Rachel Borthwick is a primary school teacher, university lecturer and content writer for Cleverbean, an education startup providing easy lesson planning tools to teachers right around Australia.
If there’s one thing that you should be packing into your teacher bag the night before a casual day (alongside your keep cup and some loose change for the communal coffee kitty!), it is the humble Post-it note.
A non-negotiable inclusion in teacher toolkits, Post-its have long been lauded as one of the most versatile resources. Perfect as a tool to reinforce comprehension strategies, a quick and easy way to check in with student understanding by using them as exit slips, or even innovating on a text by adding thought bubbles;. the possibilities truly are endless. Read on and arm yourself with our favourite lessons for how you can incorporate this clever little sticky square into your teaching repertoire.
- Ask questions worth answering
This easily adaptable lesson can be used right across all grades to support deeper thinking when reading a text. Harness the power of ‘why?’ (and who/what/when/where/how!) to encourage your students to get into the mind of the author and characters. Students shouldn’t be able to readily locate the answer after close reading of the text. The idea here is to ask the unanswered questions. Using Post-its, students will record their questions and place them on the corresponding page (note that questions can be about images or text) within the book. Other students may offer their thoughts via written response by placing another Post-it note underneath. A handy hint here is to colour-code your Post-its so that questions are one colour and answers are another colour. For more lesson details and differentiation, see the full lesson plan.
2. An exit slip…with a twist!
Inject a little fun and frivolity into your day by appealing to the social media natives in your care. Hashtag check-ins are a super simple and engaging way to gauge student understanding of a concept and can be a great way to organise thinking into categories. They also allow for students to apply their own bias and perspective when comprehending which paves the way for rich classroom discussion. Older students can use this strategy to write numerous hashtags representing themes, pose questions, write quotations and make links to real world activity, while younger students can use their hashtags to record main events in the text, represent emotions or key phrases. Encourage students to read each others’ hashtags to see if anyone else is on a similar wavelength. For more lesson details and differentiation, see the full lesson plan.
3. I know what you’re thinking…
Have your students immerse themselves in a book and be ‘character for a day’ by using Post-its to make inferences. A powerful comprehension tool, inferring allows for greater understanding of a text and encourages students to think like a writer. Select a text that allows for students to firstly discuss what a character may be thinking based on their facial expressions, body language and other clues within the illustration. One idea is to project an image at a time and invite students to place their Post-it note on the screen. Then take some time to read through what students have shared. This activity often results in lots of laughs! For more lesson details and differentiation, see the full lesson plan.
These ideas are just three of our tried and true ways that you can make use of Post-its in your classroom. As the saying goes, the best professional development is the teacher next door, so ask around for other ideas on how Post-its can become a part of every successful casual day.