Getting ON “Board” with Pinterest Grades 7-12- Cultivating Students as Curators, Categorizers, Commentators of Knowledge and Interests One Board at a Time

One of our goals as educators in this age of rigorous content and skills standards is to inculcate students in the routines of topic investigation, research and reflection.  While each different topic in various content has varied goals and anticipated outcomes or compilation of sources, students need learn how to identify pertinent text, graphic organizers, informational documents and diagrams or charts to develop 21st learning displays for their own research.  Often imparting this necessary skill becomes tedious for the dedicated teacher and beyond boring for the sometimes disengaged or resistant students.  Some of the tedium and resistance can be dissolved with the use of a free  resource that can literally “board” students on a visual bookmarking and cataloguing of relevant web resources which they can collect, categorize, curate/comment upon, construct and use to create their own visually driven/ graphically organized materials .

Pinterest builds on stated user interests to act as an app collaborator, and resource organizer for its users- of any age- offering up a bountiful visual graphic organizer blast of charts, diagrams, visuals and sites that fit multiple stated interest /topics.    The Pinterest user- teacher or student- can then review the multiple boards offered which connect to their various content or topic sites.  It is up to the user to curate or collect and to categorize boards/diagrams/graphic organizers which meet individual purpose/interest or address topic.  The user is encouraged to cull those boards which address the interest /topic and “pin” them into a single or multiple board.  In addition, the user is allowed to notate or explain why these particular boards/diagrams/ graphic organizers “interested” or appealed to the user to visual “scrapbook” collect.  The user can go “creative “ and title the boards he or she collected further personalizing the “curated” digital exhibit/display of knowledge and the user can invite “friends” to view the “pinned boards” collected and curated with user comments.  Other Pinterest users can also view the boards unless they are rendered private by the user and comment on them.  Pinterest will keep generating general interest boards for the user to examine and perhaps “pin” and “personalize” or no and once the user has provided set interests or topics, Pinterest will keep on informing and sending perhaps 25 or more potential visual/graphic bookmarks for the user to review.  This might be compared to having a personal information online librarian/shopper who has the user’s tastes in visual information listed and actively searches web content to find sites that “fit” those research and curatorial interests/

Alright this sounds very adult and interesting for an adult user, but how would it play out for the 7-12 student who is not an onboard lifelong researcher and licensed adult educator professional?  First , the teacher can introduce the use of Pinterest through his/her establishing an account that the students can all be involved with as participants (individual student accounts can come later if deemed community and school appropriate).

Teachers may want to begin modeling use of Pinterest for students by using as an interest focus concerning their dress or entertainment interests.  Deliberately begin with a topic as far from required research skills as possible.  Therefore if a teacher is exceedingly into stilettos, she would go to fashion and select at least three shoe graphic organizers.  In full view of the students using a Smart Board she would perhaps pin the most appealing and relevant to her of the multiple graphic organizers and diagrammed bookmarked sites onto a single board and name it – say “Well Heeled’ mind of steel and a fashion deal.”  She would then give students from the class chances to select from the vast array of fashion bookmarks and graphic organizers those they want to “pin” to single boards and title/comment upon .  Once a few had done the task, the rest of the students could comment or develop their own boards based on the curated and “pinned” ones posted.  They could suggest new topics such as team specific fans or the music of a specific rap star or relevant educational issues such as taking time limits off standardized tests and taking away essay portions of SAT/ACT test scores.  The second stage of the Pinterest student curator boot camp would be a session where students used the Pinterest general topic categories to identify personal interest resources, categorize the findings offered by Pinterest and then “pin” personal boards with a title and personal commentary.  Of course, in doing what seems like a free style personal interest (Pinterest) investigation, students are actually even when they analyze the teacher’s choice of “shoes centered” bookmarks, categorizing and commenting- analyzing details of a visual text and forming a personal perspective backed by visual and verbal (many diagrams and visuals of course have words as well) data in the graphic organizers/informational documents, and summarizing/taking a position on that informational data and format.  These are of course key research skills including categorizing various sources, curating those sources that best to the topic and commenting/persuasively headlining or purposely presenting the data for a specific viewpoint to a specific audience.  Pinterest is designed for an invited audience or community to provide real feedback- the equivalent of putting up poster boards in an actual school gym or library and having invited community go around with colored stickiest to “pin” comments.  But of course as an online community, the range and number of “comments” and “pin” picks in infinitely greater.  Researching among vast visual and verbal sites with the assistance of a bookmarking topic centered personal ‘research support” who keeps on forwarding continued sources and picking relevant sources to “pin” on boards for learning display with comments that reflect the student’s personal learning styles-: a batch of required research multi-content skills filtered through visually vibrant and evocative graphics and diagrams plus sites: the stuff of necessary rigorous inquiry skills, student centered and real distanced peer audience feedback.  Pinterest has piqued student interest and with its “boards” banished boredom in favor of week by week empowering product based learning display.

But let’s get some subject based- actual teacher content /curriculum use.  If the teacher is a language arts instructor who routinely teaches YA classics and has the students connect these with required classics and genres such as myths and fairytales, Pinterest can begin supplying you with ready to print out charts and graphic organizers beyond your classroom dreams or those available for a price at education supply stores.  Take Epic Reads –YA Retellings ( Pin it to a Board- Title it: YA Literature Links and Lives Relived/Retold.  Challenge students first explain how this richly evocative graphic organizer connects YA to fairy tales, classic authors and genres, Shakespeare and Myths.  This is the stuff of informational research, but add a graphic display of knowledge curatorial edge by having them identify at least one other Pinterest graphic organizer or bookmark to go with the first YA retellings.  Make them develop a board title to “pin” to their new board and ask that they comment on peer’s new YA board suggestions as well.  Once they’ve curated sites and commented, challenge some with graphics or digital collage talents to create their own graphic organizers to “pin” on to the web resources that “display” the many ways YA “retell” or build on other works or genres of literature.  Voila, Pinterest has prompted student conversations, collegiality, interaction, research, commentary and creation on a mandated text readings and range of text commentaries.  Teachers of not openly English, but also Social Studies, Science and now even Mathematics need students to write forceful arguments and explanations for their research content.  But in addition, they need for students to develop professional style and to use varied expressions as they present arguments.    Teachers who want to motivate and to focus students on writing styles can research and then have Pinterest begin sending recommendations for sites which support improving writing style. For example, a teacher can begin a board “Avoid Writing at All Costs!” and include on it a graphic informational document from 11 Essay Phrases to Outlaw.  Students can be challenged to eliminate these from their work plus to curate at least two other posters from other sites for this “Avoid Writing at All Costs!” board getting will get  the students on board for more facile, smoother and professional writing.  ELA educators often use the work of established writers as anchor inspiration for student work.  Students can identify relevant quotes (one of the Pinterest categories) to find ones that can Anchor and Inspire Writing (a board title).  The Literacy Nest includes a great poster of Einstein’s quote: Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”  Students can connect the quote with the review of Mullalhy Hunt’s new book Fish in a Tree on the site and then collect and curate other quotes to inspire further pins on the board.  Teachers of Writing in ELA, SS and Science always want students to vary their vocabulary and find different ways of saying and presenting content. The teacher can start and students can built as a class or individually a board titled “Detail Deliver”  The informational document “162 Ways to Say ‘Went’”

Is an excellent starter for students or colleagues to develop a set of Pinterest board that enhance varied use of language in any content. Pinterest or students will soon bombard their boards with 190 Ways to say “said” from and keep the boards coming with the choice for pinning up to the user.

If introduced and facilitated by the teacher with an emphasis on this type of 21st century customized Pinterest supported research complete with evolving portfolio (Pinterest records the user’s pins and boards week by week ) and built in audience plus capacity to invite friends, Pinterest can be used as a visually driven and highly teen student friendly (with categories like tattoos, music, celebrities, film, fashion, cars, hair and more) support for inculcating and captivating students into the addictive joy of shopping online for research resources.  Teachers should get “pinned” into the community themselves and then o”pin” it to get students on “board” lifelong graphic organizer/diagram supported research.  Their futures as 21st century online supported and engaged thinkers, presenters and reactors to information can only be that richer for o”pin”ing this board advance.  Get on board and take your students with you!!

Dr. Rose Reissman,

Academic and Grant Funding Director for Sector 5

About Sector 5,

Sector 5, Inc. (OTCQB: SFIV), is a Proud American Corporation, that sells, manufactures and develops new innovative consumer electronics under Sector 5 and other brands. The Company markets its partnership with Google approved Chromebooks to educational organizations, other B2B and B2C sales channels, with retail sales on Amazon. It is in development of several new products to serve the educational, business and retail markets. Follow the company on and and find further information at For Sector 5’s Forward Looking Statements, click here.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s