Social Sundays: The Uninspired Teacher

We called this past March "Medical March" in my house because it just seemed someone in the house was either sick or at the doctor's the entire month. When April rolled around we called it "All better April". Unfortunately, my body decided not to listen and I've been saddled with a nasty cold/flu that I can't shake for the entire month. All this is to say that I've not been at my most creative.  

Feeling rather uninspired, I did something I've never done before - I went shopping for an activity for my civil war class on teachers pay teachers. I was looking for battles specifically because for those of you who read last week's Social Sundays post, you know that I do not like teaching the battles.  It was an educational experience. 

I learned that:

  • PowerPoints and Web quests abound:  There are lots and by lots I means hundreds of PowerPoints and web quests.  If that's your style, then the ready made materials are there for you. Neither fit my class style, so I thought I'd narrow my search to activities.
  • Narrowing your search may or may not help: Activities still included powerpoints and web quests (which was making me wish there was a "not" option as in "not powerpoints"). Maybe there is and I don't know the way. Anyway, I tried inquiry to no improvement. I tried hands-on which helped a bit.
  • Where's the inquiry and active lessons? Hands-on got some interesting potential results that I put in my cart to think about. Still, I found it was hard to find what I think of as the good stuff. I thought I'd go to specific stores that I had heard of but not visited.
  • The Practical: After visiting about 10 different stores, I realized that I didn't really know what other history teachers sell on TPT. I found a great deal of practical materials - task cards, review games, quizzes, etc.  I admit I was a bit disappointed as what I wanted was something I couldn't just whip up quickly...something creative and different. All this is to say that there is a wide variety of materials for different teaching styles.   I had trouble finding the creative stuff, but I am sure it is there.  I just wish there was an easier way to find it.

As to what I purchased? I chose a scavenger hunt that sounded fun but turned out to just be a worksheet. I was frustrated after so much time searching and reading descriptions. The information included with the worksheet was valuable so I used that and had students create stories with statistics around civil war battles. And even though I had to adapt it to my classroom, I was glad to have a solid starting point that required less work on my part up front.

Have you shopped on teacherspayteachers or other teaching marketplaces?  What's your experience?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.  And as always on Social Sundays, checkout some of the resources available in the links.

Social Sundays is a weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message on Facebook or at the store in the question and answer section. 



  1. I like your post! So it feels like there are more and more resources for teachers these days - or maybe I just spend more time searching then in my early teaching career... It can be incredibly time consuming combing through the vast amount of materials to find the ones I want to use. Sometimes it almost seems easier to create what I want rather than looking for it online...


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