Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers: How Addicted Are You?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by GPC0321, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 17, 2016

    It's summertime! Hooray!

    So, I can't be the only one who is slightly (hugely) obsessed with both Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers, right? I think I downloaded about 15-20 free things from Teachers Pay Teachers the other day, and I'm about to go there again! So. Much. Great. Stuff! I've purchased stuff there before too, but currently am scouring all the freebies first. I cannot even tell you how inspired I've been. I've been off of work for two days and I'm already geeking out over what I'm going to do next year.

    Anyone else love this time of year because it gives you a chance to dream and plan and get excited about a fresh start?
     
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  3. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    I am definitely in the same boat with you. I think it's just what we do!;);)
     
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  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I initially was, to some extent, but grew to like it less and less as I went on. That was purely a personal thing, though, as I found myself looking for something that perfectly fit what I was looking for or wanted, and of course, almost nothing met that. At that point, I realized it was easier/quicker to just make what I wanted. I still get a few things from there, but try to tell myself to jump to creating something myself (I don't make it as artsy-craftsy as on there) quickly if I don't immediately see something that would work.
     
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  5. cocobean

    cocobean Companion

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    As a first year teacher I have to agree! I love Pinterest for inspiration, and I use TPT for tons of free resources!
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
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  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Although I have used TPT, Pinterest simply drives me nuts, in a bad way. Before I get tons of negative posts about what I just said, please understand that, to me, Pinterest is like the digital version of hoarding, a bad combination for people who struggle with organization that is actually useful, so addiction would, indeed, be the right word. I know there must be millions of people who use Pinterest to "organize", but having links to all these great places/sites, isn't enough in and of itself. I simply get overwhelmed and I have to find a better way to find and share, IMHO. That's why I post freebies I have found on this forum, instead to sending people to yet another site to share from someone else's hoarded links. My pet peeve? To top it all off, I have to have a Pinterest account to view other's links. I don't mind that other's use Pinterest, but it is one addiction that I can live without. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
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  7. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    I understand what you're saying. I almost never actually "pin" things on Pinterest. I just go there to browse. I don't "follow" people or whatever. I just don't get it. I have an account, but mostly I just look at stuff and follow the links to read about it or whatever. And I've found that most of the stuff I like on Pinterest is from TpT. So lately I've just skipped Pinterest and been racking up in TpT. I'm on a tight budget right now, so I'm scarfing up all the freebies I can find. I'm amazed at the wonderful, high quality resources you can get for free there. LOVE!
     
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  8. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    On a scale of 1 to 10, I am probably about a 5. I love surfing Pinterest for ideas (especially anchor charts and foldables) I can use in my classes to support our new curriculum, and TPT is my go to for new ideas and methods for teaching skills they are still struggling with. When you need to teach compare and contrast to different grades and various language levels multiple times throughout the year, you need a lot of different ways to approach the skill. Generally, with both, I'll pin and idea or put it on my wish list for a while before I decide if I need to purchase it.
     
  9. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    This is exactly how I feel. I used TPT much more when I was new to 1st and again when I was new to 5th, and I use it less every year. I start wanting to create my own things, even if they're never quite as cutesy as the stuff on there. I've never been one to care about "cutesy" anyway, which is one of the many reasons 5th is a better fit for me than 1st was! Right now, I use TPT occasionally. I mostly purchase resources, and I have a few sellers I see as reliable and will continually buy from. Mostly, I use TPT for math center stuff because it would take longer to make my own. However, I'm planning to make some of my own this summer. Sometimes, I use someone's idea on TPT to create something similar but with my own spin and my own content. I think TPT is a great idea, but I get a little annoyed with it. There's a whole weird teacher celebrity culture associated with it that doesn't sit too well with me. Sometimes I think there's more emphasis on things being beautiful than on the quality of the content. I've seen things on there and just thought - why??

    As for Pinterest, I was an addict when I first started teaching. Then, I erased all my boards because it got to be too overwhelming and I was trying to declutter my life. Now, I have 3 or 4 boards on there. I kind of use it like a bookmarks list. I mostly pin flexible seating ideas for my classroom - I like that it's visual for that. Sometimes I will search certain terms and browse that way. I did unfollow everyone, though, so I never browse my newsfeed.

    I think it's a personal preference thing. I don't think either are bad at all, and I've been very addicted to both at different times. It just depends on your personality, where you are in your career, etc.
     
  10. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Like yellowdaisies, I have a few sellers on TPT that I find reliable and produce quality products. The products are easily adapted to meet my teaching needs, so I regularly purchase from them. I love TPT for math centers, especially, because it saves me tons of time not having to create all the pieces/cards/games.

    I enjoy Pinterest and do pin items, so I can view them from any device at any time. My sisters and I follow each other's boards so we can collaborate across the country.

    HOWEVER, as a literacy coach I see a lot of TPT and Pinterest ideas being used in classrooms, simply because the idea is cute or fun. When I ask the teacher why they are doing the activity/lesson/worksheet they cannot explain their pedagogy. They don't know WHY they are doing it, but since it was on TPT or Pinterest, it must be a great idea. And often the activity/lesson/worksheet does not comply with what our province has stated is 'best practice'. I have seen some very poorly run guided reading sessions because the teacher hasn't actually researched guided reading; they simply downloaded some cute BLMs to record their sessions on.

    Not to be Debbie Downer, but TPT and Pinterest do not replace pedagogy and a discerning teacher will use these resources wisely.
     
  11. teachsph2008

    teachsph2008 Companion

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    I enjoy both sites. I usually start with Pinterest and look for the material on TPT. Pinterest is great for inspiration. I also like it because it's a great visual for sites that I used to put in my favorites and forget about it.
     
  12. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2016

    I like TPT but I'm not in love. I'm picky and I always find something off in some item.

    Now I LOVE Pinterest. I didn't know of it until last summer and now I'm hooked. I only know of one teacher at my campus who for sure lives out Pinterest. I'm convinced she's the original pinner on some stuff because her classroom looked like Pinterest threw up, ate it then threw it back u again. It's a trip how decked out it is.
     
  13. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I very rarely use TPT, and only for free stuff. I try not to spend money to do my job; I understand that a lot of teachers do, but it's just something that I'm personally against doing. I think it's kind of ridiculous that teachers are expected to spend their own money to do their jobs. I usually will look around pinterest near the beginning of the school year each year, but never find much. I'm sure this will offend someone, but honestly I feel that 90% of the stuff I see on there is cutesy/ unnecessary stuff for people that seem to have way too much time on their hands!
     
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  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I SO agree with this. I tend to not be super trusting of any resource, including boxed curriculum made by actual textbook publishers, so I'm definitely not trusting of most stuff made by random people on TPT.

    A year or two ago, there was a hashtag on Instagram - "#becauseoftpt." "Teacher authors" were posting pictures of their houses, vacations, boats, you name it - all purchased because of their profits from TPT. That really did not sit well with me. I don't like the amount of marketing some of the sellers do. Many of them have all that time on their hands, as you mentioned, because they are making BANK from it. It's very lucrative for the cutsiest sellers especially, and for the ones who shamelessly plug their products (and their friends') with every social media post. After that hashtag surfaced, which I imagine was to make people want to sell on TPT, I cut WAY back on my purchases from there. I began to feel like I was being used. Now I will only buy something after I've thought about it for quite awhile and think I really need it and cannot create it myself. I do spend money on my classroom - but at this point 95% of it is on books. I never begrudge buying classroom library books. I do get some classroom money ($250) every year, and next year I may use it for a few TPT things and some flexible seating options.
     
  15. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    TPT allows me to not reinvent the wheel. Some of the things I purchase would cost me oodles in software plus my valuable time. Once I did recreate something I saw on TPT but it took me close to 4 hours. I should have spent $3 instead. sigh
     
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  16. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Until very recently, Pinterest was blocked by the school. So I haven't ever really gotten into it too much. I LOVE TPT when I need a sudden change of plans, or for fun holiday-themed activities that still cover curriculum, and for when I've used all the material that comes with my curriculum and still the kids still don't get it.
     
  17. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Oh, absolutely! I actually discovered TPT a few years ago, and I purchased and downloaded a bunch of "cute" things thinking I'd use them. But they turned out to be things I just couldn't make work when it all came down to it. That's one of the reasons I'm sticking to free stuff right now. I can download it and then once I get a good look at it, I can trash it if it's not what I was imagining and I'm not out any money.

    I also think now that I'm quite comfortable with the Common Core, and other people have also gotten a grasp on it, I'm able to evaluate possible resources a lot better and see them fitting into my teaching style and curriculum.

    I'm weird. When I was a new teacher I tried to create all my own original stuff. I almost killed myself. Now that I've been doing this about 15 years, I'm much more confident and comfortable finding and using materials. I find I'm more interested in the general things that can be used with a variety of literature (I teach high school English). And I've actually seen stuff on there that I've been using for years like "Body Biographies".
     
  18. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I've found some real gems on TPT--both as a teacher and now as an administrator.

    I have mistakenly purchased a few duds over the years, but those have been few and far between.
     
  19. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I think TPT is perhaps the worst thing to happen to teaching in the last 10 years. The way it undermines the spirit of sharing and collaboration that teachers ought to have is destructive. The false sense that it gives to new teachers of "if this person sold it and it has 5 stars it must be good for my kids" is disheartening. The way the site owners actively push sellers to not provide free materials is disgusting.

    There are so many other sites out there that provide far better materials in a collaborative (free) way - TES/Sharemylesson being one. Following specific hashtags of interest on Twitter is another great option. Pinterest is fine as well if you can put up with the clutter. Please, anything but TPT.
     
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  20. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I agree, to an extent. I'm starting to find more and more overpriced items. Things that would have cost only a small amount of money a couple of years ago ($.50 to $1) are now $3-$5. I'll look at something and it's a vocabulary sheet with 20 questions and it'll be several dollars. No thank you! I have purchased some really lovely Common Core aligned text sets or big sets of exit tickets that relate to a specific skill, and I do not mind paying for those. I understand that I am paying for the convenience of not having to format them myself.

    I do not like the rating system because it tried to talk you out of giving low marks by asking if you have contacted the seller first, etc. Sometimes it's just a bad product, or it isn't what was described.
     
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  21. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Jun 19, 2016

    The sellers have to charge so much because the website gets such a huge cut from it (more than 50%). It's absurd.
     
  22. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  23. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I use Pinterest for school and home so I check it out about once a week. I've pinned many pictures that I use to paint from and some wreaths as inspiration. I have used the site to help my vegetable and flower gardening. For cooking, I've pinned many recipes but haven't used many of those.

    I go on TPT about four to five times a year. I've probably spent close to a hundred total in the years I've been on. It's nice for those times when you don't want to invent the wheel, but I don't see myself using it more often than I have.
     
  24. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I don't think I hate it quite as much as you do, but I do agree with much of what you're saying. TPT exists to make teachers more money. The TPT conference is all about marketing (I've looked at the sessions) to make more money. The entire community is based on sharing with other teachers......while making money. It irks me that it's not really about sharing at all, but about sharing while getting a benefit for themselves. Sure, they'll throw out a free resource once and awhile, so you'll purchase stuff from them later. I've had to unfollow SEVERAL TPT sellers' blogs and Facebooks because I just got so irritated with their constant postings about the resources they're selling. They'll post blog posts from months and years ago to sell product. "Looking for a great [insert thing here]? Check out what I used in my classroom [that will obviously link to a $5-$10 product I created 2 years ago]!"

    I'm on Twitter (all the teachers in my school are) and I agree that there's a MUCH better culture on there of sharing without financial gain expected. Since I started teaching when TPT had already risen to prominence (2012) I'm still surprised when I find people who are willing to share things or free.

    I mean, I get it. They are spending tons of time creating these things. However, I don't find some of them to be too valuable (though they always use cute fonts and clip art), and as others have said, they're often overpriced. I think the culture of self promotion is what irritates me the most. I guess that's just my personality.
     
  25. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I used to feel like Rockguy, but I don't any longer. The more time I spend in a classroom, basically getting crapped on with each paycheck, the more I understand the desire to use and sell on TPT. I look around and there are so many of my coworkers that do so little on their own for their students. The last time I created an assignment (other than a quick quiz or worksheet) that would REALLY challenge my kids on the topic we were discussing, it took me four hours to complete. It is awesome and I will use it for many future classes so I'll get a lot of bang for my buck on it. That's four hours of my time that my district will never pay me for.

    I work with some teachers that are great about sharing resources. But some teachers will use my items and present them as their own to administration/district leaders. Or they'll use my stuff with students that are a year below my students, so by the time I get these kids in my class, they've already seen it. Or they'll post it, with a key, on their websites. So I'm not so keen on sharing any more.

    Sometimes I'll share with sweet neighbors. Who turn around and share with the others I've mentioned above. Again, making my time wasted. My sweet neighbors are quick to share too. But they don't make anything themselves and what I get from them often have mistakes or aren't aligned with our curriculum perfectly. Sometimes I share with colleagues who buy from TPT and they flat out say they aren't sharing anything they spent a lot of money on. The money they spent on getting resources doesn't equate to the time I've spent on making them, unfortunately.

    There are a handful of really nice teachers at work that are great about giving back so I'm eager to share. But just a handful.
     
  26. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Not trying to argue with you since I think we're actually pretty close on our thoughts. I would just point out that your time was absolutely not wasted - your kids benefit greatly from your hard work and now the other kids will too. I get the frustration - believe me. I've seen my work that I post free reposted in published books without any credit to myself. Yes, it bothers me but I have to remind myself why I built it in the first place.

    That aside, the "I won't share, I paid for this" mentality is absolutely a symptom of what TpT has done to the teaching community and I agree is awful.
     
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  27. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Another side is that some of the TPT sellers are using people's copyrighted content. Donalyn Miller has tweeted more than once about that. She always has ALL of her stuff for free on her site, through slide shares, in her books - but teachers have used her books to make stuff and sell it on TPT without permission. Also, they've taken her ideas and twisted them and sold things for that. Donalyn Miller's 40 Book Challenge is NOT a competition, but people on TPT sell tons of things to make it just that, all using the name "40 Book Challenge." I imagine that must be very frustrating for a published author to have to keep policing TPT for copyright issues like that!
     
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  28. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Well, I disagree. I'm a veteran teacher of 15 years, and I love TpT. I have downloaded tons of stuff and other than a few cheap things a few years ago, I've not paid a dime for any of it. I don't choose it based on how many stars it has (everything seems to have 4 stars), but I read the description and some reviews, download it (the free stuff), look at it and evaluate whether it fits my teaching style and curriculum, and if it does I'm thrilled, if it doesn't, I toss it.
     
  29. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    That's so weird because I feel the exact opposite. My thoughts while happily downloading stuff the other night was, "How generous of these teachers to share all of this for FREE!"
    But to be clear, I don't go to TpT looking for a specific item, lesson, activity, whatever. I just browse, and when I find something I think I could use (for free), I snap it up. Doesn't cost me a thing and even if I don't use exactly what's there, I find it inspires my own ideas.
    Oh well. I guess we're all different.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  30. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I use them for ideas mostly. I have only purchased one or 2 items from TPT in the last few years.
     
  31. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    So, we do agree that it should be free. I absolutely support those teachers who post free stuff on TpT (I'm one of them.) I do not support the site owners. The free sharing of ideas is core to what teaching is about. That's why I recommended other sources of those ideas. If you can find them free on TpT I encourage you to do so but recognize that the site is designed to make that as difficult as possible (notice how free items move the bottom of the search list no matter the ranking?)
     
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  32. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    That's an interesting viewpoint. I never considered the idea that TPT was anything but a positive. I suppose it does undermine sharing (with the world). When I think of sharing, I think about sharing with fellow staff and personal contacts... and I don't think anyone on TPT would tell friends and staff members that "they can buy their resources on TPT" instead of just giving whatever it is to them.

    I have a interesting relationship with TPT in that I've bought tons of things on there... and while I've used most of it, I would say that only maybe 10-20% of it was impressive and really worth it. The other 80% ended up being just stuff (although very pretty and cute). I will say that 100% ends up helping the new teacher though, as it is resources that save the new teacher time in creating.
     
  33. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Why do you post your stuff on a site that you think is the worst thing to happen to teaching in 10 years?
    And it isn't difficult at all to find free stuff on TpT. I click on "Free Downloads" under the "FEATURE" sidebar menu, then choose my grade level, subject, and area within that subject. Presto! Hundreds of free things. I counted and I've got 30 free things from just going on and casually browsing for a couple of days. And I probably had 10 or more other things that I downloaded and decided later to toss.
     
  34. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Because I am more than happy to undermine their model by providing better content at no cost on their very platform and because it allows me to link to my greater amount of free content on other sites. Unfortunately TpT is the only site some teachers know. I'm not above using their own marketing against them.

    If you've tried listing anything yourself you will see how hard they push paid content. They flat out tell you not to list your items for free if they are a certain size.
     
  35. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I'm really surprised by everyone saying they find great free stuff on TPT. I'll be honest - I've gotten very little for free on there. It seems that most of the time, sellers use the free items to try to rope you in to pay for their $5 stuff. Lots of the free stuff I've found has been shortened versions of other products the seller makes a lot of. Maybe it's because of how I use the site. I almost never browse - I go on there with a specific goal in mind. 9 times out of 10, though, if I search "multiplying decimals" or whatever (because I'm usually looking for math stuff on there), I won't be able to find anything I want for free. I mostly search for math center stuff, and that stuff almost never seems to be free. I've had many searches where there were no free results, or less than 5 free results.
     
  36. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I technically love Pinterest. But I sort of have been ignoring it.

    I like TPT just fine, but I too don't browse it--I go there to look for specific things. I don't mind it being a business model in the least and I'm happy to pay for some truly quality stuff. I do see where those who feel it's wrecking the whole teacher share system are coming from, but in the end I see nothing wrong with teachers making quality stuff and selling it.
     
  37. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I have taken a few of the free things, but I use a few different sites & come up with my own. I love to coloring pix & make them into solve & colors. Lol. I do it for math or English.
     
  38. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Yeah, I guess it makes a difference how you use the site. I downloaded 9 more things last night, so I'm almost to 40 now. But keep in mind, I'm not going in looking for anything specific. I teach high school English (mostly 10th with a section of 12th tossed in next year). Last year was my first year teaching 10th in quite a while, and there have been changes since the Common Core, so I've been sort of reinventing the wheel. I've never taught 12th, so I'm starting fresh there as well.

    So, I set my search for free stuff, 12th grade (covers all of high school), ELA, and then go into each area of ELA (literature, poetry, informational texts, close reading, creative writing, vocabulary, writing, etc.) and browse. The items I find and like are those that can be adapted for almost any text we may use. I've also found a lot of stuff that will be perfect for sub plans or back-up plans for me or even extra credit opportunities for the kids.

    I suck at coming up with great assignments and activities on my own. So maybe that's part of it too.
     
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  39. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I think it's great that you're finding so much free stuff! Maybe I should look harder and not be so restrictive with my searches. :)
     
    GPC0321 likes this.
  40. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
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    Jun 23, 2016

    I do find some free things on TpT but what tends to be annoying is that if you find something on Pinterest that looks interesting, you click on it and it leads you to the TpT store. So it does seem like they are trying to rope you in that way. I figure though if you don't want to buy it you don't have to.
     
  41. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Messages:
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    Jun 23, 2016

    TeacherNY.... I can't stand that. I have done that a few times.
     

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