10 Activities for Using Post-It Notes

1) Arrive about 15 minutes early for class. Write labels for various objects and places in the classroom and put them all in the WRONG places. When students arrive, wait for them to comment on what you've done. Then get them to put all the labels in the right places. Variation: you could write prepositional phrases instead.

2) Tell your students you want them to brainstorm some compliments. Write these up on the board, and encourage students to come up with compliments for internal qualities as well as external attributes. Make sure there are at least 20-30 on the board before continuing. Then give each student 7 post-its. Tell them they are going to write a compliment for 7 different students in the class, then put the post-its on the students' desks. They should sign their names on the notes. (An example: To Fred: you have a great sense of humor. From Jill) To finish things up, ask for a few students to use reported speech to tell you what someone else said about them (Jill says I have a great sense of humor).

3) Bring some stimuli to class you would like your students to reflect on. These could be cultural artifacts, art posters, CD covers, advertisements, etc. Put these up in front of the class, and invite them to write comments on post-its, which they will place on or near the objects. Give them time after they are through writing to read what others have written.

4) One fun writing activity is to get students to "message" each other using post-it notes. They write a short message on a post-it, then place it on another student's desk. Variation: you could put students in pairs and have one work as a scribe, who must write the message down for his/her classmate then deliver it to the addressee.

5) Write out some good review questions for your students on post-its. Arrive about 15 minutes early for class. Put the post-its under students' desks, or on the walls. Write possible answers for all questions on the board. When class begins, tell students to look for the questions and try to put them near the correct answer on the board.

6) Before class, write some English words you want students to review up on the board. Then write out the students mother tongue equivalent on post-it notes. Use these to cover up the English version. Ask students to give you the English, then peel away the post-its to show if they guessed correctly. (Note: if you are dealing with a multilingual class, you can use opposites, plurals, or synonyms.)

7) Before class, put a long text up on the board. Cover up words or phrases with post-its. When class starts, ask students to guess what words might be hiding behind the post-its. When they are finished guessing, remove the post-its.

8 ) Bring a large picture or poster of a celebrity or famous building to class. Cover it with post-it notes, large and small. Show it to the class, and announce you will give a prize to anyone who can guess correctly who or what is in the picture. Reveal the picture bit by bit, and let them try to guess. Variation: if you want to make this more fun, you can put them in teams and ask them some review questions. If a team gets a question right, their leader can remove one post-it, and take a guess.

9) Put students in groups of 3-5. Give each group 10 post-it notes. Tell each group to create a sentence of exacly 10 words. They must write the sentence out on the post-its, one word per sheet. Then they shuffle them. They pass their pile on to the next group, who has to determine what the original sentence was.

10) Give each student 10 post-it notes. Tell each student to write his/her name at the bottom of each. Then dictate 10 words for things in the classroom. Tell them to write each word on a different post-it. Then tell them to put the notes in the appropriate places as quickly as possible. Stop the game when someone finishes. If the student has written all 10 words correctly and put them in the correct places, award him or her a small prize.

Originally posted on Dave's ESL Cafe Oct 2003.
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