Image Map

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Teacher Tuesday: sticky notes organization

Sticky notes are awesome. Let's just start there. I unashamedly use them all the time, both at home and at school. But they can easily become just another messy pile if used haphazardly. Today's post is both an ode to the wonders of sticky notes, and tips for using them effectively so they work for you, not against you ;)

Here are 5 ways that I use sticky notes in my classroom:

1. Lesson plans at-a-glance

I plan out my lesson plans in my planner, but it can be difficult in the 2 minutes you have between classes to keep track of what you are planning to teach to each grade level, and I don't want to be walking over to my desk to look at my planner in the middle of class! Having a few notes to myself of the general topic or activity for each class, stuck right next to the copy of my schedule that I keep on my music stand at the front of the room, makes it much easier for me to remember what I'm doing!

2. Song lyrics and game directions

After teaching for almost a decade, most of the songs and games I teach I know from memory at this point. I do still find new songs that I want to use, or dig up old ones that I haven't used in a while, and know that I may not remember the words in the "heat of the moment". Some are just hard to remember no matter what- anybody else struggle to keep track of the verses in "My Aunt Came Back"? Anyway, I write out the words, game directions, or instrumental parts on a sticky note and put it in the notes section of my planner. Then when I'm teaching it, I stick that note on the seating chart for the class that is learning it. I actually re-use these from year to year- that fireman poem in the first photo is from last year and I pulled it out again this year. And yes, they actually do stick! 

3. Track information

I mean "track" the noun, not "track" the verb. Sometimes you need to be able to get to a specific spot in a track for a lesson. I write down the exact time in the track so that I can skip right to the spot I need each time instead of fast forwarding and rewinding over and over in the middle of class (I know we've all been there). I stick it on my laptop so that when I go over to use iTunes I can pull it right up. I keep these sticky notes from year to year as well!

4. Schedule notes

If students are being pulled out during class for private lessons (as sometimes happens at my school), or for some other reason need to leave early etc, I mark those with one of the tiny sticky flags with the time and stick it next to the student name on their seating chart. There is no way I can keep track of those things otherwise!

5. Reminders for students

This one is slightly different than the others because it is for use outside of the music room, but when I need to remind students to come for a pullout lesson to rehearse a solo part, or they need to remember to bring in their recorder after forgetting the last two class periods, for example, I write a note for them on a sticky note and tell them to put it on their desk. I've found students are much more likely to remember when the note is staring at them all day on their desk instead of crumpled up in their locker!

What are your favorite ways to use sticky notes in the classroom? Leave your ideas in the comments below!


  1. Great post! I use them as fun attention grabbers. They are shaped like comic bubbles, easy to write on and piano students know they need to practice a specific measure of music where they are placed.

    1. Perfect! I love the speech bubble idea! Sticky notes are so fun because they come in so many shapes and colors too :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is a very nice post. I use sticky notes a lot and I am guilty of piling them up so a reminder of how to use them is always relevant for me.

    Thank you!

    1. It's crazy how something that should be helping us get organized can actually quickly add to mess and stress! I have definitely been guilty of that myself. Thank you for your comment and I'm glad to be introduced to your blog as well- I'm looking forward to exploring more of your posts!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Great post! I use them to jot ideas or things to do down and then at the end of the day go through and put them in a calendar or just take care of the issue. I love them because I can throw them away and don't have a long list I have to filter through with lines all over it.

    1. Good point! I use them to jot things down during the day and then sort through them after school as well when I have time to organize the information.

  5. I do this too! If I have parts or special things I want to remember a sticky is so handy.