Laminated Poster-Boards and Post-Its

God bless them both. As Common Core makes its stake, I need more resources. I need to get the kids off the pro-board and onto their desks — but how?!

In our economy, I cannot simply go and buy 10 pads of giant post-its, a new slew of markers, a bunch of little post-its, and some new posters for my class. Instead: I have to come up with all that stuff on the cheap-side.

Which is difficult!

I started last semester with using scrapped paper (chopped up into small pieces) as my “exit tickets” and for other activities in the class that required a little bit of feedback, vs an entire sheet of notebook paper that I would inevitably have to grade.

Toward the end of the semester I started utilizing post-its. We made individual predictions and posted them on the whiteboard. We made tweets from main characters. We did all sorts of things. And the kids ATE IT UP. They love post-its: I mean who doesn’t?

Heading into this semester, I figured I’d get right to it and ask students to bring a set of post-its as required materials. We used them immediately. Yesterday we used them when making a 20 words (no more, no less) summary of the article “In Praise of the F Word.”

Today, I pegged the students into working groups by writing their names on the post-its. Not only did they know where they were going, but they had a medium on which to write their assignment (as a group). I had them agree on the 3 main ideas (and most of them were spot on!) and re-write them on the post-it (that I will use as a grade for them today).

As an exit ticket, I will have the students write their name on another post-it and then write two things they learned today. A common response was, “Well, I don’t know: I forgot.” And I smiled and shook my head, “That’s the point: look back at your notes, think!” And then they got it. Closure is so crucial. Especially when I have block schedule. An hour and a half is a lot of time and material to cover.

Post-its are great, but so is cheap poster-board. I originally purchased the board for a time-line I’m going to create in my room, but as the first day came, I knew I’d need it for other things.

I’ve used three boards to make mock-index cards with MLA citation templates for display in my room.

I bought a pack that had 4 fluorescent boards in it — which class with my color scheme so badly I can’t even explain it. I sent them up to the librarian to laminate. By yesterday morning, they were done and cut out.

Today, we used the boards for concept mapping in groups. I can’t afford giant post-its and markers but I have 10 dry-erase markers and now 4 “white-boards” for groups so… solved that problem.

We will use both the post-its (purchsed in mass quantities by a multitude) and the reusable boards throughout the semester. I’m so unbelievably excited. I know it’s just two small things but I have to be on my game and these little tricks help so much.

Today was another Common Core success, thanks to Sherry, the librarian, and my good ol’ brain. PTL.

MK

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