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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Suggestion Box: If the student has a suggestion, have her write her question on a post-it, and submit into a designated box.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Notes to Self: Great for sticking into plan books for little notes to self about what tasks to do for teaching preparation.
Positive Reinforcement: Sometimes I place a stickie with a note of encouragement on a student’s desk (discreetly of course).
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.
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!