My Post about Post-its

The best non-projected media I have worked with, in more ways that I can count, is the Post-it.
I am the type of teacher who likes to be as efficient as possible with my planning and preparation time. 

To do this, I created student-centered leaning experiences as much as possible and I use Post-its.
My lesson plans are the size of a Post-it stuck in each page of my course book. I teach a TESOL program and teach students to plan a lesson plan on a Post-it. I tell them that this is how I reduce my planning time, which is a question I get asked every time I teach the class.

Lesson Plans
I write my end goal (aka Activate by Jeremy Harmer, 2007) at the bottom, and I write out my steps backwards to the top. Whatever does not get me to the end goal will not fit on the Post-it. This helps keep my lessons focused on getting me there, no matter how fun all the other things might be. Now I simply choose the best option of all the fun things.


As for class activities, I have used Post-its for:

Answering student questions (adaptation on the “parking lot”)
Give out 2 or 3 Post-its at the start of class. Instruct students to write down questions they think of as the come up. They can post them on the walls of the room (encourage them to stand up). At the end of the lesson, go around the room as a class, and see if we have answered them all throughout the lesson, or if other students can answer them. This limits the number of questions because students usually only want to write down the important ones.

 Discussion
After teaching the target, have students create a set of questions based on what they have learned. This is a no-prep option. I usually ban words, or create rules they have to follow (ex. No 4 letter verbs = like, love, want, or they must use only tell me abouts and why do you thinks). Students post their questions around the room. They mingle around and answer them. As they chat, record language feedback on other Post-its. When they are finished, post the feedback around the room, and leave the questions. This time when students walk around, they use coloured pens to correct their language use. 

Jeopardy
Students receive a small stack of Post-its. They write a jeopardy question for their assigned category on one, and cover it with another labeled with a points value. Categories can be theory-based, language-based, or interest-based. All teams post their questions into a standard jeopardy board and they compete as a class. When the team who write the question is answering, they cannot choose their own questions. Once again, students are doing all the prep.

Fun Feedback
Students could post Post-its on the walls throughout the week, or just a day using many different colours. The comments could be quotes, feedback on student performance, or just any knowledge we wished to share with each other. One thing to add could be a thank you to another student for something they did. There is a colour visual students would be glad to read.

Here are some ideas suggested by classmates of mine:

Critical thinking exercise
I put up 6 movie posters and gave students one sticky dot each. They were asked to choose the "best" movie and indicate their choice with their sticky dot. Then they were asked to justify their choice - what are they basing their decision on? They could move their dot as they listened to arguments.

Brainstorming ideas
introduce concept in a lecture and then ask students to write their ideas on post-its which are stuck on the whiteboard for discussion.

Introductions exercise/practicing networking
write your name, where you are from and list 3 countries you would like to visit on your Post-It. Stick around the classroom. Find someone who is from one of the countries that you would like to visit and ask for 3 recommendations/pieces of advice.

I could go on and on about my love for Post-its, or makeshift folded scrap paper and painters tape. But, I won’t geek out too much. Here are some links you can check out with more ways to use Post-its in the classroom.

Other Resources:
·       Post-it Note Pedagogy
Huntington Secondary School is undertaking an approach of Visual Learning (Hattie) in their instruction, and using Post-its as one of their main medium.
Hattie states that “the VL story argues that when teachers see teaching and learning through the eyes of their students, and when students become their own teachers then outcomes and engagement are maximized.” This is a link to find out more about Visual Learning and seeing through the eyes of your students.
·       Stick Note Teaching
Based on an observation of a teacher using Post-its creatively to apply vocabulary words in class, Ben Johnson created a list of various ways to use Post-its in the classroom to help students learn. Some ideas include summaries and story boards. The link also shows an Edutopia video of Post-its in action.

Let me know which one you like best and why. Feel free to add any more uses for a Post-it you can think of. 

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