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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The Secret Sticky Strategy for the End of the School Year

Things always start to unravel at the end of the school year, but this year the heightened emotions seem even more magnified than usual. I was recently reminded of something I did at the end of the school year years ago that I've started doing again this year, and it has already made a big impact in the first week since I started. If you're struggling to maintain a positive classroom climate, this is an easy strategy you might want to try!

I've been giving a "happy note" to one student at the end of every lesson for years now, and it has been a great tool for building relationships and positive classroom climate. I'm still doing that this year, but this past week I added another layer to that concept: the secret sticky note.

At the end of the day, or whenever I have a few minutes during planning, I write a short (maybe 2-3 sentences) note to a few students on a post-it note. It's not the student who got a happy note that day, but I'm starting with those students who are just always quietly doing what they need to do, or who I've seen making an effort in class. The notes usually say something like, "I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you for___", or "You are so good at ___", etc and then end with something like, "You are an awesome person". I try to get one or two students each from a few different classes each day.

Before school starts the next day, I go to their homeroom and put the sticky note on their chair or desk where it's not in plain sight but the student will see it when they go to sit down. I don't say anything to them about it, but every single one of them has run up to me to give me a hug, or come in the next class proclaiming, "I am going to do an awesome job again today!"- it has been absolutely magical, and that energy rubs off on the rest of the class. I have no idea if they are telling other students about it and making the others motivated to receive a note as well, or if it's just the positive vibes spreading to everyone else, but it has definitely impacted more than just the individual students who have gotten a note from me.

I am keeping track of who I write notes to on my seating charts, so I'm hoping to get around to everyone before the end of the school year (we have a little less than 6 weeks left). Not only has it been a great way to encourage the students, but it has really helped keep my focus on the positive as well. Rather than spending all of my time outside of class following up on negative behaviors, I'm following up on the positive ones as well, which reminds me of all the great things that are happening in my classroom and all the things I love about my students. 

This time of year can start to feel like you're just holding on for dear life- I hope this helps someone else end the school year on a more positive note! 


  1. Oh i can see this going over very well for my classes. I will definitely be doing both the happy note and secret sticky note next year. I have a feeling that the classroom teachers will love this too!

    1. The happy notes have been a huge success for years now- I think you'll love it! :)