August 16, 2014

Happenings in Hodgensville - Pinning

Happenings in Hodgensville is me sharing a small piece of myself with you—sometimes it will be classroom related and sometimes just a, “Hey! Here is what is happening in my life right now” post.

Today I'm writing about pinning.

This summer I was fortunate enough to work with a lot of teachers to help them challenge their students’ reading, writing, and thinking skills. What I learned while working with these teachers is that several are not on Pinterest.

I was surprised because I just assumed that everyone was on and using it to help them with classroom ideas.

This is not the case.

So, I want to make a case for using Pinterest in your classroom.

First, I call Pinterest a place of magic. A lot happens there—it is not just a place to “pin” things. It is an inspiration. I use Pinterest to pin all kinds of decorating ideas, style ideas, and classroom ideas.

I also can share my love of books, Marilyn Monroe, Star Wars, and more…

But here is how I use it to help me grow as a teacher.

1.    I have a board titled “Hodgensville.” This is what I call my classroom, so when I see something that may inspire something I want to do in my classroom—from decorating to seating arrangements to handouts—I pin it to this board.

2.    No matter if I have taught something for fifteen years or am about to teach something for the first time, I turn to Pinterest first. I search for what I am teaching, and I scroll through ideas. Any that I really like, I “pin” for later use.

3.    Confession: I hate teaching poetry. I have never enjoyed reading and studying it. I struggle with the idea of rhythm in poetry. With senior English, I have no choice but to teach it. (I can get away with not teaching it in AP Lang since we are a non-fiction class.) So, I turned to Pinterest for ideas on how to help me bring it to my classroom (1) without torturing myself and (2) engaging my students. Through Pinterest, I found a great YouTube video that teaches students how to properly use TP-CASTT. I found two different version of TP-CASTT to use with my students. This inspired me to teach TP-CASTT to my students using Dr. Seuss books. I broke them into groups of three, had one read the book to them while the other two worked through TP-CASTT together. This allowed students to practice the strategy without overloading them with “scary” language and gave them a foundation to use TP-CASTT on an assigned poem.

4.    With Pinterest, I don’t have to “bookmark” everything and then lose it when my browser updates, which has happened a few times. I know I have an idea pinned on my Hodgensville board, so it does not take me long to find it.

5.    It gives me a common language with my students. They are social media mavens. They use social media for so many things. The first time I ever mentioned Pinterest, they were surprised I knew what it was. I told them, “I was on Pinterest back when it was new and no one really knew what it was.” That always surprises them—and it allows me to appear hip and tech savvy in a world where being those two things at my age are getting more difficult.

6.    Pinterest really is a place of amazing professional development. Many of us have joked about earning PD credit because we spend so much time on the site, but truly, it is a site that I find so much inspiration and new ideas and development, that it really should be considered PD.

How many of you are on Pinterest? How do you use it in your classroom/PD?

Leave a comment below and let’s talk about what inspires us as educators, what helps us grow our craft? Pinterest is just one small and simple example.

Happy Teaching!

     - The Hodgenator

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