One of the newest and fastest growing social media outlets is Pinterest.
It’s a fantastic tool that allows you to “pin” or tag items, pictures, and posts to bulletin boards that you categorize. As an educator, this comes so naturally to me and I could literally stay on the site for hours just pinning away. And, as the school year closes and we all start putting things away, I thought it might be helpful to think of ways that you could Pinterize your classroom!
If we start with the basic premise that Pinterest is in organizing ideas and tools into large categories like “home” or “office” or “kitchen wish list”, we can easily begin to build a pinning system for our own classrooms. We can Pin lessons, bulletin boards that we like around the school or in our own classrooms (so we can remember next year!), classroom organization ideas, storage systems – the lists are endless! What I really like about this is that it allows you to visually see and map out your ideas before ever actually putting anything into place. It’s a true organizational way to integrate between the art of design and the cognitive awareness of brain-friendly classrooms.
There are plenty of ways to implement this system of Pinterizing your classroom. Here’s a brief list that can guide you as you begin this process:
Using this method, you would take pictures of your own classroom or classrooms in your school that you enjoy and works for your teaching style. You might snap pictures of a bulletin board you like, or the way that desks are arranged, or even how the board is laid out for students. Also, you can then print those pictures and create a file for each organizational tool (class setup, brain-friendly chalkboard, storage solutions). You can also pull out lesson plans you have found to be rock-solid lessons, copy them and keep them in a folder entitled “Top Lessons”. Then, you can create a “pin-it” binder for yourself to reference as the year begins, moves along and closes, updating it throughout the year. This makes it a fluid, living binder that changes to best accommodate your students and teaching.
The thing I like most about this method is that sometimes, I need to lay things out and visually be able to touch them and move them around. I can do that with pictures, sketches, lessons and compile them in a way that I can easily manipulate. It’s similar to teaching students how to use paper blogs – you’ve got to walk before you can run.
Then again, there are limitations to the Hands-On Method. You really are limited to the resources you can get ahold of on your own. Pictures that you can capture around your own school, or maybe a neighboring school. Yet, we know that there is a whole globe FULL of great ideas. Sometimes, it’s nice not to limit yourself. If this is where you are in the process, then I’d recommend going the tech route. You could approach this in one of two ways:
1.) Use Pinterest!
This seems obvious, but sometimes people are weary of getting on yet another social network. This doesn’t have to be a social activity (though it’s more fun and certainly beneficial) – just create several boards that are specifically for your classroom. One for lesson ideas, one for bulletin boards, one for classroom organization, one for desk organization and so on. Then, begin browsing for each of those keywords and adding to your boards. As you begin thinking about next school year, you can always go to your boards and print out the resources you decide on using.
2.) Create an Online LiveBinder or ePortfolio.
The nice thing about this method is it doesn’t limit to you only using Pinterest or being able to access it in your school to uploading items that you find. You can download pictures, documents, powerpoints, blog posts, whatever you want, into tabs organized through your ePortfolio and have it at the touch of a button.
We shouldn’t be limited by our own ideas when it comes to student achievement. We are blessed to live in a time that we can collaborate with others from across the globe and can open our classrooms to embrace a variety of perspectives. Give Pinterizing a try for your own classroom and let us know how it goes! We are only as limited as we intend to be.
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.