Ode to Office Supplies: Post-It Notes

It’s been a few weeks since I last sang the praises of a particular office supply (the Moleskine, read the post here) so today I thought I’d tackle the ubiquitous and versatile post-it note. Here are my top 5 ways to use that cute little slip of sticky paper:

  1. Student of the Week Shout-Outs: Every week, I pick a student from my homeroom to feature as the “Student of the Week.” I write the student’s name on a 3×5 card and then have him list five things he wants people to know about himself. His classmates and I then write affirmations about him on post-its and we put them on our classroom door around the student’s name and fact sheet. I have post-its available for others to add affirmations throughout the week. My husband does the same thing but takes a picture of the student and puts it in the middle with the affirmation post-its all around – he call is “The Homeroomer of the Week.” As in, when it’s your week you are “homerooming.” Teacher jokes, teacher jokes . . .
  2. Daily Assessment: If my daily assessment involves students writing a 1 – 3 sentence answer I will often have them write the answer and their name on post-it notes and then put them on the white board as they exit the classroom. I can read the entire classes responses quickly and get a clear idea of mastery.
  3. Opinion spectrums or corners: On of my favorite ways to use post-its is to draw an opinion spectrum (strongly disagree to neutral to strongly agree) and have students respond to questions on post-its and then place their responses along the spectrum. I do this for content questions (i.e. Should the US have become involved in Vietnam?) as well as classroom culture questions (i.e. How prepared were you for the exam we took today? Explain your answer.) Opinion corners provides another dimension to the spectrum. Draw a square and divide it into fourths. Each quadrant represents an opinion position. For example, the question “Whose fault was the Kent State Massacre?” could have quadrants named: the protesting college students, the national guard, the Kent state professors, the United States government. Students would write their answers on the post-it and then place them where they belong. This is nice because it allows for multiple answers – you could place a post-it in between the college students and national guard boxes to indicate you blame both or in the middle to indicate you blame all four groups equally.
  4. To make tab dividers in notebooks: You can buy the swoon worthy babies below or just use mini-post-its for the same effect.
  5. To annotate textbooks or other school-owned books: It is so important for students to learn how to annotate properly and to save their annotations for expository essays or research papers. However, it often isn’t possible for all students to buy a copy of the book you are using in class. I have students make notes on post-its and just keep these in the books for the duration of the time we are using a particular text. Then at the end of the unit or year we just take them out. I like the large, lined post-it notes for this task and encourage students to write page numbers on the post-it next to teach of the comments they are writing down or quotes they want to copy/remember.

How do you use post-its in your classroom?

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2 thoughts on “Ode to Office Supplies: Post-It Notes

  1. Jennifer says:

    I like to have students write questions (for confusion or discussion) on post-its while they read silently. They get up an post them (sometimes on different boards or spaces divided into chapters or question type – i.e. confusion vs. discussion) at any point during their reading. Students who finish reading first get handed an expo marker upon answering a few questions to demonstrate that they understood what they read. Their job is to move around silently reading and responding to the posted questions. Ideally, by the end, the kids who needed more time to read and/or who had questions, find responses by the time they get up to check out the boards.

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