What could Post-it notes be useful for?
Although technology is one of the most important aids of learning, this does not exclude "physical" practices that are far from technology and could be as effective as well.
In fact, I find using sticky notes extremely useful to use for various aims during my classes. They could be used during any of the three stages of the lesson.
Here are some of my classroom ideas using sticky notes.
- I use sticky notes during the Lead-In part of the lesson for:
1-Individual brainstorming :completing a spidergram with words related to a specific semantic field. This activates the learners' schemata. After they finish jotting down their words, the students exchange their spidergrams.
2-Recap: Remind them of previous vocab that we worked on a previous session and ask them to jot down synonyms/ antonyms to certain vocab that could pave the way for a new targeted lexis.
3- Paraphrasing proverbs/ sayings/ quotations: Sticky notes are handy and easy to exchange. Moreover, some of my learners feel that these sticky notes are personal notes and strive hard to do their best. Some others see them as sth in extra and comment upon the color and some other students prefer another color.
- Using Sticky notes during the While-Stage: Some of the activities that could be dealt with during this stage thanks to the sticky notes are:
1-Dictation of some words related to any kind of text, either a text as a "listening" or as a "reading" text.
2-Ponder over some extra questions that were not dealt with during the lesson.
3-Write down some reflections.
4-Ask for help such as scribbling some words in Arabic and ask for an instant translation of some words while performing a task. Shy learners tend feel more comfortable using these sticky notes essentially for the first sessions of the academic year so as to write questions about some words they do not know how to translate them in the targeted language, especially while writing essays or answering questions.
5-Tweeting definitions of a specific concept. Learners are asked to tweet a definition, by using a real username and choose the proper hashtag. Then, they are asked to stick them on the Twitter wall poster & collate .
6-Chain sentences: Writing sentences or writing stories. This depends on the level of the students. Writing collaborative sentences. One student starts with the first words and the folowing students build up either, sentences exemplfying a certain structure or writing short stories. When the sentence is over, the student who gets the sticky note reads it out loud to the whole class. This is collaborative writing and learners are amazed at the inspiration and vitality that occurs during the activity. By the way, during one session learners might write several short stories. Some learners, might add a lot of creativity, while others might feel bored and do not feel motivated but the collaboration happening between the learners themselves makes the activity interesting. In fact, the students learn a lot of new vocabulary items and become aware of the sentence structures , the connectors, the coherence, the correct collocations. For some students, it's hard to add one word, while for others, it is so easy to add details. Motivation is contagious and the activity turns out to be motivating to all the learners.
- As for the post-stage of the lesson, sticky notes could be valuable if they are used as:
1-Exit slips: Learners write down three words they learned in the lesson thet they fully grasped their meanings ,by using them in clear, coherent sentences. Or they could simply jot down their feelings about the lesson, what did they learn and what they missed. These exit slips could be very informative about the quality of the lesson and the quantity of information missed or learned by the learners. These sticky notes could help the teacher get honest evaluation because learners do not uncover their identities. They are asked to speak up freely their minds.
2-Dictation: At some point and mainly with students who do not give importance to how words are spelled, especially because of the hybrid of codes they use while texting or chatting with their peers. In fact, they tend to mix letters with numbers and symbols to convey any kind of social media message. Thus, IMHO, Dictation is one of the crucial activities to be dealt with during any of the stages possible.
Below are some pictures of some sticky notes I used for feedback from my fellow teachers during a training sessions with my colleagues so as to incite them to use technology in their lessons. These sticky notes help me regain a lot of my confidence in times of difficulties.
Last but not least, while writing this post, I came across a very interesting post where the teacher uses sticky-notes on projects to collaborate, collate, categorise and connect. Here is the link:
Sticky notes and project nests By Russel Tarr.
All in all, Sticky notes help me vary the activities and we enjoy using them in class. As for tech tools that help you create and save sticky notes online, I do recommend Lino.
Hope you enjoyed reading this post.