Post-Its: a teacher’s best friend.

I love post-its. There’s just something about them, maybe it’s their smallness or their stickiness, but I have always been a big fan. Being a bit of a list-aholic, those sticky little neon squares live on my fridge, in my diary, around my mirror, and I have digital versions on my desktop.

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And, as it turns out, they are invaluable in the classroom.

Here are a few simple ways I have used post it’s to help me.

Planning

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So, not strictly in the classroom, but still very important. There is so much going on in my head at any one time lately that it’s easy for that great idea to get driven out by everything else. This is where post-its become an extension of brain space, a pen drive, if you like, for the mind. I always have my post-its handy for jotting down those ideas… or to remind me to buy loo roll on the way home.

 

Enquiry tasks

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An exciting and interactive way of organising learning in any subject. Usually, pupils will work in pairs or small groups to use their problem solving and thinking skills to complete a task and often the process is as important as the ‘answer.’ I have been having a lot of success using them in my maths lessons this term, using my trusty post-its too of course.

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One day I gave each pair an equals sign on a post-it. They stuck it on their table and arranged coins either side to make combinations of equal value.  Another day I gave them a sheet of paper with a post-it in the middle on which I had written a monetary value. Pupils stuck groups of paper coins onto the sheet to make the total. During the last lesson I used post-its as price stickers to label items in my ‘shop’ – pupils thought about what they wanted to buy, added up the total and found the right money.

 

Assessment

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Admittedly I haven’t got the hang of this one yet, but post-its provide an easy way to jot down notes about pupil progress during the lesson. At this point I find I’m already multi-tasking to the max during lessons so I tend to write things down afterwards while it’s still fresh.

Notes made, I can then…

Organise pupils into ‘got it’, ‘nearly there’ and ‘unsure’ groups.
Use them to input info into assessment records.
Plan the next lesson based on the children’s needs.
Use them to help you provide feedback to individuals and set new targets.
Work out who will work together next lesson, who needs challenge, who needs support.

 

Getting everyone involved

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I’ve used post-its in the past to encourage participation from each person in the class. I love it when everyone gets to answer.

Pupils can:

Write their ideas on a post it and stick it on the board. Colour coded post-its show what ideas groups or individuals are coming up with.
Vote on a topic using their post-it.
Record ideas and keep them handy for use in a written task.
Use them to ask questions.
Assess their own work or level of understanding or confidence.  They can be used during the lesson to indicate need for teacher support.

 

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That’s not all…

In writing this post I’ve come across so many ideas online for using post its. The possibilities are endless.

Labelling, ordering, sorting, recording, sequencing, counting, mind mapping, rewarding, displaying, icebreaking, expressing, sharing, differentiating, printing (on them, yes indeed), questioning, reviewing, creating, poem writing, predicting, rhyming, spelling, observing, managing behaviour…

Looking forward to trying some more out soon!

Thinking of having a go?

For more ideas, have a look at these links,

http://www.minds-in-bloom.com/2013/01/35-uses-for-post-it-notes-in-classroom.html?m=1

http://mrelementarymath.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/10-ways-to-teach-math-using-post-it.html
http://m.busyteacher.org/12183-poster-7-easy-icebreakers-you-can-do-with-post-it.html
http://www.livinglocurto.com/2013/08/free-printable-notes/
http://www.boraborahut.com/2012/12/post-it-art-show-giant-robot-gallery.html?m=1