Why I Love Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are absolutely an essential part of my classroom instruction and teacher life.  I use them almost every day!  Here are some reasons why I love sticky notes so much:

1. Self Feedback: As a part of the revision process, I often ask students to make a note on a sticky note sharing something they like about their essay as well as something that worries them.  Recording this information requires students to reflect on their own work and make some evaluative judgments.  I have them put the self feedback sticky notes to the side when we begin peer feedback.

2. Peer Feedback: I also use sticky notes to help facilitate peer feedback during the writing process.  I'll create a few structured questions to guide student thinking and then ask students to respond to their peer's work on sticky notes.  I usually ask students to limit their feedback to one sticky note.  Each reviewer has the benefit of seeing a clean copy of the essay without a bunch of writing and comments scrawled everywhere.  After a few rounds of revision, the original writer has self feedback and two or three sets of peer feedback on sticky notes.  The writer can review the feedback and choose to accept or reject it.

3. Exit Tickets: I use sticky notes all the time to grab data about students' learning that day in class.  I'll ask an essential question and have the students write their names and the answer to that question on the note.  I also sometimes ask students to write about something they didn't like about class that day as well as something they did like.  Gathering this information on a frequent basis makes it easier for me to check in with all students quickly and get a sense of how everyone is doing and feeling.

4. Literary Analysis: I love having students use sticky notes to annotate texts.  They can make notes as they read without damaging the original text.  They also can remove their notes from the text later and manipulate them as a part of the writing process as they draft literary analysis essays.

5. Class Discussions: I use sticky notes for many different kinds of interactive classroom discussions.  I'll have students work in pairs to review questions at stations, leaving their responses behind on a sticky note.  Later, the class engages in a debriefing session during which they examine all of their peers' responses.

6. Mini To-Do Lists: Sticky notes are my daily go-to for mini to-do lists and calendar planning.  A to-do list on a sticky note is much less intimidating to me than a longer one.  I typically create a short list of 5 or so things that must be done that day.  I place the note on my desk, and I don't leave until I get that list done.  The brevity of the list helps me focus and keeps me from getting overwhelmed.

There are really SO many reasons to love sticky notes in the high school English classroom.  What are your favorite reasons?

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