By Leah Eslinger Shaw, Shippensburg Area Middle School
Pinterest is by far my favorite social media outlet. I can sit on my couch at the end of a long day and spend an hour clicking through recipes, Buzzfeed lists, or teaching ideas and label that time ‘productive’.
Maybe you have 1,000 ideas pinned for your classroom, or maybe you’ve always been curious about Pinterest but weren’t sure how to incorporate it into your teaching. Perhaps you fall somewhere in between. This post will help you take all of those carefully Pinned ideas (or begin carefully Pinning ideas) and avoid the #1 Pinterest Pitfall: Much Pinning, little doing. Keep reading for a little “Pin-spiration”…
Be honest with yourself
You happen upon the most gorgeous classroom library of all time during a Pinterest browsing session. There are color coordinated bins, books organized by reading level AND cross-referenced by subject. A fail-safe system for checking out and returning books. This classroom library has it all. The only problem is that you hate organizing things, you don’t have the time or inclination to color code anything in your classroom, and the thought of reorganizing your 3,287 books makes you cringe. Don’t Pin it. I repeat: Do NOT pin it. If it is not something you might actually do, it will only serve to make you feel inadequate and guilty when you look at it. I may or may not be speaking from personal experience…
Follow Topics, Not Just People
Did you even know you could do this? When Pinterest introduced this concept, it was a game changer for me. All of a sudden, my idea base increased exponentially. I didn’t have to expend energy looking for somebody who may or may not teach something similar to what I was teaching. Teach Preschool? Follow “Preschool”. Wait, you teach at a Montessori preschool? Follow “Montessori Preschools”. Do you only need Fall craft ideas? Follow “Fall Craft Ideas.” You get the picture.
Browse Many, Pin Few
The sheer volume of ideas for teachers is overwhelming. Be selective in what you pin. There, that was simple.
Take a moment and think about how you feel at the end of the school year. Or before a school year begins. Or during the school year for that matter. Now imagine you have an electronic, organized, written record of crafts, lessons, and strategies that you’ve used in the past. You have personal comments on its effectiveness and maybe a nugget of wisdom about doing this with future students. Enter Pinterest.
This was especially useful when I taught in a K-6 classroom. Can you remember which winter craft you did 3 years ago? Neither can I. But my students could. And now, Pinterest can do the ‘remembering’ for you. Less glue needed? Didn’t work with partners, try groups of 3? Great. Now it’s on record for next year!
You can accomplish this in one of two ways:
- Make a board just for the ideas you’ve tried. After you comment on something, use the Pencil icon to edit and change the board where your Pin can be found.
- Use the Tried it! Feature. Here’s how: Open a Pin. Look along the top (arrow, pencil, checkmark…) and choose the Checkmark. Pinterest will guide you from there. If you do this, it will remain on its original board and you can also access it under the Tried section of your personal dashboard.
Click BEFORE pinning
Ugh. There’s nothing more frustrating than excitedly clicking on the Pin you saved 3 months ago for tomorrow’s lesson and seeing that it doesn’t lead to the right page. Or it’s an error message. Or it leads to a site that requires a membership you don’t have and can’t afford. Take 20 seconds before hitting the ever-tempting “Pin It” button to see if it’s worth taking up space on your Fine Motor Skills board.
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Since graduating from Juniata College in 2008, Leah has worked as a Learning Support Teacher, Life Skills Support Teacher, Instructional Coach, and is currently teaching 6th Grade ELA and Social Studies at Shippensburg Area Middle School. When not busy teaching or scouring Pinterest for teaching ideas, Leah enjoys reading, baking healthy treats, and practicing yoga. She currently resides in Greencastle, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter.
The opinions, representations, and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of Becker’s School Supplies as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.