For someone who has resisted social media in almost all its forms, I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon at first glance. Recipes, style ideas, home inspiration – Pinterest has everything! More importantly, it is a fount of ideas for teachers. However, I found that there is quite a difference between “pinning” classroom ideas, and actually implementing them. I have recently used Pinterest in improving my own math classroom, and hopefully the steps I took can be helpful to other teachers in bringing some Pinterest inspiration into the classroom.
The first thing I did was define what it was I wanted Pinterest to help me with. Recently, I took a new position in a low-income district as the 6-8th math teacher. Within the first few weeks, I found that my students did not have the necessary supplies for math class (pens, paper, etc.), nor did they have the executive functioning skills to organize their notes, classwork, or homework. It was creating chaos in my classroom, and low grades for the students. I turned to Pinterest for a solution.
In my initial searches, I began searching ideas through general search terms. “Math supplies”, “math notes”, and finally “math notebooks” led me to the idea of interactive math notebooks. When I searched interactive math notebooks, there were tons of good ideas. I realized that my students would create math notebooks that would house all of their notes and work, along with interactive foldable features that would make it more engaging, hands-on, and fun. I could provide all supplies needed, eliminating the chaos and helping my students learn to take notes and stay organized.
With that decided, I started my own board just for math notebook ideas. This kept these pins separate and more organized than collecting them in my general “School” board where they would get lost amongst the crowd. Within the board, I pinned a bunch of ideas on how to organize and set-up the math notebook. Then once I had a general idea of how I wanted my notebook to be organized, I started searching for ideas of foldables and projects that students could create for their notebooks by searching the topics I was teaching along with the words “notebook”, “foldable”, or “activity”. For example, my 7th graders are learning about integers, so I found an accordion number line that they created for their notebooks, as well as some ideas for foldables to remember the integer operation rules. My 8th graders are learning quadratics, so I’ve pinned some ideas to help them learn about quadratic formulas and graphs.
An important aspect in actually implementing the ideas that I’ve pinned has been keeping my board organized. The first thing I do before I pin something (or soon after), is I quickly scan the website to make sure that the idea is something worthwhile. Sometimes the caption under the picture is more interesting than the actual link itself. Another tactic that helps me stay organized is that I also label my pins with the chapter that each concept coincides with in my curriculum. We teach the Connected Math curriculum, so my 7th grade integer pins are labeled with Accentuate the Negative (the name of the unit). This allows me to gather all the ideas I’ve pinned for each chapter together so I can organize them as I plan for the unit.
Once I have tried an idea, I delete it from my board. This way I can keep my page simple and uncluttered, and it helps me find and select ideas to implement (my recipe board is overwhelming, and I can attest that I barely look at any of the recipes I pinned even a month ago!). One additional step I am taking is to create a new board where I will pin all the interactive math notebook activities that I have done throughout the year that have been successful. This will help me keep my ideas organized from year to year, as well as possibly help other teachers who may want to do something similar.
Here’s where you can find my Math Notebook Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/pzdonek/math-notebooks/.