novel units you've had your eye on!  

Last Day to Save BIG on the Teacher's Notebook Back to School Bundles!

Palmer, Neb., schools take a page from 'Harry Potter' -

This story was in my local newspaper, The Omaha World-Herald, this morning. It caught my eye as an educator and Harry Potter fan. I thought it was such a great story. Such a fantastic idea that could be implemented school-wide or even modified for a single classroom that I wanted to share on a broader scale!

Busy Summer Means Neglected Blog! Part 2

My blog has been very neglected this summer! For this I am very sorry! Yesterday I told you about the work I have been busy on aligning all my units to the Common Core Standards. The other big project I have had is to create a website:

Now don't get too excited, it is a very basic website! LOL! With some help from my husband we were able to put together a pretty basic site that can direct you to the social media sites so you can follow The Teaching Bank, find the sites where you can buy The Teaching Bank's products, and download a current product list of all offerings from The Teaching Bank. It may not be anything flashy and mind blowing, but it gets the job done and I am proud of it! Smiley