Sticky notes are a versatile tool that can be used in a variety of ways to enhance classroom learning. It’s no secret that most teachers love sticky notes because they come in a variety of styles, sizes and colours. There are so many different ways to use them whether they have lines or are blank. We’ve collected our favourite ways to use sticky notes in the classroom and felt we had to share them with you.
Sizes and Shapes
Generally, we use the 3 x 3 inch notes because they are the most common and tend to give students enough room for most activities. We avoid dark colours as most of the time our students write with pencils. Dark colours make it more difficult to read them from a distance. We try to choose a variety of colours because it makes colour coding easy.
Our favourite size for staff meetings is 8 x 6 inches because they are lined and it’s easy to peel off the whole page and put them in our staff meeting book. They are great for taking notes.
It really doesn’t matter because sticky notes come in all shapes and sizes so you’re sure to find the ones that work best for you.
We have also found that notes from the dollar store lose their stickiness quickly or stick too much and rip the paper they are one. Post-Its are the best for a reason, but they are also a little more expensive.
Ways to Use Sticky Notes
Use Sticky Notes for Brainstorming
Use sticky notes to encourage students to brainstorm ideas for a project or assignment. Students can write down their ideas on sticky notes and then arrange them on a board or wall to visualize their thoughts. We like to write a topic on a piece of chart paper and then have students stick their ideas to it. This makes it easier to pick up and move. If need your notes to stay in a specific spot, it sometimes helps to add a little piece of tape.
As a teacher, you can use them for planning. We tend to write out certain activities like the unit test or STEM days and place them in our planner. Then we can rearrange things as needed without making a huge mess in our planner.
Use Notes for Summarizing
Have students write down the main points of a lesson or a text on a sticky note. This can help them to remember key concepts and ideas. Students can write during the activity similar to taking notes or after to show understanding.
Use Sticky Notes for Exit Tickets
Use sticky notes as a quick way for students to reflect on their learning at the end of a class. Ask students to write down one thing they learned, one question they have, and one thing they found interesting on a sticky note and collect them as they leave the classroom. If you have a specific question, you can check for understanding.
Taking this one step further by having a piece of chart paper divided into enough squares for all your students. Label the squares with student names. As students leave, they can add their sticky notes to the square with their names. This is an easy way to see which students haven’t left their notes.
Instead of an exit ticket, you can start the day with a greeting or question. Leave the question on the board and a sticky note for each student. As they fill out the chart, you’ll be able to see which students are absent because their squares will remain empty.
Use Sticky Notes to Provide Feedback
Use sticky notes to provide feedback to students on their assignments or work. You can write down positive comments, suggestions for improvement, or questions to encourage deeper thinking.
We created a template that you can use to print on your sticky notes. First, you print the page. Then you add blank sticky notes to the printer paper. You run the paper back through the printer and the text will print on the sticky notes.
This set of feedback notes is in our Resource Library which is available to our ninjas. If you’re not a ninja yet, we can send it directly to your inbox when you sign up for our email list.
Have students use sticky notes to give feedback to their peers during a group project or presentation. This can encourage collaboration and improve communication skills. If you are looking for more ways to have students provide feedback to their peers, read our post How to Give Student Feedback That’s Amazing.
Use Notes to Learn Vocabulary
Write down new vocabulary words on sticky notes and have students match them with definitions or use them in a sentence. Students can illustrate the words.
If you have English Language Learners, create a simple dictionary using lined paper in a duotang. Label the pages with the alphabet. Add sticky notes to the pages as students learn new words.
Use Sticky Notes for Classroom Management
Use sticky notes as reminders for students to complete tasks, the order of tasks or what to do when finished a task.
Some students will benefit from a visual reminder to stop or start certain behaviours. Others can use them to track their own behaviours.
You can even use them for your own reminders. We have been known to wear a sticky note that says, “Ask me if I sent in the attendance?” or “Remind me I have recess supervision.”
Use Sticky Notes for Book Recommendations
Have students recommend books for their classmates or in the school library. We created this set of printable sticky notes that you can print and give to students. They can write their recommendations and stick them on the book covers.
Find these Book Recommendations in the Resource Library. If you’re not already a ninja, we can send this set directly to your inbox when you sign up for our email list.
Write Anecdotal Notes for Assessment
When you are walking around observing your students as they are working, use the notes to write down your thoughts about how well students are meeting outcomes. Write student initials on the corners and then stick them into your assessment book where you can write them into your digital records or written ones.
Make a Question Parking Lot
When you or a guest teacher are teaching a specific topic, students can write down the questions they have. Instead of interrupting the lesson, students can record their questions and park them on the board or on the corner of their desks until there is time to ask.
If there is a topic that is a little more sensitive, students can write their questions anonymously and drop them into a container where they can be answered later.
Create Labels With Sticky Notes
If you can stick a note to it, then you can make a label for it. Best of all, you can easily colour-code your labels to see them from afar. For example, if you have a set of drawers, you can let a student know the math tools are in the drawer with the pink note.
Students can write their names on them (even decorate them) and then sticky them on projects or books they are reading or even their desks. Sticky notes make great temporary labels and if you need a little more permanence, add a piece of tape or clear contact paper.
Make Easy Bookmarks
We use sticky notes all the time to mark our place in our books during guided reading. They are versatile because we write our names on them to know which student ended in each place and they don’t mark up the pages.
Do Feelings Checks
We use feeling checks to see how our students are doing. Once your students know how to write them, you can use sticky notes to keep them anonymous.
If you’ve never done feelings checks, they are part of our Social Emotional Learning Unit. You can find the whole unit in our TpT Store ($USD) or BN Shop ($CAN). There are also a set of feelings checks in our Resource Library.
Use Sticky Notes for Sequencing
One of the benefits of sticky notes is the fact they can be moved around. This makes them great for writing down events for the plot of a story or historical events. This makes it easy to create a timeline or organize them in a sequence.
Write Smiley Notes
Sometimes it is nice to leave a sweet note for a student. Write a note thanking them or showing appreciation. Use sticky notes to encourage them during a test or when they’re having a tough day. Everyone likes to get a smiley note.
Remind Students About Assignment Expectations
Do your students rush through their work? Do they miss steps? Sometimes a quick reminder is all they need. Students can also use them to check each other’s work before they hand it in. Find these Whoops! Notes in the Resource Library. If you’re not already a ninja, we can send this set directly to your inbox when you sign up for our email list.
How Do You Use Sticky Notes?
These are just a few examples of the many ways that sticky notes can be used in the classroom. With a little creativity, you can find even more ways to use this simple tool in your lessons. If we’ve missed something, please let us know in the comments below.