Saturday, July 7, 2012
Pinterest: Professional Development From the Comfort of Your Couch
Since I first began using it, Pinterest has become a very popular social networking site. If you have never checked it out, it's a social networking site with a twist. Instead of carrying on conversations with other people, you follow their ideas and interests. Pinterest works like a virtual bulletin board. You create boards about things you are interested in, and when you find websites, blogs, ideas or photos that you like, you pin them to your boards.
Like other social networks you follow other people, but in this case you really follow their pins and boards. In other words you see the things they are pinning to their boards. If you like it, you can repin it to one of your boards. At the present time, I have 29 boards. My boards center around education, food, my hobbies, and a few other topics.
If you are a very visual person, like I am, you will love it! It is sort of an on-line magazine. In this magazine you choose the topics that you want to see.
During the year or so that I have been using Pinterest, I have been inspired to try many new things in my classroom. I have been introduced to blogs I didn't know existed, and astounded by the dedication and creativity of teachers from around the world. Pinterest has also prompted me to be more creative myself, and to put my own spin on things.
Of my twenty-nine boards, nine of them are devoted to education topics. I have a Math Board. When we were learning about geometry, I found many great ideas including this lesson for using Cheez-Its to learn about area and perimeter.
I discovered the world of Foldables on Pinterest, and I have a board for that. I saw an idea using a foldable to create a book report for biographies. I addapted that idea, and when we studied the Middle Ages, we created Medieval Paper Dolls. Each person chose someone from the middle ages to learn about. They used a pattern that I had, leftover from my days of teaching first grade, to make the paper doll. They wrote a story in third person, describing life for this group of people, then they also wrote a story from the point of view of their character. All of this was in the little book that their person is holding. I was very happy with the way this project turned out, and I will definitely do it again. We were also satisfying the requirements of one of our Iowa Core Standards.
Right now there are many ideas being posted for beginning of the school year activities. Last year my class created a Name Puzzle, which hung on our classroom door all year. The original idea for this puzzle poster came from a blog from Germany. While I had a year of German back in college, it wasn't enough to enable me to read the blog post, but I managed to read the picture well enough to come up with this "getting to know you" activity for our first day of school. It was a great illustration of the fact that everyone in our class is unique, but without everyone, our class would be incomplete.
Good ideas are always a catalyst for more creativity. Where are you finding inspiration as you move toward a new school year? If you haven't tried Pinterest, I highly recommend it. My recommendation does come with a warning. Pinterest can be highly addictive. You can spend hours exploring one great idea after another.