Curating Social Studies Content on Pinterest

Author: Rachel Hernandez-Eckert, Education Specialist:  Social Studies

Have you ever torn pages out of a magazine and put them on a bulletin board or in a folder labeled Great Ideas? Although that is still a practical way to collect ideas from a tangible item in your hand, how do you save digital content in the same way?  I have taken to saving digital content through Pinterest, the free online pinning board.  Although most people use Pinterest for style, food and craft ideas, I recommend using it as an educational resource for finding Social Studies specific content, obtaining ideas for instructional practices and curating your own content.

With Pinterest, you have the flexibility to:

  • Create boards based on what you teach or even establish boards by unit or theme.
  • Connect with others in the Social Studies world, like me, and see what content your peers haveon their boards.  (You can follow my Social Studies boards at: http://www.pinterest.com/rhernandez002/.)
  • Connect to institutions like the Smithsonian Museum or PBS and pin digital archive pieces, videos and lessons ideas posted by these groups.
  • Search for content based on the Social Studies TEKS.  For example, type Galveston Hurricane, 1900, (Texas History 7.10B) in the search box to find pictures of the hurricane destruction in Galveston.  Or search for a specific historical figure such as Nelson Mandela (World History 22E), to see a mélange of quotes, images and video clips about his life.
  • Cruise elementary boards and secondary boards for ideas and vice versa. I found elementary anchor charts for building literacy in the classroom that would work to enhance secondary Social Studies instruction…love it!
  • Curate your work or student work.  Here’s an example of a picture that I pinned from a workshop I led a few months back.  I wanted to record examples of an Observe, Reflect and Question analysis activity using a primary source print from the Library of Congress.   I took a picture of the completed posters from the workshop and posted them a Pinterest board with an explanation of the activity.  Now when I am working with other teachers, I can pull up the picture so they can see an example of what the activity looks like.

The great thing about Pinterest is that you can still keep it personal and retain the boards you may have already established or even create “secret boards” so others will not see the boards dedicated to your secret love of cats or the board entitled, Lotto Funded…Keep Dreaming. A word of caution: you can get sucked in to Pinterest, ignore your family and your grading responsibilities.  Kidding aside, consider limiting your perusal time each day or utilizing other free moments of time for pinning.  Lastly, make a concerted effort to go back to your pins and consider real application of these ideas in your classroom instruction…because what is the point of all of this if you don’t actually use it?

 


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