My Pinterest Obsession and the Classroom

I am in desperate need of an intervention. An intervention for my Pinterest addiction. It’s gotten to be beyond ridiculous. I am 100%. totally in love with this website for my personal life. I am constantly looking and pinning new pictures. My husband is ready to leave me due to all of the random crafty things I am now making him help me with. Mind you, I am not a crafty person. I despise doing arts and crafts, even with my toddlers. However, Pinterest has sparked this insane motivation in me and now all I want to do is quit my job and cook and do arts and crafts all day.

Exactly what is Pinterest? Pinterest is an online bulletin board. You can create as many bulletin boards as you like and then you share images, videos, etc. on the bulletin boards. There is an awesome PinIt button that you can add to your bookmarks bar and when you find something online that you love, you can pin away. You can also upload files to your bulletin boards. The coolest part is being able to have this amazing visual space that you can share with the world about your likes. Like I said earlier, it’s really sparked this new motivation in me to go to thrift stores and redo random junk into cool things. I’m going to call it my attempt at being green.

Every time I go to Pinterest, which seems to be more frequently every day, I think instantly of how educators could be using this website in their classrooms and with their colleagues. What a great way to get to actually know your colleagues or your students as the people they are if you just connect with them on Pinterest.

What can I do with my students/colleagues?

  • Connect with them and see what kind of bulletin boards and pins they have posted. Get to really know them and their interests. This makes teaching and heading to work way more fun.
  • Create a bulletin board of pins for a unit or a lesson and have students view the images/videos as an anticipatory set. From there, students could: create their own boards, groups boards, a class board with images they feel represent the unit.
  • Have students create their own board for the content class and post images and videos throughout the year that they find relevant to the units and topics covered…or  maybe things they’d like to explore more!
  • Students/Teachers in a Family and Consumer Ed course, could create their own cookbooks with all the recipes they find.
  • A Tech Ed course could create bulletin boards of architecture or cool things they can make in class.
  • An Art class could create bulletin boards of artwork they find or ideas they have.
  • Teachers can use Pinterest to find amazing things posted by other educators….I’m finding a ton of stuff for elementary, but many cool classroom setups that can be used in a secondary classroom too.

These are just a few of the ideas that I’ve had as I’ve been playing around with the site. I cannot wait to continue to learn more about Pinterest and find more ways to engage this awesome site into the classrooms. Feel free to leave your ideas as well!

Currently, Pinterest is an invite only site. The invites do not take long to get your official stamp of approval. Once you are approved though, welcome to your new addiction!


Jigsaws and Technology

Freaking out over how to use technology effectively in a 1-1 initiative? Feeling scared that you don’t know the technology well enough to teach it to the students? Have no fear….a simple solution is here! And, it supports the 4 C’s: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Communication.

Jigsaws are a fantastic differentiation strategy for any classroom, not just a 1-1 classroom. Jigsaws keep students engaged by having students become the experts. How? Split your class into several groups (3-6 students per group). From there, assign each student a certain topic to become an expert in. This student meets with students from the other groups that were assigned the same topic to form an expert group. The expert groups learn everything they can about their topics together. After being a part of the expert group, students go back to their original groups and teach the other group members everything they learned.

Courtesy of: 2differentiate

Courtesy of: 2differentiate

Amazing? Yep. Super easy, super fun and challenges the students. Students want to showcase their knowledge to other students. They want to collaborate and learn from each other. We, as educators, are no longer the keepers of knowledge. We are mentors and advisors. It’s okay to step back and let your students take complete ownership over their learning.

Now, how does this technique fit with technology and your apprehension with having to know all of this technology? Here’s the catch… don’t have to know everything about technology; you don’t even have to know a lot! Why? The students are already experts and if they aren’t, they catch on extremely quickly by playing on their own and are always beyond excited to reverse roles with you and be your teacher and have you as their student.

An example of this: you know you want your students to present the research they have just done. PowerPoint is what you immediately think of. However, PowerPoint will probably be the death of society. Be creative. Let the students decide which software, website, etc. to use to present. You could offer up suggestions on ones you’ve heard about: PhotoPeach, SlideRocket, Animoto, VoiceThread, Glogster, and Prezi. You can learn ONE. Tell your students that you are an expert in Prezi, but know these other tools are pretty awesome and that you would love for them to teach the class and yourself how to use them. Watch the hands fly up and volunteer to think outside of the box, learn on their own and then the excitement they get from teaching you and their classmates. You could easily group them with this as well. You five can use PhotoPeach; you five can learn Animoto.

As you go into a technology project, remind students that you are not the expert in all of these sites/programs, etc. They will still respect you and love you even more for your honesty and showing that you are still a learner.

Good luck and have fun! Watch the enthusiasm from your students!