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Friday, October 5, 2012

Maria Manore: Teacher & Kinder-Craze Blogger

Today is World Teacher Day and we’d like to celebrate all educators around the globe. We invited kindergarten teacher Maria Manore to share a guest blog post about helpful ways to use Pinterest for lesson plans and project suggestions for the classroom.

Greetings pinning friends! I’m Maria Manore - kindergarten teacher, polka dot enthusiast, indie music addict, and author of Kinder-Craze (a blog sharing creative ideas, DIYs, and inspiration for early elementary teachers.) When I am not teaching, blogging, or plugged in to my iPod, I’m scoping out the eye candy on Pinterest.

As a classroom teacher, Pinterest has become my hands-down, number one source of classroom ideas and inspiration. And I know I’m not alone. Every time I walk into a colleague’s classroom I see Pinterest-inspired practical ideas, student projects, and generally delightful teacher-y touches.

Figuring it Out, One Pin at a Time

When I first joined the Pinterest community, I was clueless about the site’s potential for the classroom. I pinned items haphazardly, followed random people and my landing page evolved into a smorgasbord of photos that were pretty, but lacking a purpose. I slowly discovered great pins from other teachers and my one-and-only school themed board (At School) began to grow much faster than my personal boards.

Over time, I began to recall some of the great classroom ideas I had discovered through Pinterest and wanted to refer back to the original pin. Unfortunately, locating the exact pin on my At School board was less than ideal. So I gradually began to create new boards based upon my classroom needs. What a difference! Instead of 250+ random pins all in the same jumbled board, I created 63 school related boards (and counting) for specific holidays, themes, and content areas.

Having a digital record of these ideas that I can find and reference from any wireless device has had tremendous repercussions in my classroom space as well. Teachers have a lot of STUFF and I am not an exception to this rule (a reality that kills a little piece of my clutter-hating soul each day). Thanks to Pinterest, I have been able to toss many items out my overflowing file cabinets, trim down my paper files, and easily access the exact same ideas in a neat and streamlined way.

  

Managing all those Boards

As my collection of boards increased, I discovered a new problem with my semi-organized system. Over time, I developed so many boards that I began to struggle with locating the specific board I needed. My next task-at-hand was organizing my boards in a way that was most effective for my needs. As I began to contemplate the organizing process, it became apparent that I had 3 types of boards: school related (such as Math, Christmas & ELA), collaborative (more about those in a minute), and personal (My style, Yummie, Home Sweet Home).

Since the bulk of my pins are located in my school related boards, I knew I wanted those to be the priority. The fastest way to locate these boards is alphabetically, so I arranged my school-themed pinboards into ABC order.  These were followed by the collaborative boards I contribute to (arranged in ascending order by Grade Level). The bottom of my Pinterest page contains my personal boards (also in alphabetical order).

Making the Most of Every Moment

As a teacher, every single moment of my day is precious. Organizing my pins and boards certainly was an investment of time, but my initial efforts are proven worthwhile every single time I am able to quickly locate and fetch a classic pin from one of my boards.

Now I know you’re wondering, “if time is such a luxury, when’s your favorite time to pin?”
The answer is simple: while I’m standing in line at the grocery store (multitasking=joy).

Pin-credible Boards

I know you’ve been waiting patiently, so let me get back to those Collaborative Boards. Pinterest makes it possible to invite other pinners as contributors to your pinboards. This is a wonderful way to share ideas. Charity Preston (a great pinner to follow by the way) has created collaborative boards for each grade level. Each board has SEVERAL contributors (by invitation only) and thousands of pins. The result is a steady stream of high-quality pins. If you are looking for grade-level specific pins, these are fantastic boards to follow:

KindergartenKlub.com
FirstGradeFaculty.com
SecondGradeSquad.com
ThirdGradeTroop.com
FourthGradeFriends.com
FifthGradeFlock.com
SixthGradeStaff.com
MiddleSchoolMaestros.com
HighSchoolHerd.com

Collaborative Pinboards do not always have to be so large-scale and elaborate. They are also great for sharing content and ideas with co-workers. Just imagine the possibilities for committee work. Social committees can collaborate and share gift ideas, teachers in charge of planning a reception for school volunteers can pin party décor and party themes, staff members can share fun ideas for open house … really the possibilities are endless.

Pinners I (Heart)

I’m always on the lookout for great pinners to follow. Some of my current favorites are Schoolgirl Style, Teaching Blog Addict, and Erica Bohrer.

Maria Manore, kindergarten teacher and Kinder-Craze blogger, Currently obsessed with pinning to Sparkle.