Monday, February 20, 2017


How Sticky Notes Saved My Life! | Palen Pre-Contest Clinic

How Sticky Notes Saved My Life! by Joslyn Lay

How many times has a student come up to you before class, after class, or even in the hallway and said, "Can you make me a copy of the fight song?" or "I need a reed!" or "I wasn't here yesterday, can I get the music?" Now, I don't know about you, but even on my best days I tend to forget those simple requests from students. I would sit down during my planning period and forget who needed that copy or what type of reed that student needed. It is important as a band director that we are reliable and the students can always count on you for things that they need and it was frustrating to me. When I started at a new school, a mentor of mine came up to help get me settled. She gave me this great suggestion that has improved both MY accountability as a director and my students accountability to ask for things when they need them and not at the last minute, or accuse me of forgetting. This is called the "Sticky Note System".

I have a huge open window in my office that peers out to my band room. On my window, there's a sign that says, "Need something? Post it!" It has an example of what to write on the sticky note and students simply write (on the sticky side) their name, the date, and what they need from me and stick it on the window. None of the students can see what's written, but I can see it from my office when I'm sitting down in my chair. I can see that Johnny needs a copy of the National Anthem. I can see that Sarah wants to have a lesson on Thursday and Susie needs to order a pair of size 7 marching shoes. Oh, and Sandra wrote me a note that says I'm her favorite teacher. :)

At first, students had trouble remembering to put their name on something or to be specific, but they caught on quickly. They also know that I only have so much time during the day and I can't always produce what they need immediately. It keeps me accountable for remembering things and students have a procedure for asking for the small stuff and I can supply those requests when I have the time. If you don't have a window, you could do the same thing with a bulletin board or just a section of wall space.

It seems like a small thing, but I really suggest trying out this strategy for 'sweating the small stuff' and getting yourself (and the kids!) organized.

Below is a photo of the outside of my office window. This is where students stick their reminders. They write on the sticky side of the note so that I can read the reminder from inside my office.

Below is the view from inside my office. I can read the student names and the reminder. Once complete, I remove the note.



There is just one spot left in the two-day Palen Pre-Contest Clinic held at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts on March 27-28, 2017. Interested? Contact AAron Bryan for more details.


Contact Your Local Palen Music Center Representative

Can we assist you with anything? Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.


Springfield Amanda Meyer, Melissia Goff and Josh Garoutte (417) 882-7000
Columbia Bridgett Randolph, Chuck Appleton and Nate White (573) 256-5555
Liberty Mike Steffen, John Bell and Rob Goade (816) 792-8301
Joplin Jennifer Wassenaar and Amanda Meyer (417) 781-3100
Broken Arrow Jeff Lawless, Kale White and David Gorham (918) 286-1555
OKC Charlie Bartrug and Kirby Swinney (405) 896-8111
NW Arkansas Chase Cavalier (479) 464-8877
St. Louis Troy Bunkley and Becky Long (636) 229-1904
PMC Admin Eric Matzat, AAron Bryan and Zach Houser (417) 882-7000


If you would like to submit material, make corrections, give comments, or wish to be removed from this mailing list, please contact Eric Matzat.