Happy Anniversary: One Year with 422History

Today we are celebrating the one year anniversary of 422History! It has been a long year, busy, and crazy, but it has been wonderful. Now I am celebrating the one year anniversary of a little store that I wasn’t sure would even survive.
Last summer I was  just a normal history teacher with the typical of job trying to make the past interesting to my students. My goal and desire is always to help my students see the application of history in their own lives and enjoy learning while they are in my classroom. Most days achieving that goal turns into a second job. Creating activities or games, planning a lesson that will cultivate discussion and critical thinking, or designing a powerpoint presentation that piques their interest tends to go far beyond the 50 hours already required for the job of being a teacher.
Enter TeachersPayTeachers. After several years of buying what I needed from the other fabulous sellers on Tpt and creating what I wanted for myself, I realized that it was time to plunge in head first. As a teacher, Tpt had already been a game changer as I discovered so many wonderful resources from outside my own curriculum. Not to mention, they were created by teachers like myself. So I joined Tpt at the end of July 2016 as a seller. Over the last year my goal with 422History was not to become a Top 100 seller or make oodles of money and quite my day job. All of that does sound lovely, but really my goal is to help my students see the application of history in their own lives and enjoy learning while they are in my classroom. If I have the option of helping a few teachers out along the way, then I want to do that to. So while decorating my classroom with my own designs for the 2016-2017 school year, I looked out my classroom window at a busy highway and realized that 422History was born.
{Side Story: My one classroom window looks out over a local highway, Route 422 (“Four Twenty-two”). The back of my house looks out over 422, and my drive to church, work, family, shopping, is on 422. Oh, and my birthday is on April 22 (4-22). Did ever a number sound so personal?}

What It’s Been Like

This year has probably been one of my favorite years so far from a life purpose stand-point.
I have loved creating beautiful products and have enjoyed incorporating more fun fonts and clipart. A few of my more observant students have commented on the increased quality of my work, and my classes have enjoyed the products that I have created. One of my students did not catch on so quickly and for days thought it was the funniest thing that the publisher of an activity was 422History and we were in history class sitting next to 422!
I have loved joining the Tpt community. Everyone is so encouraging and helpful. If you have a question about Tpt or teaching or life, someone is there to help.
The learning curve is intense! I feel like an MBA would come in handy right about now. Last July when I created those first few products, I thought the stretch to my knowledge of photoshop was a workout. But then I started learning html, then I started learning about marketing, then I started learning about marketing on social media, then I started learning about web design, and wow! I am getting a full education in fields that are mind-blowingly vast and complicated. (I am so grateful that my job before teaching full-time required me to be well versed in copyright law, because that is another beast!)
It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute you are on top of the world because you just completed this really complicated, time- consuming product. The next minute you are in the depths of despair because some little formatting something glitched and you have to redo the whole product. One minute you are rejoicing with another seller over their rapid and extraordinary success and the next minute you are in tears because you sold one product over a week ago. One minute you are energized by the thought of a product line and the next minute you are stressed by the sheer volume of things to do.
Overall this journey on Tpt has been just that. A journey. My journey is different than other people’s journeys. Some days it is hard and stressful. Some days I want to quit. Some days it is a lot of fun. Some days it is enjoyable. And often, it is so rewarding.

What’s Next

As of August 1, 2017, 422History has over 110 products. You will find a variety of primary sources activities for both American and world history. Most of my primary source activities focus on earlier events in both American and world history. This year I plan on developing more primary source activities, and have several in the works. There are also a number of great products on their way to the store over the next few months, including a new bulletin board set and binder covers. My ideas list is overflowing, so you never know what will show up in store!
As of today, the geography map sets are almost complete! Only one more map set to do – Russia & neighbors. This little project was a labor of love for my own classroom. My geography curriculum required testing over maps of each region studied, but provided no practice maps and was inconsistent in testing. I was frustrated, and so were my students. It took well over a year to complete this project, but I am very excited about the finished product. Keep an eye on the store because when the Russia map set is loaded, in honor of this milestone, the Geography Maps of the World Bundle will be on sale at a 50% discount for three days only. You will not see it at this price again. This bundle includes all of the map sets of the entire world. It is a kind of amazing.
The big update for the year is the launch of the blog today. Was that ever an experience! I am learning though and super excited bring my voice to the world. I hope that 422History.com will become a place for you to find trusted inspiration and ideas for your classroom, encouragement for your own teaching journey, and maybe even a few laughs. Thank you for joining me on this very special one year anniversary & blog launch! Hope to see you back soon!
Oh, wait, one more thing!! I made a new item for my classroom and wanted to share it with you here as my anniversary present/blog launch freebie.
Thank you so much for supporting 422History and for visiting today!
Happy Anniversary!
~Kristen

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