Post-It notes were my number one teaching tool this term

The humble Post-It. A genius invention that enhances teaching and learning so easily. This term I’ve used Post-It notes with two classes really successfully and will incorporate them into learning activities even more next term.
Here are the two ways I used them this term:

Year 7 – picture books analysis

The last three weeks of term can be hard going if you don’t have a fun project or unit of work planned. I am lucky that Lee came up with a way to connect our two classes – his Kindy/year one class and my year 7 class – on a writing project. His students had previously worked on a story-writing project and had written very cute little narratives. Sadly, their original audience fell through, so we decided that my year 7 class would transform the little kids’ stories into picture books.
Clearly the first stage of this project is for my students to discover how picture books use words and images to tell stories. To do this, firstly we read lots of picture books. Easy. Next, however, was considering the ways meaning is made through images. I use an acronym for the visual literacy terms that are used when discussing visual texts – LT McGAVSSS. (Layout, Texture, Modality, Colour, Gaze, Vectors, Salience, Shots, Symbolism.) I gave each team 2 terms, a laptop and a picture book. I set the task of defining the terms, understanding what they mean and then finding TWO examples of each term used in their given picture book. That’s where the Post-Its came into play – I asked students to include the WHAT, HOW and WHY of the visual technique on the Post-It and stick it to the page relevant. So that means they identified WHAT technique was used, HOW it was used to make meaning and WHY it was used. They repeated this twice with each visual technique. In the photos below you can see how I wrote up the task on the board and some of their work. I was really pleased with the thought they put into their responses and the Post-Its became a visual reminder of their learning.

Year 10 – reading Macbeth

Reading Shakespeare is tough for kids, but I was determined that my mixed abilities year 10 class would read the original text and not the ‘modernised’ version. The project for students was to design an advertising campaign for a production of the play, and as such they needed a really good understanding of the plot, characters, themes, symbols, imagery etc. In order to keep track of these, I issued each student with a copy of the play (I put their name on the front with a sticky-taped Post-It) and a pad of Post-Its. As we read, I used questioning strategies to get students to identify and discuss the aspects of the play listed in my previous sentence. At the end of the lesson, each team got together to check all team members had taken solid notes on their Post-Its and to add what they missed. This would not only helped students when they came to designing their advertising campaign (ideally), but it was a great formative assessment tool for me to see how each student was coping with the play. I did find it odd that only a handful of my students went back to their notes when they got to the designing stage, maybe two teams did? I feel like I should have made that step more explicit, then part of me was like, ‘Well duh, like you need to be told to do that!’ Haha.

Anyway, that’s just two ways I’ve used Post-Its for learning this term. How do you use them with your classes?

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One thought on “Post-It notes were my number one teaching tool this term

  1. Hi Bianca, I am a student in my 3rd year of Bachelor of Learning Management @ CQU. I came across your blog posts through studies (YouTube where you interviewed, discussing PBL – many great ideas there!) in my managing e-learning class, but what I love about this new post is the visual literacy terms! What a great idea. I have a 3 week block coming up where I will be introducing a new text, Giggle, Giggle, Quack to the year 1 cohort (visible use of uni language…oh dear) and I think this might be a great way of scaffolding this. Thank you. Your posts are very resourceful and enjoyable to read.

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