I love using Pinterest to get great homeschooling ideas (probably too much!), but all too often in the past I pinned something great and then forgot all about it until after our unit was over and we were on to other things. Not anymore though. . . I’ve finally discovered a way for me to effectively do lesson planning with Pinterest, quickly and simply.
Lesson Planning With Pinterest
Perusing Pinterest is my favorite pastime, but when I’m teaching and learning with my kids I’m rarely online, so the two just didn’t mesh for me. Here are the three ways I finally made it all click:
1. I printed my pins.
2. I began deleting pins and never looked back.
3. I put the printed pins into our planners and unit books.
Printing and deleting may seem counter intuitive to the entire idea of Pinterest, but it was like taking control of my Pinterest account and using the boards just like I would a regular bulletin board. After all, my personal Pinterest account is MINE. When I stopped caring about repins and likes and numbers, and used it just like I would any other idea board, everything started clicking. I started actually USING the awesome ideas I found there.
Step 1: Printing your Pins
Printing pins isn’t a built-in feature of Pinterest, and it’s not a perfect system since Pinterest’s aim is to have the pins stay on their site, not be printed. It’s not perfect, but I make it work for me regardless.
First off, I only browse on Google Chrome, so these are the steps using that browser.
1. Go to the part of your profile that shows your Pinterest boards.
2. Click on the board you want to print and allow time for all the pin images to load. If they don’t all load, they won’t all print! Also note that if your board is big, you’ll need to scroll down to the bottom or the images won’t all load.
3. Now press CTRL and – (the CTRL button plus the – button at the same time) to reduce the image size on the screen. Do this several times until your pins appear at the smallest setting. This will allow you to fit more pins on each page and keep them small enough to fit into a planner.
4. Press CTRL + P to go to the print screen. (Alternately, you can right click on the slide down tab at the far right and select print.) Make sure your settings are on color and set to landscape orientation. Then hit print.
Now, as I said, this isn’t a perfect system. Sometimes some of my pins disappear inexplicably. Sometimes they get cut in half. I’m no expert, but here are some tips you can try:
- If I’m getting cut off pins then usually if I try it a couple of times and change the pin size by one setting I can get it working (CTRL and + at the same time makes it bigger just like CTRL and – at the same time makes it smaller).
- Missing pins seem to be more common on large boards. I’ve noticed that printing almost always works on boards with twenty pins or less, but it’s tougher to print a 100 pin board. I think it just can’t load all those images at once. If you print while at the top of the board, then print a second time on the next section (and so on), it will be able to load that section of pins and will print them. Another thing I’ve learned to do is pin to a temporary board, like “pins to print” just before printing in order to print them without dealing with my huge boards. Then you can just delete the entire board once it’s printed.
- Saving the board is another option if you plan electronically, but use your own folder system instead of being online. To save your Pinterest board you follow all the same steps above until you come to the print screen, then instead of pressing “print,” you click “change” on the destination box and make it say “save as pdf.”
Step 2: Deleting Pins
Just like a library’s circulation improves each time they weed their collection of unused books, you will use your pins more frequently if you weed your boards. I use two criteria for deciding whether or not to delete a pin.
First, I delete it if I’ve already used it and added it to my planner or unit book. Once the pin is printed or used, it gets deleted. The only exception is if it is something I know we will use over and over again but it doesn’t have a place in my unit books (like a Thanksgiving Mad Libs game), but that doesn’t happen often.
Second, I delete it if I think I won’t ever really use the idea. Often in the heat of pinning great ideas I go overboard, but then I look at the cost, or the time involved, or just whether or not I REALLY love it, and realize I was overzealous in my pinning.
To delete a pin, just click on the pin, then click “edit.” From there you’ll find the “delete pin” button on the bottom left hand side. You can also batch delete from the edit board area.
Keeping fresh boards with new pins feels like exciting inspiration, but tired, cluttered, used-up boards make me feel tired and overwhelmed. Deleting pins is liberating! Plus, if your boards are smaller they’re much easier to print!
Step 3: Put the Printed Pins into Planners and Unit Books
Once my pins are printed I actually incorporate them into our plans. I cut out the individual pins and use a glue stick to put them into our planners. If it’s an idea that goes with a Layers of Learning unit and I know we’ll use it over and over again with other kids I stick it right on the ideas page in the Layers of Learning unit book. Often I make 2 copies of the pin – one for my planner and one for my unit book.
If it’s not related to our unit – like math or writer’s workshop, I put it straight into our planners. It goes in mine if it’s something I’m going to do with all my kids. If it’s for a specific person I put it into the individual kid’s planner.
And if I love the idea, but I’m not quite ready to pin down a day we’re going to do it, I put the printed pin in an envelope labeled with the school subject that it falls under. It makes a great idea reservoir if we have some down time, or I return to the envelope the next time I’m doing planning.
And that’s my system! It’s pretty simple once you start printing pins. I will add that if the pin is to an online resource or a printable that I need to retrieve from online, I leave it on Pinterest. I just jot a note in my planner about it so I remember to head there to look for it. It’s easier to get it from my Pinterest page than it is to write down the URL in my planner and then go find it.
Hope you’ll go check out the Layers of Learning Pinterest page and come follow us there. We pin all kinds of homeschool related things and have organized boards to help you find what you’re looking for.