Using Post-It Notes to Synthesize Learning

Over the years I have read many ideas about what to do with used sticky notes, and I’ve never liked any of those ideas. We use sticky notes to track our thinking during our Guided Reading groups, and when we finish a text and move to another, those old sticky notes just seem to collect dust.

However, those sticky notes document substantial amounts of thinking, often thinking that has been very meaningful. Sending them to the recycling bin didn’t seem to be a just fate for these insightful thoughts. As I was preparing for a reading group Thursday, I decided to run a session where we would use students’ sticky notes to reflect on our reading strategy from the week (questioning).

I had the students take their sticky notes and display them on paper like this:

post it note synthesizing

Then, at the bottom, I have this group a question stem, “Asking questions is important because…”

The answers and discussion from this simple activity were excellent. The students articulated, in just one sentence, all of our reading groups work for that week. This student’s answer reads, “Asking questions is important because they help you understand the story better. So you can see if your questions [are] answered later on in the story.” This student nailed it.

What I am most excited about this the flexibility of this approach. Any reading strategy at any time with any text could be used for this. Also, while the teacher would need to be ready for this discussion, no copying, laminating, or printing is necessary. Just the students’ previous work and a blank sheet of paper.

I look forward to using this throughout the year. What do you like to do most with students’ sticky notes?

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About mrwhitehb

I teach 4th grade and am the chair of the Young Hoosier Book Award Committee for grades 4-6.

Posted on October 8, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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