Monday, February 20, 2017

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.


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