Teaching Tuesday Teaching Tip

The Power of a Post It

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We’re pretty obsessed with the Post-It note. The colorful ones, the ones made on recycled paper, the sheet sized ones, the tiny ones, and even the ones shaped like mittens. Post-it notes may be the solution to world peace. If you, like us, get panicky when you don’t have a stack near by, then you may already be using all of our tips. But scroll on through to see some ways we integrate post it notes into our classroom. (And make it to the end for directions on how to enter our first FREE GIVEAWAY!)

The Post-It for Charting: (The big Post-it)
ImageTo make thinking visible we use charts. Nothing new here. However, if your students are like mine, every single piece of my mini-lesson has to be scripted without pause. Therefore, it can be tricky to make my students wait for me to chart out my thinking. Also, by the time I’m charting I often have forgotten the exact wording I wanted. By this time Shila is pinching Lily and Evelin is braiding Emma’s hair.

I find it helpful to write my thinking on a large post it note, and put it on the page where I will stop. Then, I can pull that Post-It off and put it up while I am saying my thinking–no pause, and the added advantage of helping my visual learners in real time.

During the students’ time to turn and talk to each other, I circulate, and find one example to chart on post it notes while I listen. In the debrief, I put the Post-It note with their thinking up, crediting the thinker, while explaining what they said. This picks up the pace of the lesson dramatically, and makes sure that what the student share out is pertinent and helping to move the lesson forward. (We hate to say that students sharing out is dead space, but in a ten minute mini-lesson, I find that calling on hands willy-nilly can lead to a long side trail of hearing about Jamar’s trip to Red Lobster the night before. This is obviously something I need to explicitly teach my students not to do, but the mini-lesson is not the place I choose to do that teaching.)

The students love to see their ideas on the board, and sometimes I allow them to sign their Post-It at the bottom before returning to their seat for independent reading time.

(A special shout out to the Chicago Literacy Group for introducing me to this use of post it notes. Check them out here)

The Post It for Arranging Seats: (The mini Post-It)
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This trick was taught to me by my teaching coach my first year of teaching. Using small post-it notes, write a student’s name on each one. Then, code each note with any special considerations. For me, I do a 1, 2, 3 ranking based on their behavioral concerns or their ability to work with others in groups. I might also add a note for glasses, proximity to teacher, etc, to remind me to give preferential seating.

After that, I can rearrange the post it notes over and over until I have just the right combination of students.

The Post It for Note Taking: (The standard sized Post-It)
Here’s a picture walk. First, I put Post-It notes on whatever note-taking sheet I have been given to use. (This works for reading, math, or any subject)
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(Obviously the Post-It notes are not perfectly aligned to the sheet. This doesn’t bother me, but if it’s annoying to you, I suggest you look at the step by step tutorial for printing on Post-It notes on this blog here.)

After taking the notes, simply transfer each note to that student’s page:

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(I made this one blank to protect the anonymity of my students) Voila! Easy.

The Post-It Compliment: (Any Post-It, but shaped Post-Its work well here)

IMG_1606I like to use the shaped Post-It notes to give immediate positive feedback to my students. This can be as simple as “You did your homework” and as detailed as “You remembered not to kick Tony”. (Or maybe that just happens in my class.) Given my background and belief in Responsive Classroom, I do try to make sure all my comments are quantified and specific, and leave out value judgements (ex. You walked through the hallway silently vs. I like how you did a good job walking through the hallway). But you’ll have to make your own decisions about what to write :-).

I know one teacher who writes the post it notes ahead of time, using some common praises, and hands them out when she sees it happening in action.

GIVE AWAY!!

In honor of our first Tuesday Tip, we are giving away a Post It Prize Pack!
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We believe in Post-It notes, and we want you to have your own supply! Since Post-Its are expensive, it can be tempting to want to buy the knock off brands like stickies or stick ums. We recommend against this, as the notes tend to fall off of charts, out of notebooks, and end up all over the floor.

In order to start you off, we want you to win this prize pack for your home, classroom, or office! There are several ways to enter to win: (You can enter each way to get THREE entries)

1.) Comment below with your favorite use for Post-It Notes
2.) Like our page on facebook: www.facebook.com/teacherreadermom
3.) Share this page on your facebook page and tag us in it!

(Unfortunately we are only able to ship to a United States address.)

Thanks for reading, and good luck! (Drawing will take place on January 21st, just in time for next week’s tip!)

261755_10150290602379874_2436766_n-Rachel

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39 Comments

  • Reply
    Kara
    January 14, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I like making changes to recipes and writing them on post-it’s so I know the next time I go to the page what I liked and did not like last time. It is sacrilege to me to write in a cook book!

  • Reply
    Kara
    January 14, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I like making changes to recipes and writing them on post-it’s so I know the next time I go to the page what I liked and did not like last time. It is sacrilege to me to write in a cook book!

  • Reply
    hvasudevan
    January 15, 2014 at 2:29 am

    I like Post-its for all students to be able to give some input and place it on a Gallery Walk poster or somewhere along a spectrum, etc. I also like them for student questions that are placed in the Parking Lot, to be answered towards the end of a class session.

  • Reply
    hvasudevan
    January 15, 2014 at 2:29 am

    I like Post-its for all students to be able to give some input and place it on a Gallery Walk poster or somewhere along a spectrum, etc. I also like them for student questions that are placed in the Parking Lot, to be answered towards the end of a class session.

  • Reply
    cafecasey
    January 15, 2014 at 2:37 am

    Love this. Unfortunately, I don’t use many of them because we don’t get a lot, so I simply rip up scrap paper. However, I love the star notes for students. Might go seek them out:)

  • Reply
    Rachel
    January 15, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I like the ideas so far, and CafeCasey, I also use ripped up scrap paper! Maybe you’ll win the post-it give away and have more post-its on hand. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Rachel
    January 15, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I like the ideas so far, and CafeCasey, I also use ripped up scrap paper! Maybe you’ll win the post-it give away and have more post-its on hand. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    January 16, 2014 at 3:16 am

    I have my students use post-its as exit slips (& bookmarks!)

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    January 16, 2014 at 3:16 am

    I have my students use post-its as exit slips (& bookmarks!)

  • Reply
    Becky Haase
    January 19, 2014 at 3:36 am

    I use small arrows to point out the passages I want to quote in book discussions.

  • Reply
    Becky Haase
    January 19, 2014 at 3:36 am

    I use small arrows to point out the passages I want to quote in book discussions.

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    January 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    I use post its for students to write questions during a lesson. They post on the parking lot class poster for discussion starters. The post its can be distributed to groups or could be used as whole group discussion starters.

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    January 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    I use post its for students to write questions during a lesson. They post on the parking lot class poster for discussion starters. The post its can be distributed to groups or could be used as whole group discussion starters.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 21, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks to everyone for the great ideas! I’m hoping we can keep supporting one another with our thinking and hard work.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 21, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks to everyone for the great ideas! I’m hoping we can keep supporting one another with our thinking and hard work.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 21, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I love using post-it’s while teaching!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 21, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I love using post-it’s while teaching!

  • Reply
    Carissa
    February 22, 2014 at 3:04 am

    Thanks for the shout-out, Rachel! No surprise that I love this post. (For readers who are appalled by our incredible low-rent website, a new one is on the way!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Rachel
      February 22, 2014 at 3:14 am

      Carissa, I have to tell you this story, because you will understand. Since January I have been pushing into a third grade classroom to help for the reading block. There is one group of reluctant readers and writers who I have motivated to do full literary responses and read entire books completely through bribing them with post-it notes. I bring in different colors, shapes, and sizes everyday, and they will do ANYTHING to get to use them to chart their thinking. Case in point, they wrote extended responses today without complaining. I’m telling you, post-it notes can change the world. (Also, I can’t wait for your new website!)

  • Reply
    Carissa
    February 22, 2014 at 3:04 am

    Thanks for the shout-out, Rachel! No surprise that I love this post. (For readers who are appalled by our incredible low-rent website, a new one is on the way!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Rachel
      February 22, 2014 at 3:14 am

      Carissa, I have to tell you this story, because you will understand. Since January I have been pushing into a third grade classroom to help for the reading block. There is one group of reluctant readers and writers who I have motivated to do full literary responses and read entire books completely through bribing them with post-it notes. I bring in different colors, shapes, and sizes everyday, and they will do ANYTHING to get to use them to chart their thinking. Case in point, they wrote extended responses today without complaining. I’m telling you, post-it notes can change the world. (Also, I can’t wait for your new website!)

  • Reply
    Maria Griffith
    February 22, 2014 at 3:11 am

    Carissa’s response would have packed an even better punch if there was an emoticon in the form of a post-it note! Seriously, though, Rachel, your blog is fantastic. Excited to keep reading and learning from it!

    • Reply
      Rachel
      February 22, 2014 at 3:19 am

      Maria! Thanks for the comment. So glad you’re enjoying the site. I just responded to Carissa’s comment with my post-it story, but I think I have the two of you to thank for my dynamic small group instruction this year. Obviously much of it is due to the literacy trainings at HP, but I don’t want to downplay the power of these post-it notes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    Maria Griffith
    February 22, 2014 at 3:11 am

    Carissa’s response would have packed an even better punch if there was an emoticon in the form of a post-it note! Seriously, though, Rachel, your blog is fantastic. Excited to keep reading and learning from it!

    • Reply
      Rachel
      February 22, 2014 at 3:19 am

      Maria! Thanks for the comment. So glad you’re enjoying the site. I just responded to Carissa’s comment with my post-it story, but I think I have the two of you to thank for my dynamic small group instruction this year. Obviously much of it is due to the literacy trainings at HP, but I don’t want to downplay the power of these post-it notes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    Alphonso
    June 12, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog
    so i came to โ€œreturn the favorโ€.I am attempting to find things
    to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    • Reply
      Rachel
      June 13, 2014 at 1:17 am

      We’re always excited to be inspiration! Thanks for the visit back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Alphonso
    June 12, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog
    so i came to โ€œreturn the favorโ€.I am attempting to find things
    to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    • Reply
      Rachel
      June 13, 2014 at 1:17 am

      We’re always excited to be inspiration! Thanks for the visit back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Google
    July 8, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Hello there! This article could not be written much better!

    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I’ll forward this information to him.
    Fairly certain he’s going to have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      Rachel
      July 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Hey, thanks for the comment! We’re glad you liked the blog post. And thanks for passing it along. I can’t imagine many people who love post-its more than we do, so it’s always good to connect to others who share our interest! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Google
    July 8, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Hello there! This article could not be written much better!

    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I’ll forward this information to him.
    Fairly certain he’s going to have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      Rachel
      July 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Hey, thanks for the comment! We’re glad you liked the blog post. And thanks for passing it along. I can’t imagine many people who love post-its more than we do, so it’s always good to connect to others who share our interest! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    hair regrowth
    September 4, 2014 at 11:01 pm

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    • Reply
      Rachel
      September 5, 2014 at 1:05 am

      I don’t have advice, but thanks for the comment!

  • Reply
    hair regrowth
    September 4, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while buut I never seem to get there!
    Thak you

    • Reply
      Rachel
      September 5, 2014 at 1:05 am

      I don’t have advice, but thanks for the comment!

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  • Reply
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