Sticky Notes

UDL 3.3 UDL 5.1

Sticky Notes is an instructional strategy where students use small slips of paper to organize ideas and process information. Students use these slips to record key ideas, mark points of confusion in a text, and note connections to previously learned content. After recording ideas, students can also rearrange the slips of paper to organize information and graphically display their thinking. Sticky Notes encourages students to interact with content and utilize metacognitive skills to reflect on their learning.

Implementation Tips

Set clear expectations for how and when students should use Sticky Notes. Model expected responses and appropriate use of notes to students. An [[|anchor chart]] can also be posted to provide a visual reminder to students about effective note-taking strategies using Sticky Notes.
Class Management
Determine how to distribute Sticky Notes based on the needs of your class. Some students are responsible with an entire pack of notes while others may need to get a few from the teacher at a time. Teachers may also choose to leave Sticky Notes in a place that is accessible for students to replenish as needed.
Assessing with Sticky Notes
Use Sticky Notes for quick assessments at the end of of a lesson by asking students to respond to a specific prompt (e.g., What are the steps in the water cycle?). This informal approach reduces student anxiety and allows the teacher to quickly evaluate student understandings. Depending on the situation, these assessments can be done anonymously or students can be asked to include their name on the back of the note.
Celebrate Student Work
Encourage students to perform at their highest ability level by celebrating exemplar student work. When notes are written that meet or exceed expectations, read them to the class or display them on a board highlighting outstanding student work.
Student Feedback
Use Sticky Notes as a tool to provide feedback. For example, the teacher can circulate while students are working on a task and take note of each student’s progress, strengths, and weaknesses. These notes can be given to students to motivate them during the task or after to provide feedback.


Notetaking/Organizing Information
During a lesson, each student can write or draw key ideas on Sticky Notes. At the end of the lesson, students combine Sticky Notes with a partner and work together to categorize or map out the information by rearranging their notes on a desk. Students can then synthesize this information by writing a lesson summary.
Literary Analysis and Comprehension Strategies
When learning about character development, students can draw pictures illustrating the mood or traits of character at various points in a novel and place them in the text. (Different colored notes can be used to track the development of multiple characters.) After finishing the novel, students remove the notes and use them to create a poster showing the character’s development throughout the story.
Revising Writing
When reviewing a draft, students rewrite a sentence or section on a note and place it on top of the original writing. This allows students to make changes without erasing previous work, which helps the teacher see the student's thought process and pinpoint the cause of mistakes. When students have finished editing, they can rewrite the entire draft incorporating the new sections.
At the end of a lesson, students can use Sticky Notes to reflect on new learning. The teacher can ask students to define a term from the lesson, jot down a new idea, or write a lingering question and post their notes on the board. Students can then review classmates’ ideas and reflect on shared understandings. The teacher can use this information to quickly assess students’ learning and plan subsequent instruction.

Related Strategies