Wednesday, February 22, 2012

48 Great Ways Homeschoolers are Using Pinterest

Cross posted from
Pinterest has proven itself to be a valuable tool for so many people: photographers, designers, craft artists, wedding planners, moms, and more. It's a great place to discover interesting ideas, organize your thoughts, and pin down resources that otherwise might get lost in the shuffle. Homeschooling parents make up another group that benefits greatly from Pinterest, as they share unit studies, school room inspiration, and fun classroom project ideas. Read on to learn more about how homeschoolers are finding value in Pinterest, and some of the interesting ways they're putting the site to work in the home classroom.

Check my pinterest:


Whether you're connecting with a homeschool family at your church down the street or through Pinterest in another state, social interaction and sharing is a fun way to enrich homeschooling. These are a few of the ways Pinterest makes that easier.

Join homeschool groups
: Homeschool communities are coming together to create collaborative boards with writing activities, classroom ideas, books, things to order and more, all put on Pinterest to share with the group and anyone else who wants to follow along.
Laugh about homeschooling: Connect with other homeschoolers on Pinterest to find humorous pins that will keep you going with a smile on your face.
Get feedback: Share ideas and resources from your homeschool classroom, curriculum, and more to find out what other homeschoolers think about what you're doing, and maybe even find ways to improve it.
Connect with similar homeschoolers: Stay on Pinterest long enough, and you're bound to run into others with similar ideas for homeschooling that you can collaborate and connect with.
Swap lesson plans: Have a lesson plan you loved? Put it on Pinterest, and look for great lesson plans from others.
See what homeschool looks like at someone else's home: Satisfy your curiosity for finding out what kind of homeschool experience other families are enjoying.
Find encouragement: Search for homeschool resources on Pinterest, and you're certain to find small pieces of encouragement to remind you why your job as a homeschooler is so important.


Spend any amount of time on Pinterest and you're bound to be flabbergasted by the sheer amount of inspiration and valuable resources you can find on the site. These are great ways homeschoolers can gather resources through Pinterest.

School room decor inspiration: Pinterest is full of great ideas for decor, including kids' rooms and even classrooms.
Create digital news clippings: Find news clippings that are relevant for your kids to check out and pin them to a rotating board that they use to start their school day, learning about current events and issues that are relevant to their curriculum.
Find homeschool planners: Pinners love to share their homeschool plans, so you can use the site to check out what other families are doing that week.
Discover great books: Use Pinterest to find the best homeschooling books and great books you can put to work in lessons.
Find studying cheat sheets: Use Pinterest to discover great sheets of information on lots of different subjects.
Resource gathering for presentations: Kids can use Pinterest to find ideas and photos to use in presentations.
Discovering lessons: At some point, the question of what to teach can be a problem for homeschoolers, but Pinterest offers endless ideas for lessons that you can try with your kids.
Get your kids out of the house: Use Pinterest to find outdoor nature ideas to use on a nice day, and burn off some energy in the backyard or park.
Find educational videos: Check out Pinterest to easily locate great videos that you can use in your home classroom.
Find the best photos for your lessons: Quickly and easily locate high-quality and inspiring photos to use in homeschooling lessons through Pinterest.
Gather free resources: Find homeschool freebies, free learning resources, printables, and much more on Pinterest.
Track homeschool-friendly activities: Find out about your city's activities at the zoo, special events, find classes at the history and science museum, and more.
Create study boards: Pinterest is a great place to add activities that suit specific study units, and then go back and browse them with the kids.
Highlighting great art: Find and pin fine art to study as part of a unit, or pin great photos and art ideas that you can try out yourself.
Develop hands-on learning: Check out Pinterest to find great ideas for hands-on learning projects, especially seasonal crafts.
Locating printables: Printable games, work projects, and more are coming out in droves on Pinterest, and you can quickly find and organize them with the site.
Discover experiments: Find great ideas for science experiments you can try at home on Pinterest, and bring your science lessons to life.
Kitchen chemistry inspiration: Pinterest is full of mouth-watering and fun recipes to try out, usually with plenty of photos and easy-to-follow steps that make them perfect for trying out with kids for a regular lesson in kitchen chemistry.
Finding homeschool blogs: Homeschool blogs are a great place to find ideas, and the selections you can find on Pinterest are just the tip of the iceberg. Using Pinterest to find great ideas can also help you find excellent homeschool blogs with even more great ideas.


As a visual bookmarking site, Pinterest is an organizer's dream. Here are just a few of the ways homeschoolers can get organized with Pinterest.

Create a wishlist: Build a wishlist and shopping list to keep track of all of the items you'd like to have for your classroom.
Taming the magazine pile: If you have homeschool and craft magazines clogging up your classroom, you can photograph and pin your favorite ideas to save and organize them, and then dispose of the magazines without guilt or anxiety.
Avoiding distraction: Distracted mama brain can leave you paralyzed, but with Pinterest, you can just pin resources that you come across and check it out later.
Save holiday activities for the future: If you're months away from Christmas, but found some really great ornament crafts to try out in the classroom, you can pin them to a holiday-specific board, and they'll be right there waiting for you when the holiday comes around again.
Organized resources: The Internet is full of worksheets, craft ideas, educational games, and more, and with Pinterest, you can keep them all in neat and highly visual organized bookmarks.
Inventory your books: Save your library to Pinterest, and your kids can visually browse all of the books you have whether they're near the bookcase or not. They can even add comments to the pin and repin them to boards for units or favorite novels.
Easy access to bookmarks: Homeschooling parents who once had thousands upon thousands of text bookmarks can now use Pinterest instead, browsing them in a fun and visual way.
Streamlining weekly lesson planning: Planning lessons can take a lot of time each week, but homeschool parents who have used Pinterest to pin to theme boards have been able to cut out hours of planning time.
Find new ways to make your classroom more organized: Pinterest has seemingly endless ideas for organizing spaces, and you can find great resources for corralling the mess of papers and projects that your classroom accumulates through Pinterest.
Remember your favorite lessons: If you loved it, remember it, and save it in a special board to revisit later with younger children or share with homeschool friends.
Create seasonal boards: Highlight ideas for winter, spring, summer, or fall, and go back to reference them when the time is right.
Create themed weeks: Follow and share calendars on Pinterest to create and participate in themed weeks with other homeschoolers.


Pinterest isn't just a great tool for teaching parents; it's perfect for students as well. See how students can take on Pinterest assignments.

Showcase outstanding work: If your child has done some particularly impressive schoolwork, pin it to a special board to let them know you really appreciate their effort and hard work.
Create collages: As a kid, you probably made collages from magazine pages and mod podged them to a poster board, but your kids can create collages on Pinterest instead.
Lapbooks: Kids can create lapbooks on Pinterest, collecting great resources on a single subject to supplement their curriculum.
A lesson in pinning: Have students use Pinterest to collect and pin items that all have certain criteria in common.
Create photo journals from family vacations: Enjoy your vacation, and when you get back, give the kids an assignment to pin photos that best tell the story of your adventure.
Create a virtual field trip: Even if you can't travel to the Smithsonian, you can go to their website and pin your favorite exhibits and collections as a virtual field trip.
Put together creative writing vision boards: For kids who are working on creative writing assignments, they can put together themes and vision boards on Pinterest.
Family challenges: Lots of Pinterest users gather, gather, and gather some more, but never actually put all of the great ideas they've found to work. You can make it a homeschool challenge for each child (and you) to take on at least one great idea from Pinterest each week.
Save your sanity on a rainy day: If you can't make it outside, but the natives are getting restless, turn to your pins for fun and educational ideas, or quickly browse to find new ideas to put to work right away.
Turn kids into curators: Pinterest is so easy, even younger kids can use it. Help students create Pinterest boards for their favorite things, like animals or even paper dolls.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

World Class Education

A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation

Monday, February 6, 2012

37 Ways Teachers Should Use Pinterest

Check my Pinterest ~ Click here to view.

(Cross posted from

There are a lot of great technology tools out there for teachers that can make it easier to connect with other educators, get ideas for classroom activities, and find inspiration. One of the newest and best of these online tools is Pinterest, which has quickly become a favorite among educators. Using online “pinboards” teachers can save everything from photos to blog posts in one easily accessible and usable place.

Educators who are curious about Pinterest should sign up for an invitation today (it’s still invite only, but it doesn’t take long to get an invitation) and start creating their own amazing collections of pins. Not sure where to start? Check out some of these great ideas on how teachers can use Pinterest.

Pinterest is ideal for getting inspired on a wide range of topics.
Get inspiration for decorating your classroom. Looking to liven up your classroom? There are tons of photos of great classroom setups, from kindergartens to high school that you can use for inspiration.
Organize your ideas. Do you find yourself jotting down ideas or bookmarking websites and then forgetting about them? Pinterest can help you keep these ideas organized and easy-to-find when you need them.
Get ideas for an inspired bulletin board. A great bulletin board display can make kids excited to learn and proud to see their accomplishments on the wall. You’ll find some amazing ideas for creating your own when you browse Pinterest.
Follow interesting boards. Found a treasure trove of resources? Follow that board! That way anytime things are posted to it you’ll see it immediately in your own feed.
Get fun ideas for new projects. Whether you’re looking for holiday fun for students or something to relate to your lessons, you’ll find some really amazing ideas when you look through educational pins on the site.
Learn how to get crafty. Pinterest is full of great craft ideas, both for you and the students. Pin a few to have fun with later on.
Look for ways to organize your classroom. Classroom lacking organization? Search through pins for some great, often very creative, ways to keep your class neat and tidy.

You’ll find a wealth of lessons and ideas on Pinterest to look through.
Swap lesson plans. Pinterest is full of lesson plans that you can use and adapt to your own needs. You can also show off your own great ideas by pinning photos and blog posts on your own.
Locate amazing images for your lessons. Pinterest is a very visual resource, which is what makes it such a great place to look when you’re trying to find images for a lesson or a lecture. There are tons of material that is historical, contemporary, art historical, or just plain interesting to look through.
Have students pin project ideas. Pinterest can also be a great place to get students working. Teachers could have students pin ideas on a board that relate to a particular project they’ll be working on.
Use pinning as part of a lesson. Of course, pinning itself could also be an educational experience. Students could have to pin items that fit a certain set of criteria as part of a lesson.
Collect ideas for virtual field trips. Let your kids travel the world through the web when you find creative online field trips on Pinterest, or build your own through great images.
Make group work visual. Whether you’re working with your colleagues or helping students to work on a group project, Pinterest can be a great place to collaborate. Share images for presentations or links to papers, resources, and research.
Have students photo journal on Pinterest. There are numerous ways students can use Pinterest to journal. How about a series of photos captioned in a foreign language? Or documenting a trip they took? The possibilities are endless.
Find loads of printables. If you’re in the market for some printable games and lessons for your students, you’ll find tons of great stuff on Pinterest.
Pump up your science lessons with amazing experiments. Search through the pins on the site for some ideas that can help bring science to life for your students.
Get ideas on how to make learning more hands-on. There are pages and pages worth of pins all about hands-on projects for students. Take advantage of some to make your lessons more interesting and memorable for your students.
Find great books to use in the classroom. It can be tough to choose books for young readers that are both fresh and age appropriate. Luckily, you’ll find some help on that when you look through Pinterest.
Look for grade-specific materials. Need to search by grade? You can do that, too! If you find boards you like, make sure to follow them.

Develop your teaching skills and connect with other professionals using these Pinterest ideas.
Collaborate with other teachers and educators. Through Pinterest, teachers can create collaborative boards. This makes it simple to work together on projects, build better lessons, or just connect over shared ideas.
Start a conversation. Inspired by a lesson plan or image posted by another educator? Tell them! You can comment on their pins, offering you a chance to learn more and connect.
Share what you’re doing in the classroom. While it’s great to sit back and take in all the images other people have shared, you shouldn’t be afraid to share your own as well. Pin your favorite classroom projects so that other teachers and students can make use of them as well.
Find out about great reads. Whether you’re looking to be inspired or find non-fiction reads about managing your classroom, look to pins from teachers on Pinterest for some recommendations.
Get links to great tech resources. Pinterest is a great place to find out about new tech resources for teachers, including places to print off materials, track your students, or get free educational videos, among other things!
Look for new and innovative teaching methods. Don’t get stuck in the past! Learn about new ways to connect with and manage your students from blog posts linked to on Pinterest.
Find out about awesome new educational products. You can pin pictures of the latest and greatest in educational products, though some may be dream purchases.
Promote your own work or blog. Show off your teaching skills and creativity on Pinterest. You can use it to promote your blog, photos, or anything else you think is worth sharing.
Learn how to help with behavior management. You can find pins and talk with other educators for new ideas on how to handle your students, from rewarding them for doing well to handling a disruptive kid.
Find amazing teaching blogs to read. If you’re looking for more reading material, you’ll find it on Pinterest. There are loads of teacher blogs and educational posts pinned that you can look through.
Develop as a teacher. You might not have thought about using Pinterest as a personal development tool, but it works for that as well. Find ideas that can help you push your teaching to the next level.
Find other teachers. Seek out other teachers on Pinterest so that you can share ideas. You can find your coworkers or strangers and start following each other.
Stay on top of trends. It can be hard to keep up with the latest trends in education and well, everything else. Check out the latest pins on Pinterest for an update.
Find tutorials. Not sure how to take on a project or tackle a new technology? You can use Pinterest to find helpful tutorials that’ll make it a snap.

Pinterest doesn’t have to be all business. There are fun ways to use it, too!
Find inspiration. Being a teacher can be pretty hard work and sometimes you might need a little pick-me-up. You’ll find tons of inspirational quotes and photos that will help you get through even the hardest day.
Create dream classrooms. There are some truly beautiful classrooms posted on Pinterest. Collect your favorite ideas and build a board that represents your ultimate dream classroom.
Laugh after a long day. One of the best ways you can use Pinterest for fun is to create a board dedicated to things that make you smile. Pin cute pictures, comic strips, and funny images for an instant pick-me-up.
Have fun! Pinterest is one of the most fun sites out there to just browse through and enjoy, so don’t just use it for work!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

20 Innovative Ways High Schools Are Using Twitter

(cross posted from

Plenty of colleges are getting tuned in to all of the great things you can do with Twitter, but unfortunately, many high schools are still held back by restrictive social media policies. However, the lucky few who are able to take advantage of Twitter are already doing amazing things. Chatting with students in Pakistan, reporting high school football on the fly, and supplementing classroom discussion are just a few of the great ways high schools have made use of Twitter. Read on, and we’ll explore 20 innovative ways high schools are making use of this great social media tool.

Vocabulary and grammar building

In foreign language classrooms (and beyond) students learn about verbs with the help of Twitter. Through the service, students tweet verbs, their definitions, morphology, and grammatical functions, and as the tweets come in, teachers and peers fix or give hints on incorrect entries. Teachers can see how and where students make mistakes, and have them immediately corrected, while students can understand how they’re making mistakes before getting too far, offering immediate formative assessment.

Parent communication
So many school districts are using both Twitter and Facebook to reach out to plugged-in parents without having to send home notes in kids’ backpacks. Lunch menus, school board meetings, and even discussions about school district decisions are being shared online. Proponents of school districts on Twitter support this move, pointing out that districts can get instant feedback, and parents can conveniently share their insights. In one Portland public school, after sending out information about swine flu and recommending that students wash their hands frequently, community members pointed out that there are unreliable faucets, and the school was able to respond with maintenance workers.

Back channel discussion tool

High school students can sometimes be quite introverted and shy in the classroom, but outspoken online. Additionally, some high school classes move through discussions quickly, and not all students find the opportunity to speak up in class. Both of these issues are addressed as high school classes encourage a Twitter backchannel discussion, in which quiet, shy, and unable-to-get-a-word-in-edgewise students are able to speak up in class without actually speaking up in class, sharing their comments, insights, and even relevant links through Twitter as the discussion goes on. Educators have found that Twitter backchannel discussions provide for more interaction not just in the classroom, but beyond, as students often enjoy further carrying on the conversation even after class time is over.

Professional development
Twitter makes the education world smaller, connecting principals, teachers, and other education professionals across the U.S. and even around the globe. Principal Sheninger at New Milford High School in New Jersey started using Twitter to keep in touch with parents, but found its real value in reaching out to other educators and collaborating with them. He is able to use the tool to find new ideas, new resources, and ideas for professional development.

Reaching out to political candidates
Wise politicians know that listening to the people is their most important job, and as such, so many have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon to connect with constituents and voters, particularly during campaign season. One 11th-grade social studies class in Canada is using a Twitter classroom to reach out to candidates in local elections, allowing students to become more informed and feel more involved in the political process. The students send out questions to the candidates, and often, get responses right back.

Creating imaginative dialogues
Illinois high school English teacher Tracee Orman uses Twitter to enrich the learning experience of Hunger Games, asking students to tweet as if they were a character from a chapter in the book. This is a fun way to engage students in the content that they’re studying, and a great practice in learning empathy and understanding of characters.

Review and understanding
At Iowa’s Valley High School, Sarah Bird’s DigiTools class uses Twitter as a tool for reviewing material. After each discussion Bird asks her students to twitter their MVP (Most Valuable Point) using their classroom hashtag. This quick exercise allows students to further digest and understand the material at hand, while at the same time creating a great resource for future review.

Upgrading under appreciated school newspapers
In some schools, high school newspapers just aren’t getting the attention they used to, as students are often glued to phones, tablets, and laptops much more regularly than anything representing real paper. Some school newspapers are now using Twitter as a way to aggregate news information, tweet stories as they happen, and interact with their audience through questions and polls. Freedom High student journalists in Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem Township often live-tweet updates about football games right from the stands, sharing news for those who can’t make it to the game

Worldwide connections
Adam Taylor’s class at Nashville’s Overton High School connects with students half a world away in Pakistan, and they’re quite enthusiastic about it. The two classes discuss student voices in school, cultural stereotypes, and more, learning what life is like outside of their own classroom and culture. Taylor’s idea has been quite popular, and is even such a great draw that students are willing to come in early to school for the discussions.

Volunteer opportunities
One nonprofit group, Jersey Cares, targets tweets to find volunteers to fill their recruitment needs, and has found that many high schoolers answer the call. High school groups use Twitter to locate projects in their area where they can help out, since so many nonprofits are speaking out and asking for help on the social media service.

Concise writing exercises
English teachers often need to teach the importance of brevity in writing, and Twitter is such a great tool for that, with its 140 character limit per tweet. Through the service, teachers assign tweets as a way to encourage understanding and efficient use of language.

Twitter quizzes
In California, Half Moon Bay High School history students can actually have fun with their quizzes, which take place on Twitter. Teacher Mike Putnam uses the social media service to ask fun questions that students answer, such as, “Who would you rather have dinner with? Adams, Jefferson, or Washington?”

Word tracking
As classrooms focus on a particular unit or subject, Twitter offers a great opportunity for staying up to date with learning beyond textbooks. Through Twitter, high school classrooms are tracking words, in which they subscribe to all tweets that include a particular words or phrase, like “Pearl Harbor,” or “woodworking,” returning results with insights, new developments, and more. This exercise is great for allowing students to follow current events and learn about resources they might not otherwise find.

Inspiration and thought provoking question
Minneapolis English teacher Candace Boerema doesn’t use Twitter for assignments, but she does keep up the educational chatter, and encourages her students to interact with Twitter. With questions like, “Who are you in Elizabethan England?” and “Is chivalry dead?,” Boerema sparks offline discussion and interaction among her students that’s reported to be inspiring and great for keeping students connected even when they’re not in class.

Whether it’s for sending the glee club off to regionals or shoes to South America, high schools always seem to have a need for fundraising, and they can use all the help they can get. Some schools have turned to Twitter and Facebook to get the word out, going social, and hopefully viral, in their efforts. Aided by online fundraising platforms and online payment tools, they’re able to do virtual fundraising to complement and even replace traditional car washes and bake sales.

Connecting with experts
Everyone is on Twitter these days, from celebrities to the President, and some high school classrooms are smart enough to take advantage of that. In Madison County, Ala., students use Twitter to interact with historians around the world. They put together questions to ask historians on Twitter, getting answers that may not be easy to find in their history books. This sort of interaction is great for learning from experts, and teaches students the value of research beyond traditional sources.

Planning careers
Another great way high school students are using Twitter connections is in preparing for their careers. Students can talk to professionals who are currently working in the paths they’re thinking about following in their future careers. Some teachers have set up assignments that have students create Twitter lists in which they can follow accounts that are relevant to their career goals.

Twitter scavenger hunts
Some teachers are helping students improve their research skills by assigning Internet scavenger hunts and only allowing students to use Twitter to find their sources. Students often find this a fun challenge, and a great way to research ideas and movements through Twitter searches.

Real-time source evaluation
Using Twitter, students are able to tweet sources and ask their teacher, fellow classmates, and others that they engage with on Twitter whether it seems to be a credible source or not. This is a great way to teach about the use of online resources and learning about which sources are reliable, and which shouldn’t be trusted.

Foreign language learning
Students in foreign language classes are able to use Twitter discussion around the world to learn about foreign languages. They create lists that allow them to follow foreign language news resources, key Twitter personalities, and more. Students are even able to follow foreign language Twitter pen pals that they can interact with.