My students would all laugh if they knew I was writing about my most favorite teaching tool of all: The Sticky Note. My planner is full of these bright notes, my books are marked with strips of color, and my classroom walls are littered with these magical little papers. I love the vivid neon, the different sizes, and even shapes! An infinite number of uses make these one of my favorite and most used tools of the classroom.
I firmly believe in giving students as much control of their daily schedule as possible. Time management and progress tracking are a valuable skill. So one of the ways that I have utilized sticky notes is to create a chart of daily subjects that need to be covered, and then writing the day’s assignments on sticky notes and putting them on the chart. As the work is completed, the notes come off and are placed in the record book for recording (look for my post on record keeping soon!). Time spent and other information can be easily added to the note.
Subjects such as history, social studies, and science involve reading large amounts of non-fiction. Particularly in the higher grades, reading is often followed by a writing assignment. Sticky notes are a really easy way to take notes along the way as the student is reading. They can write down facts, main ideas, or quotes as they find them. They can also record the book and page number for reference later. Once they are done reading, they can assemble their notes in whatever order they need to for their writing assignment. They can also be rearranged easily for revising. Because of their sticky nature, placing them on the wall or white board make an easy way to copy the notes. If notes need to be saved and turned in, they can simply be taped onto a piece of paper and saved.
Word walls are one of my favorite student-lead activities for writing and language arts. We look for those “million dollar” words in our reading and add them to the wall to use at a later time in their writing. For example, I make different categories for adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. I use a different color for each category so they can learn to identify the different parts of speech and how they work together. This word wall grows throughout the year and is an easy reference while writing.
Writing revision is a challenging process for many students. Sometimes they aren’t sure which sentence to revise or which words need to be changed. One of the exercises I have done with students is to write the entire sentence on sticky notes, one word at a time. Then we place the notes in order on the white board (or wall, or even the table) and can take out words, add different ones, and rearrange the order all without having to erase a single thing! Sometimes the act of writing it out like this helps the student identify run-on sentences or fragments. It’s a great way to practice adding adverbs and adjectives into sentences, and to incorporate grammar by identifying the parts of speech.
I have even used sticky notes, taped onto a manila file folder to create a math reference chart. These are easy to layer to add more examples, and they are just the right size for condensing down to the basics. This could also be used for science notes, history time-lines, and anything else that you want to create a quick reference chart for.