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You guys. Today is my first day with my new students. I get to meet my kiddos! To say that I am super excited is an understatement. I’ve spent aaaallllll last week getting everything prepared. My room is organized and decorated, my lesson plans are listed in probably far too much detail, the copies are sitting in the little paper-holders labeled with class names. I am READY!
One of the supplies I will be using a lot this year (again) is Post-it® Notes. I headed over to Walmart aka Back-to-School Paradise, to stock up. Although my school does provide basic supplies, this is one area where I don’t mind spending a little bit of my own money because I am picky. I like choosing my own colors and shapes and levels of sticky-ness!
As you can see, I went nuts on the Post-it® shopping. They even have a new “World of Color” collection, and I had to get the Bora Bora pack since it was my honeymoon destination and all. They were fab and I wanted allofthethings.
Now we all know that Post-it® Notes are fabulous for writing down students’ computer logins when they forget them for the elevendy-hundreth time, creating an impromptu pass to the library, or even as a bookmark for where you left off in today’s story when the fire drill happened. BUT, there are so many more creative ways to use Post-it® Notes in the classroom, y’all.
One of my favorite things to do with Post-it® Notes is to print on them. Kids are always in awe of this, and other teachers think you are super-crafty, but it’s way easy. Below I’ll supply you with some great printables and 5 ways I use Post-it® Notes for back-to-school time, but first, a lesson.
How to Print on Post-it® Notes:
1. First, you will need a template for the Post-it® size you want to use. Let’s start with my favorite size, the 3″ x 3″ note. Print the template. (See the ideas below for FREE printable templates!)
2. Figure out which direction your printer prints. Your printer (or your school’s printer) probably has a manual tray for printing on envelopes and whatnot. Near this tray, or inside it, you should see a symbol that shows which side should be facing down. In the photo of my printer below, it shows that I need to place the paper face down. Re-print your test page according to the icon. You will know right away if that’s not the way it prints, because your test page will have two opposite copies. If it’s correct, it will look relatively the same.
3. Once you figure out which direction your printer prints, stick the Post-it® Notes carefully onto the test page, with the sticky part on the arrow side. It is VERY IMPORTANT that the sticky side is closest to the direction it prints — otherwise you could jam your printer!
4. Carefully place the paper with the Post-it® Notes stuck to it in the manual feed tray of your printer. Check to make sure that the arrow is going the right direction.
5. Print the template again, but this time choose the manual tray. I also like to select “cardstock” on my printer settings. Even though it’s not actually cardstock, the printer goes a little slower and accepts the thicker paper more easily on the cardstock setting.
That’s it! Just peel ’em off the page and use ’em! Easy peasy.
Now for the ideas!
1. Number desks on the first day of school.
I have literally done this every first-day-of-school for the last twelve years. I use Post-it® Notes to quickly and easily number the desks, which I copy onto my seating chart. Then, I give each student a number as they come in the door, and they find their desk. (I also group them alphabetically by first name so I can learn their names, but I don’t tell them that.)
To fancy it up a bit, try printing your desk labels on Post-it® Notes this year! I have two template choices for ya: a cute one with apples and one with plain numbers (in case your kids — or you– are too cool for teacher-y graphics). They even go all the way up to 36 in case, heaven forbid, you have an enormous class or something. Yikes!
These are for the 3×3 Post-it® Note size, and I would recommend the Super Sticky kind. You don’t want your little darlings peeling them off during first period, and these stick really well but still remove with no residue.
2. Create tabs for binders.
Even though I put binder tabs on the supplies list, there are always a few kids who don’t bring them. Since having an organized binder is SUPER important for 8th graders (as opposed to their preferred method of just stuffing allofthepapers directly into the top of their backpack), I always sit down with those kids and help them make their own binder tabs.
Printing on Post-it® Notes beforehand can really save time with this, as well as make it look neater. And if you’re a parent trying to help your kiddo get his binder in order, there’s a subject-label one just for you! Print on the 7/8″ x 2 7/8″ Post-it® page markers, then stick em to the side of a piece of hole-punched cardstock. I like to secure the backs with a little Scotch® Magic Tape too.
3. Put Post-it® Notes under desks.
This is a great way to choose random groups (“Everyone with a pink Post-it® under his or her desk is in group 1! Everyone with a blue Post-it® is in group 2!”) or create a “surprise” winner (“If you have a Post-it® under your desk, you will be the presenter for your table group today!”) Kids think it’s fun to peek under the desk, and it also gets them moving around, increasing blood-flow to the brain. A handy little trick, no?
4. Create a word scramble.
Many of my students are tactile / kinesthetic learners, but is also really hard to include those types of activities in daily lessons. This one is an easy way to make any lesson hands-on. Use the letter template below to print out a set of alphabet letters, using the /8″ x 2 7/8″ Post-it® page markers. Then, create a clue on a notecard and “scramble” the letters of the answer using the Post-it® letters. Kids have to figure out the answer and unscramble it. This works great with stations and first-day-of-school review information!
5. Play a matching Ice-Breaker.
This is an EASY way to have kids get to know each other. In fact, I’m probably going to do this in my advisory period this week. Using the 3×3″ Post-it® Notes and the template below, print the “pairs” on the Post-it® Notes. Then, stick the notes randomly to students’ backs, and they have to walk around asking only yes/no questions and find their “partner.” I’d also recommend the Super Sticky Post-it® Notes for this one so that they stay on during the activity as kids are walking around.
AND… if you just want all the templates in one easy download, here ya go:
How ’bout y’all? How do you use Post-it® Notes in the classroom? Leave your ideas in the comments and help a sista out! :)