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School Diary #3: Nine Uses for Post-It Notes in the Classroom

Remember index cards? Well, they are so passé. Today, it’s all about post-its.

I’ve always used post-it notes, ever since several decades ago that they were invented by 3M (if you can call binding and selling a pad of colorful note paper with adhesive on one end an “invention”). They’re great for plastering all over the kitchen cabinets (someone I know does that) with notes to self, and all kinds of uses.

And as my friend, fellow teacher, and blogging grandma over at Cycling Grandma says, we all are wishing we had invented that one. It became a multi-million dollar business.

But that’s a whole other story!

Now that I’m teaching high school girls, Post-its have become one of my most useful tools  with my 9th and 10th graders. I find these “stickies” as I like to call them great for classroom management (which I need some help with – who doesn’t?) and other challenges.

Sometimes the simplest things make the biggest impact. Using post-its are a way to acknowledge to ourselves that we need help remembering stuff. And they really work!

Here are some uses of Post-it/Stickies for teaching high school students. I’ve found some of these ideas on Pinterest. (Thanks to my colleague and wonderful supervisor, Beth J for emailing, texting and face-booking me tons of ideas this past summer!)  Others I’ve read about online or learned about at workshops and seminars.

Still others I’ve figured out on my own as a way to improvise and deal with challenges that I’ve come across (in my past years of teaching). I hope to use as many of these ideas as is necessary.

  1. The Parking Lot: If a student has a question that is off-topic or tangential, hand her a stickie and have her write her comment or question on it. Then “park” that post-it on a designated bulletin board on the wall for later discussion. Incidentally, on a personal note, I’ve been using this idea for many years, and first learned that it’s called “parking lot” at a recent workshop.
  2. The Exit Note: At the end of a period, pass out stickies to the students, and have them write one thing they take away from the lesson. These are good for getting a glimpse into the students’ thoughts, feelings and grasp of material. This is another idea I never knew had a term to it. I always called it in my mind, “the pass out stickie to students to get feedback.” I think “exit note” is a better term! Thanks, Beth J. for that!
  3. Suggestion Box: If the student has a suggestion, have her write her question on a post-it, and submit into a designated box.
  4. Brainstorming Lesson: Write a theme or topic on a board, and have the students write on their post-its anything they can think of about that topic. Then put it on a board, and later lead a discussion and then write about it.
  5. Post-It Jeopardy: Write an “answer” on a board, and have the students write “questions” to that answer on post-its. Then post them for all to see. Either build a lesson around the information or use this technique as an assessment tool to check knowledge of the student.

postithelenkeller

  1. Plans to Self: They are great for making bullet point lesson plans to keep an eye on while teaching the lesson. And they stay put, as opposed to index cards.

  2. Notes to Self: Great for sticking into plan books for little notes to self about what tasks to do for teaching preparation.

  3. Positive Reinforcement: Sometimes I place a stickie with a note of encouragement on a student’s desk (discreetly of course).

  4. Bulletin Board Décor and Social Skills: Post-its are a great way to add color to a bulletin board without having to pre-cut construction paper.

bulletinboard

Special thanks to fellow colleagues, supervisors,  online buddies, and old-faithful Pinterest for the many ideas and inspiration.

Any other uses for Post-its? Please post below!

 


School Diary #2: Ten Prayers for My Students in the New Year

happy-new-year-1417950932qaU

It is the time of year for prayers for a good year. I pray for my family, friends and loved ones, and my high school students.

This month I returned to the classroom after over 5 years since I’ve taught in a formal classroom. This opportunity came up early in the summer and I decided to dive in again to my old love of teaching English, literature and writing to 9th and 10th grade girls.

Each one of my students is a unique soul.

Here are some hopes and goals that I have for my students. They will work hard in my class and hopefully achieve success. For the 10 months of the school year, I have 10 prayers for my students to find, experience, feel, develop, learn, value, improve, grow, achieve and work…and so much more.

woman-teacher-cartoon

I PRAY THAT:

  1. … each student finds and experiences her unique gifts. Whether that be writing poetry, essays, decorating bulletin boards or participating in debates.
  2. … each student feels accepted and loved by her teachers and peers.
  3. … each student develops self-control to regulate her classroom behavior.
  4. … each student learns accountability for turning in assignments and being prepared for class.
  5. … each student values the process of making errors and growing from them.
  6. … each student is comfortable asking questions when she doesn’t understand the material.
  7. … each student improves organization skills, including keeping books and papers in order.
  8. … each student grows in her capacity to not only hear, but listen to peers and teachers who are speaking.
  9. … each student achieves the social skills necessary to work in groups with her peers.
  10. … each student shares a love of books and the written word.

I ask G-d to allow me to provide an environment in the classroom that encourages my students to blossom in the 10 ways above. Amen.

Stay tuned for weekly Teacher’s Diary updates.


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