Here are 5 ways to use Pinterest in the ESL classroom:
1. Digital storytelling
Students create a picture board to illustrate a story, such as an original short story, poem, book summary, news report, cultural history or holiday story. Great for writing, speaking, reading, vocabulary and content-area courses.
2. Giving process instructions
Pinterest has tons of quick-reference, "how to" photo collages that could be used to explain a process or give instructions about an activity. Create a board of DYI or "how to" pictures and let students choose one to discuss with a partner. Here is a similar activity.
3. Photo contest writing prompt
Create a shared, private board with your students for a photo contest. Choose a theme and have students pin pictures that they think best fits the theme. Students can vote on their favorite picture, or write a short story based on their favorite picture. (adapted from Grace Hur) (Note: A private board will keep other Pinterest users from messing with your class content, and your class from annoying other Pinterest users with a plethora of comments.)
Similar to digital storytelling, students create autobiographical boards to introduce themselves to the class, small group or partner. Autobiographical boards can be general or on a specific topic like "my home town", favorite activities, places to visit, projects or hobbies to try. Students can present to classmates, then practice reporting, interview, or conversation skills related to the content.
5. Electronic picture files
As a teacher resource, create themed picture files to use in a variety of activities. You can display the board in class and show one or all of the pictures at a time. Use the pictures to prompt discussion about the action or content in the pictures. Check out this article for ways to use picture files.
Other logistics (and a brief Pinterest primer):
Each student will need to create a Pinterest account, but they do not need to invite or "friend" each other as in other social media. With Pinterest, all content is public to any other viewer unless it is created as a private board. Shared boards can be created so that multiple Pinterest members can post on one board.
To do these language activities, students create a new board for each activity, post pictures and write captions in the description field. Perhaps a follow-up activity could include comments from classmates on various pictures that are displayed. For presentations, students can use their smart phones (with partners), laptops or classroom equipment to log in to Pinterest and display the board within the program.
What else have you seen on Pinterest that could spark a great classroom activity?