BY MICHELLE NERO
May 16, 2012
Teaching is hard. Really hard. There is not one teacher that will deny it. Of course, I love it—most
days. I love the kids. I love the daily challenges. And I’m constantly learning to be the best me in the classroom to push through those challenges and meet the needs of the students. But why try to do it alone?
There are a number of engaging social media sites that can connect us with educators and literacy experts. I’ve learned that there are MANY smart teachers across
the world that I can connect with and learn from daily. Building my personal learning network (PLN) has been a goal of mine this last year and I have found a fun way to do it!
Teachers are always searching for new ideas and novel explanations, expanding our knowledge or understanding about a topic, or just looking for a fun, yet meaningful craft. The internet alone has provided teachers with an immense amount of information.
You may have heard of this booming new site that everyone is checking out. Pinterest
is the fastest growing social networking site that allows its users to collect, organize, and share great ideas—and this hot social networking tool can really enhance your PLN, too! How? By connecting you with educators who share your interests from all over the world. It’s really that BIG! So, What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is an online bulletin board where you “pin” (or collect) interesting images on your own virtual boards. It’s sort of like bookmarking, but way better because you are posting a visual image, instead of that lengthy website address or title of a site. (Now that I think about it, I never do
go back to those bookmarks!)
Let’s say you are browsing the web and you find a great site, such as a resourceful teacher’s blog or an idea that you want to remember—just pin it using the “Pin it” button! It’s really that easy. In addition, I love that you can click on the image and it will take you right back to the original source to gain more information or even more ideas. Easy as One, Two, Pin
Your first step is to get signed up at Pinterest.com
. Currently, it’s by invite-only. You can request an invitation from Pinterest directly, or you could be invited by someone who is already a part of Pinterest. You will then register through your Facebook or Twitter account.
Yes, you read that correctly. In order to sign up to use Pinterest, you must have a Facebook or Twitter account, as Pinterest is a social
networking site. Their ultimate goal is that you are “social” about your pins. (Side note: If you don’t want your pins to pop up on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed, you can change the privacy settings on those respective sites after signing up.)
Complete your profile and update your account settings. You are almost
ready to pin! “Pin It” Button
Click on the “About” menu and select “Pin It Button.” There are directions on how to install a “Pin It” button in your bookmarks bar. For me, it was as easy as dragging the “Pin It” button and dropping it in my bookmarks bar in Safari. Done. Of course, I realize technology isn’t always that cooperative, so there are more detailed directions on the “Goodies” page
if needed. Ready? Set…Pin!
Once you find an image that you want to pin, click your “Pin It” button and all the images that you can pin on the webpage will appear. Select the image that you want to pin, choose the board (refer to “Creating Boards” below) where you want to pin it, add a description, and click “Pin it.” Searching Pinterest
Another perk of Pinterest is that you can search a topic without having to leave the Pinterest site. In addition, the search results allow you to view pins about the topic, boards with the keyword in the title, or people with the keyword in their name. Basically, this means that you don’t even have to leave the Pinterest site to search for ideas!
Recently, I have been thinking about updating and changing the “Thinking Journals” I currently use in my classroom and create more of a Reader’s Notebook. Sure, I could Google it, but then I’d have to scroll down a long list of sites, look for a reputable name, click on the link, read to only find out that it’s not what I am really looking for, then return back to the long list of sites...and the cycle continues on and on for pages and pages.
With Pinterest, I typed “Reader’s Notebook” in the search box in the upper left hand corner and I was immediately pleased to see over a hundred visual “pins” full of reader’s notebook ideas. And, thus, a new board was born: Reader’s Notebook
. I am already implementing changes and love being able to easily go back to one site with all the ideas of collected. Creating Boards
Organizing your pins is easy. Click and create a board to pin ideas on about anything! To create a board, click on the “Add +” in the upper right hand corner and select “Add a Board.” You can also create a new board as you are pinning something.
I originally started a “For the Classroom” board
, which then led to a “Reading Workshop/Daily 5
” board. And then, over the course of a year, I’ve created 32 boards—a mixture of personal and professional boards. I’ve noticed my ideas start BIG, but eventually, I zero in on specific hot topics and create a new board. Following Pinners
If you find a pinner (a.k.a. one who uses Pinterest and pins) that you love or share similar interests, you can follow her and be updated with all the pins she adds daily. (I do say “her” because about 80% of Pinterest users are currently women.) You can follow a person and all the boards they have created, or you can follow individual boards that interest you.
When you are on the Pinterest website and signed in, you will notice this page is constantly updated when the people you follow add new pins. Watch your personal learning network grow! I recently learned that you can share pins with people you follow and you can also create boards where others can contribute as well. Another great opportunity to share and collaborate with your PLN! Repin, Like, or Comment
When you hover your mouse over an image, the social aspects of Pinterest appear. You can select to “Repin” an image that you found while browsing. When you repin, the pinner who first pinned the image will also get credit, and repins maintain the original link of the image.
You can also “Like” a pin—giving it props that you like it. And, if you really want to say something about a pin, go ahead a leave a “Comment.” Pin Etiquette
Any site that you sign up to use has fine print. Of course, there are many copyright laws, but it’s best to remember to:
Still Pinterested in More?
- Pin from the original source.
- Give credit where credit is due.
- Include a thoughtful description.
Happy pinning! Michelle Nero is a reading specialist at a K-5 elementary school in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She has been teaching for 12 years and has been a member of the IRA for just as many. As she continues to engage in learning, she professionally tweets (@litlearningzone) and writes about teaching and practicing her craft on her blog (Literacy Learning Zone). Michelle is reading, writing, and reflecting to be the best she can be in the classroom, all the while balancing life at home with a supportive husband and two year old twin daughters. As she says, “Balancing is oh-so-difficult and oh-so-important!”
© 2013 Michelle Nero. Please do not reproduce in any form, electronic or otherwise. TILE-SIG Feature: Why Pin It When You Can Learn It? Teaching Tips: A Peek Inside—Digital Tools that Empower