Have you checked out Pinterest? It’s another social networking site, but with a twist. You really don’t interact with other people as much as you do with 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 follow their boards. In other words you see the things they have pinned to their boards. If you like it, you can repin to one of your boards. I have boards titled Ideas for School, Food Ideas, Owls, Math, Dogs, Craft Ideas, and photography, to name a few. If you are a visual person, you will love it!
Pinterest is a gold mine for teachers. During the month or so I have been on Pinterest, I have gotten some great ideas for things to try in my classroom. I have also been introduced to some fantastic blogs. It has also made me more creative, as I work to put my own spin on things.
We’ve only been in school a week and a half, but here are some of the new things I tried, because of ideas I first saw on Pinterest.
Class Name Puzzle
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. 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 perfect fit for our “Capturing Kids Hearts” plans to engage and get to know students better.
It was a great illustration of the fact that everyone in our class is unique, but without everyone, our class would be incomplete.
I used a large piece of manila oak-tag, which I divided into 30 pieces (29 kids plus me). I have student desks grouped, so to make it easier to reassemble the puzzle, I cut the puzzle into five sections with 6 puzzle pieces per section. I traced the section on my dark blue mounting board. I had the kids cut out their individual puzzle pieces. I didn’t realize until I was ready to hand the sections out that I needed to mark the top of each piece, so students would draw and decorate their name upright and on the correct side. When it was time to put the puzzle together, we called one group at a time to come up to fit their pieces. It worked amazingly well.
Top Ten Posters
This was another great way to get to know students. I saw a poster similar to this in the Really Good Stuff catalog. Later I saw those posters pinned on Pinterest. I decided to design my own. I got out my scrapbooking “how to” books, to help me with the lettering. I drew the poster free hand, then took it to a local copy place to have 11 x 17 copies of the poster made.
I tied the project into our Writer’s Workshop and grammar lessons. It was a good way to review sentence structure and talk about writing complex sentences using vivid language. I modeled the writing process, and designed my own poster, demonstrating how to add designs that added meaning to the poster. If I hadn’t taken time to do that, I don’t think I would be getting the quality work that I’m seeing.
Each child is presenting their poster to the class a’ la David Letterman. We’re having a lot of fun, I’m learning a lot about the kids, and it will make a nice display for the hall.
Good Bye Poem
I was looking for something to use as my Launch at the end of the day, (more Capturing Kids Hearts stuff.) I saw a handwritten copy of this poem on Pinterest. Later I saw where someone had created a poster with different colors and fonts for each line. At first I just printed that one, but it did not have all the lines that I wanted to include. That’s what gave me the idea to recreate it myself using Printshop Deluxe. I found all the graphics in the Printshop library.
After printing off a small copy of the poster, I scanned it and made it into a jpeg, which I uploaded to Walgreens. I was able to have the poster made for about $11. I am very pleased with the results, and the kids and I are having a great time learning the lines to this poem.
Where are you finding inspiration as you begin your new school year? What new things are you trying this year?