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30 Day eLearning Challenge Curation Tools Series

Day 9 #30DC14: Build Better Lessons with Pinterest

At the heart of our work is designing compelling learning experiences for our students. Great lessons are engaging, develop skills, convey knowledge, and speak to the individual needs of each child. They are both challenging and achievable, while aligning to our curriculum and the academic standards our community embraces. They provide opportunities for our students to create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically, and they give students ownership of their learning by providing voice and choice.

Building 180 of these lessons each year is a tall order for the creativity and organization of any teacher.  Fortunately, none of us have to rely on only our experiences and imaginations to create daily learning experiences. Our professional learning networks open the doors to the best ideas from teachers all over the world. There are dozens of great online tools that we can use to locate, curate and organize great lesson ideas, and there are fantastic social networking tools where teachers share ideas every day. One great tool that does all of this is Pinterest.

What is Pinterest?

Check out this video to get a general sense of how Pinterest works:

Why Pinterest?

There are two features that make Pinterest such an effective tool for teachers. The first is it’s interface that allows an individual to curate ideas. First, users find content that is useful or inspirational. These items are called Pins in the Pinterest metaphor. Those pins are collected (Pinned) on Boards. So, as a user, I might pin an idea for a lesson plan in Math to my Math Resources Board. My Boards become an effective place for me to explore great ideas that I have found over time.

The other great Pinterest feature is its community. Many educators share their Boards publicly on Pinterest. As a member of Pinterest, I can follow educators whose Boards are useful to me. I can also Re-Pin their ideas to my Boards with a click of a button. In effect, I have access to the power of thousands of educators who are organizing their ideas on Pinterest, and by sharing my Boards, I am supporting the learning of my fellow educators.

Here is a great Prezi that shares some terrific ways that educators are already using Pinterest to enhance the learning in their classes:

NOTE: If the Prezi doesn’t show, click the puzzle piece icon to run Adobe Flash.

Getting Started

Here are a few more resources to get you started:

Suggested Uses

  • Find, Pin and Share Classroom Design Resources
  • Find, Pin and Share Lesson Plan Ideas
  • Find, Pin and Share Inspiration for Teachers
  • Find, Pin and Share Great Articles and Blogs About Teaching
  • Find, Pin and Share Great Examples of your Content in the World
  • Find, Pin and Share Great Writing about Your Content
  • Find, Pin and Share Resources for Specific Lessons and Units
  • Find, Pin and Share Content that will Engage Students and Parents
  • Pin and Share Examples of the Learning that Goes on in Your Classroom
  • Find, Pin and Share Brainteasers, Writing Prompts, Brain Breaks, Ice Breakers, and Effective Teaching Strategies

Why it Matters (Teaching Rubric)

Our ability to design effective lessons for our learners that are engaging, well-structured, differentiated and aligned to our standards (Competency 1.1) is enhanced when we have access to a wider variety of resources. When we collaborate with colleagues both in our buildings and through online communities (Competency 4.1) we have the capacity to grow more quickly as educators, and to enhance the work of our profession as a whole.

Additional Resources

If Pinterest isn’t your thing, there are always other tools for both curating online resources and for collaborating and building your personal learning network. For curation, some of our favorites include LiveBinders, Symbaloo, Sqworl, Blendspace, and LessonPaths. If you are looking for thriving online collaborative communities, you can find them in lots of places. Some of our favorites include Twitter, Google+, Facebook and Instagram. Finally, if you are looking for tools that are like Pinterest, but that have more of an education focus, check out Participate (formerly EduClipper).

Your Challenge

Today’s challenge is to look at the options in a curation and collaboration tool like Pinterest and reflect on how you could use this resource to enhance lesson planning and professional collaboration.  Share those reflections in the comments below and if you have another great curation or collaboration tool please feel free to add it to your comments as well.   Commenting on others responses is a great way to share ideas and make educational connections, just remember that “active participation” is more than just an “attaboy” for someone else.  Enjoy!


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39 comments

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Stacie Inman December 8, 2014 at 7:57 pm

I use Pinterest for my VIPs in the room. I find there are some much better artists than me on Pinterest, so my posters are better visuals for students to refer to as we move through the year.

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S Wright November 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Few things have opened up the possibilities in my classroom like Pinterest. It has been an amazing collaborating platform for myself and many others. I love to use it not only to pin ideas for lessons, but to make contact with educators around the world. The vast network of ideas makes it much easier to find and utilize engaging lessons. I have also used Pinterest with my students. I am hoping to allow them to create their own Pinterest boards based on their projects, then they can present to the class to share their ideas or pin from each others boards.

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Patty Horn November 13, 2014 at 2:54 pm

I attended a session at a conference where they showed us how great it is using Pinterest for education. I am looking forward to finding more time to peruse this vast resource of activities, lessons, products, etc… that I can find so quickly in Pinterest. I love that you can follow certain people who specifically post items that will interest and help me in my teaching.

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Shane Brogan November 9, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Keshia Seitz has a great idea in letting the students look for the information on Pintrest and post it. We are going to begin linear equations and I am going to let the students look for topics that deal with each days lesson a few days ahead of time. If they something worth while they can let me know and I can pin it. I believe that this will give students ownership in what we are learning. Thank you Ms. Seitz!

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Heather Coy November 7, 2014 at 4:55 pm

When I have an idea for a new project or am looking of a new twist on an “old” lesson, I search the Internet so see what someone else has done. Pinterest adds another source of ideas to build on. I use Livebinders to collect and organize the sources I find.

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Latricia Barnes November 5, 2014 at 4:46 pm

I default to Pinterest a lot for education, as well as for my own personal interests. It’s the best tool I have found for finding creative ideas without having to reinvent the wheel. Math activities, bulletin boards, language arts lessons,etc…it’s all there. The great thing about PInterest is that the activities/ideas are easily implemented, educational, and are super fun for the kids. Another plus, is that it’s such a time saver, which is essential in the our busy lives today.

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Latricia Barnes November 5, 2014 at 4:49 pm

The most recent activity I found was Synonym Rolls, which my students were excited about. They were able to use a Thesaurus, and create new vocabulary for themselves. I can’t imagine getting students to pick up a thesaurus unless it was for something fun; in this case, they had a blast!

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Timothy Wilhelmus December 4, 2014 at 11:26 am

Cool idea!

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Melissa Mayer November 5, 2014 at 12:54 pm

My only issue with Pinterest is once I start I can’t stop! I need to go to a group called Pinning Anonymous. My family hates when I get on because they lose me for so long. I love all the ideas and lessons I can find. I really like collaborating with teachers and people all over the world. It helps to have a fresh perspective on an old or new idea. One of our teachers is doing a writing assignment about what could the kids eat at Thanksgiving instead of turkey. I could see each student creating a board on what their meal would be. They could add to it decorations and activities for the day. I use Pinterest myself but need to include the student aspect. I have gotten some great ideas on this challenge and will try and do just that.

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Peter Barringer November 3, 2014 at 10:31 am

I’ve never used Pinterest to come up with lessons before, but my co-teacher has. She has found all sorts of enriching activities and lessons on everything from grammar to Shakespeare. I’ve seen some of the boards she pins from, and there are practically endless ideas. I am good at creating lessons that revolve around technology, but I’m not creative in the way most of the teachers are Pinterest are.

However, I have used Pinterest in other ways. There are some excellent yearbook/journalism boards on Pinterest that I have linked for students on the resources tab of my Weebly. My yearbook students use Pinterest to come up with fresh coverage strategies, picture ideas, and titles almost daily.

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Timothy Wilhelmus December 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

Love the idea of getting layout ideas for journalism from Pinterest. What a great format for that type of idea sharing.

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Rachel Leslie November 3, 2014 at 8:08 am

Oh, how I LOVE pinterest!!! I have to admit I didn’t see the point of using pinterest with students (of course I had used it for me a million times)! However there are some really great ideas on this. I’ve loved reading through the blog and gaining ideas through that as well.

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[email protected] November 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm

I love Pinterest and livebinders! Great planning tools!!

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Jo Burns October 31, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Pinterest is great site to archive lessons, ideas, classroom tools and decor, share, gather, and create educational materials. I have used it to organize subject material and store future and current lesson ideas. I have also gotten Daily Five resources from Pinterest postings.

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Chad Fetscher October 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I have been on the Pinterest for a long time thanks to my wife. In the world of education it is safe to say that there are really few new ideas but mostly enhancements on what other’s have done. That is where Pinterest comes in. When you type your query into the search function it instantly links you to ideas that meet your initial question, I want to make a bulletin board about… and sure enough someone else has all ready done it and most often added things that you may have not even thought of. For me that is my favorite part of Pinterest it gives you things that are directly related to your search and also adds things that may be on the fringe of your idea or 180 degrees in a new direction you may have not thought of yet. Pinterest is on my tool bar on my tool bar and I have the app on my phone in order to take a peak to see what others have done before, sometimes to get me started on a project or to take my idea even further. The share function on Pinterest is handy to because my wife will often come across ideas that she things I might be interested in or could use in my class and she can quickly send it to me to check it out. It is helpful for secondary but an absolute must for elementary teachers.I use Livebinder to help organize the links that Pinterest sends me to.

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Gayle Kiesel October 31, 2014 at 10:57 am

I have just recently started exploring Pinterest and love the ideas from Connie! My goal was to start using Pinterest to create recommended reading for students who love a particular series or author to help them find new authors to keep them reading and grow their tastes beyond the one author. Using Connie’s ideas, I will also start some geared toward helping students find topic ideas for their writing and reading assignments.

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Latricia Barnes November 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm

I’m wondering if you think creating boards for parents would work? Pinning ideas for math, language arts, and enrichment websites are just a few ideas I have thought about. It’s another technological avenue to help get families engaged in educational activities with their children.

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Gayle Kiesel December 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm

That is a good idea. I am not sure if parents are as involved as they are with the younger grade levels but it is definitely worth trying if it encourages parent engagement. Thanks!

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Timothy Wilhelmus December 4, 2014 at 11:23 am

I’ve seen examples of boards that schools create for parents or the community. I think that would be a great application of this tool.

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sfeller2013 October 31, 2014 at 10:17 am

I love Pinterest! I have been using it for years for my own personal use and just started using it for classroom needs. In the summertime, when I have more time, I look at it for all kinds of classroom ideas. I use it now for, collaborating with other teachers for lesson plans. I love that it is cloud based, and don’t have to worry about losing it if your computer crashes

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Leah Simon October 31, 2014 at 6:45 am

I love pinterest! It is my best PLN for all the classes I teach in math. While every link may not work 100% of the time I can figure it out most of the time from the picture. I have educational boards for geometry, algebra, consumer math, general classroom; technology, PBL, formative assessments, interactive notes, and grant ideas (maybe more-). I wish I could break down my geometry board within the geometry board for each unit. I could do it myself but I try to keep a limit of boards. I follow DOE’s Pinnovation too which spotlights new educators to follow and look through their finds, I like the sharing of pins that is so open compared to having to go ask someone for their idea.

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Timothy Wilhelmus December 4, 2014 at 11:21 am

One solution to the organizing of boards might be to make boards of the individual units and then collect them in another curation site like Symbaloo or LiveBinders.

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Shelley Breivogel October 30, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Sometimes teachers give their students choice using something like a tic-tac-toe choice board. Pinterest could take this to a whole new level. You could create pinterest boards to represent each choice the students have and on each board, you could pin the rubric, tools, sites, materials, etc.that students would use to carry out their selections. You may also want to consider including a pin with an example.

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Timothy Wilhelmus December 4, 2014 at 11:07 am

LOVE that idea!

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JD Weagley October 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm

I have used Pinterest for curating lesson ideas for a few years. I teach 6 different classes, so compiling resources and ideas, then finding them is important. I have boards set-up for each of the units in each of my classes – it has really helped me find more hands-on and STEM activities/labs for science. I have also used to create boards for edTech resources and FLL/Mindstorms resources. I’m not sure what I would do without the ideas and inspiration I receive from other pins.

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Patricia Claybaugh October 30, 2014 at 7:02 pm

I began using Pinterest a couple of years ago and have loved it ever since. It makes finding new and creative ideas to use in the classroom so easy! It’s amazing the variety of ways you can use Pinterest too. I love the new feature where Pinterest brings up related Pins on your home screen. I also like being able to connect with other educators. I can follow teachers who have boards that are interesting to me and be constantly getting new ideas. I think one of the best things about Pinterest is being able to store all of my ideas in one place without have to go back through my Google search history to find a website I looked at two months ago. It’s also great to be able to just browse the Education section. It’s nice that it’s so current. I can always count on Pinterest to offer fresh, new ideas that make teaching fun!

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Timothy Wilhelmus December 4, 2014 at 11:02 am

I agree. I love having one place where I curate my resources in a visual format.

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Nicole StClair October 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Pinterest not only offers resources but allows teachers to connect with teachers across the country for inspiration. When teachers use it for ‘networking’ as they follow other teachers’ boards, our access to quality instructional ideas increases exponentially. It is worth noting that some teachers, like myself, need to be reminded that teachers on pinterest are sharing their best work and not to begin comparing our work to that of others…but simply consider how we can improve what is happening in our classroom.

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Timothy Wilhelmus December 4, 2014 at 10:55 am

Well said. You make an important point about what teachers share.

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Kelly Bratcher October 30, 2014 at 12:49 pm

I love all of the educational resources that I stumble upon in Pinterest. I would even like to get my students using it to find and collect info about a related topic in class. This year, I created a lot of lessons using Blendspace. I liked being able to put all of my videos and links together in one visual place. I would like it better; however, if they allowed students to comment on other students comments instead of having one big thread. I think Pinterest can really help me liven up old lessons by finding the latest videos, posters, or links. I need to devote a little time every week to searching for more resources.

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Timothy Wilhelmus December 4, 2014 at 10:54 am

Blendspace is a great tool for curating resources for kids. I agree about the discussion piece.

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Michelle Green October 30, 2014 at 9:35 am

I have been curating with Pinterest for a few years now, and started the Pinnovation blog to spotlight how other Indiana educators are using Pinterest http://indianapinnovation.blogspot.com/. While I pin personally, here is a link to the INeLearn boards http://www.pinterest.com/INelearn/

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Timothy Wilhelmus October 30, 2014 at 10:52 am

Thanks for the shares, Michelle! As the person who advocated Pinterest long before I was willing to engage with it, I owe you a debt of gratitude for continuing to push me there. I still love LiveBinders as well, but Pinterest is now my go-to for casual curation.

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Keshia Seitz October 30, 2014 at 9:14 am

I’ll admit – originally I was not a fan of Pinterest for educational use. I was so limited in my thinking initially! I had reduced it to a “crafting and wedding” ideas site….oh, how wrong I was! Fortunately, I have the opportunity to work with many awesome educators everyday and one of them shared how she was using Pinterest with her kids. This teacher uses Pinterest for formative assessments. She has kids post a resource or image or idea that pertains to the essential question for the day. This not only builds up her resource library for use with future classes, but her kids are also engaged and are actually applying what they have learned in class.

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Timothy Wilhelmus October 30, 2014 at 10:47 am

LOVE that idea!

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aknueven (@MrCoachK15) October 30, 2014 at 9:07 am

I try to check out Pinterest at least once a week looking through the different people/topics I follow to see what ideas can be adapted for my students. I’ve created a board for each subject as I also follow other teachers to see what creative ideas or resources they have found too. I love the endless amount of quotes that Pinterest provides that can be adapted to different topics. These are all digital pictures so clicking on them, saving, and then posting on my Student Learning Management System (Canvas) is pretty quick and easy to then share with students. http://www.pinterest.com/mrcoachk15/

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Timothy Wilhelmus October 30, 2014 at 10:46 am

That’s a great point about how easy it is to share the pins and images. It’s also nice that the storage is in the cloud (rather than my hard drive.

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Connie Scharre October 30, 2014 at 8:01 am

I love Pinterest for collecting all my websites I want to look back at when I’m considering new technology, curriculum needs, and collection development for the school or library. I’ve built pinterest pages on Education and iPads; Best Books/Best Resources; Critical Reading and Close Reading; Technology News; and I’ve even kept up the Common Core page I’ve created. Instead of bookmarking pages on my computer to access only from my computer, this website is great at saving web pages that you can access anywhere there is an internet connection. If you are curious, my page is http://www.pinterest.com/cscharre/.

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Timothy Wilhelmus October 30, 2014 at 10:14 am

Thanks for sharing your boards. It’s always a pleasure to see what other educators find as they do their personal learning. Great examples :)

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