- Know your search options: Pinterest allows you to search by pins, pinners, or boards. For example, if you are looking for bulletin board ideas for your sixth grade classroom, you can search "6th grade bulletin board" and then narrow your search using the buttons below. You can then browse "boards" that are entire collections filled with 6th grade bulletin board ideas.
- Start thinking of Pinterest as your new search engine. For teaching ideas, it beats Google, in my opinion. When I'm planning a lesson, I head straight to pinterest. It's so quick and easy to use as a search engine, and gives me better results than anything else. I can almost always find exactly the fresh idea I am looking for.
- Follow the right pinners, then start with your home feed each time you log in. Pinterest is selecting pins just for you based on not only who you follow, but also pins that are similar to the topics that you have already shown interest in. If you teach middle or high school math, I've collected links to some of my favorite math education boards and sorted them by category for you here.
- When you are looking up close at a pin you like, scroll down to keep searching. Pinterest will offer you "related pins" and also show you more boards that contain that pin. Use the related pins and boards to find more ideas that are exactly like what you are looking for.
- Here's a really cool way to find content that is a great fit for your own classroom: Enter your favorite website or blog at the end of the pinterest URL in your web browser using this formula: https://www.pinterest.com/source/mathgiraffe.com but replace mathgiraffe.com with your own favorite teaching site if for some strange reason I'm not your favorite (very unlikely, I know). If you choose a "source" blog that is exactly the type of content you enjoy in your classroom, then the pinners that you see listed will be teachers JUST LIKE YOU, who teach the same content in the same way! Browse through the pins that came directly from your favorite site, and click on those pinners. They will likely have boards packed with teaching ideas that you will love, since they share your interests.
- Make your boards specific. It may not seem like you need to do this at first, but as your boards fill up, it gets harder and harder to go back and find that great idea you had for wrapping up your unit on fractions. I started my subject boards and a few topic boards, but one of my own Pinterest goals is to get even more specific, like "linear equations," so I can find what I am looking for quickly.
- Change the pin description! It's so quick and easy to just click "pin," but then you have another person's caption on an image that you want to use later as a bookmark. Include enough in your description to remind you what is actually on the site that the pin links to. Also, write yourself a quick note so you remember what inspired you. Try something like "This organization idea would be perfect for my assessment folders. I'll add checklists to the inside labels."
- In addition to your subject and content boards, make some boards to save classroom management and decor ideas. You can even save teacher outfits, ideas for parent night, and more! Don't limit yourself, because eventually you will see an idea you want to save, and it won't quite fit your board topics. You will never find it again if you save your "discipline tips" pin onto your "Science Lessons" board.
- Instead of instantly deleting email notifications from Pinterest, use them!! Save the emails that tell you who re-pinned your pins. When you have time to browse for school ideas, click through the pinner names and board names on those emails. Browse through those people's other teaching ideas. If they liked what you pinned, then you will probably like what they pinned!
- If you see a pin that you like, but you are not sure if it is worthy of cluttering up your boards, click "like." You will be able to find it later if you really want to by searching your own "likes." You can also comment on pins. If you are pinning straight from the original pin, feel free to ask questions or comment on the idea! That pinner or blogger will get a notification and hopefully will answer you!
- If you pin something to the wrong board, you can "copy" or "move" it. You can even do this with multiple pins all at once. This is handy if you decide to make your boards more specific later on and want to re-organize. It's a lot easier than re-re-pinning each one individually.
- Pinterest also allows you to set up "secret boards." These are great for ideas that you want to save, but don't want students, parents, or friends seeing.
- If you have not already installed a "Pin It" button on your browser, be sure to take advantage of it! You can do this directly through Pinterest here: https://about.pinterest.com/en/goodies - The button sits on your browser toolbar, and when you find content on the web that you want to save, you just click it. It will create an instant pin for you. This is wonderful for bookmarking the websites that you already use or reference all the time for teaching. You can now save them alongside all your other collections in Pinterest, so everything is in the same place.
- Collaborate with your teaching team using group boards. You and your co-teachers can all share a board. You can invite others so that you can all pin to the same board. Share ideas as a team!