Using Sticky Notes in Class to get a response from every student that is their own

I am planning a maths lesson for a small group of year 9 students with whom I work, once a week.  The group varies in size between 3 and 8.  It is usually quite easy for me to see if I have a response from everyone, but other times I have larger groups and this is a little harder.  One thing about working with a small group in a small classroom is that students find it very easy to share answers.  I’m happy for this to occur as long as students are sharing how they reached their answer too.  Sometimes, I want to check for understanding quickly and know that every student has done their own work.  This little idea came to me while I was planning an activity for my lesson this week.

Tell students to write their name on the FRONT of each sticky note you give them, answers are then written on the BACK.  This way, when students stick their sticky notes on a Poster/ Posted Question/ Card, everyone only sees the names of the students who have answered the question.  The teacher is the only one who will see the answers (and whether or not they are correct) at the end of the lesson.

variety of sticky notes

Have students use BOTH SIDES of their sticky note!

This week we will be revising Index Notation, so I have made A4 Cards to be posted around the room.  Each one has the population of a couscientific notation cards for blog
ntry on it.  The students will be required to write each population in Scientific Notation on the back of their sticky notes and stick them to the population card (see image to the right).  Some already have Scientific Notation so I will ask the students to expand those ones.  I will be able to tell quickly when everyone is done (when to move on) and later I can check answers to make sure they are correct.


I’m feeling really clever! I swear I didn’t read this idea on someone else’s blog!! Of course, I know I’m not the only one out there with great ideas. If you have a tried and tested trick for getting responses from everyone in your class, please share with me in the comments!  How do you make sure the correct answer isn’t being copied from the most competent student in the room?
I’m excited about this one because I know I can use it in Maths, English, Science, History… literally any subject!

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Performance Development Framework Goals and Success Criteria

The Goals I chose for my Performance Development Plan were partly devised from the results of my AITSL self assessment tool.  I also reflected on my plans and success from previous years to formulate goals and create action steps.

It’s important to look back on previous plans and  work out why some goals were not met.  Acknowledging the success is great and identifying the action steps as well as criteria that led to your success also helps you to construct appropriate SMART goals in the future.

Click image to go to Source

Click image to go to Source

Focus Area One: Embedding Indigenous Perspectives

Goal: By the end of term 1 I will have implemented and evaluated the current unit plan regarding Indigenous perspectives.

Action Steps: Workshop ideas with Indigenous Support Teacher and other support staff.  Write  Indigenous Perspectives to new units as they are developed.

Indicators of Success:

  • Unit plan documentation will include a section regarding Indigenous Perspectives and how they will be included/ discussed during learning experiences.
  • A number of learning resources developed (3 level guide comprehension activities).

Reflection: I achieved this goal before the end of term 1 so I was really pleased with myself.  The resources I created have been used twice and discussions with students in the classroom were fruitful.  Discussing my resources and ways of including Indigenous knowledge in my classroom was really helpful and I have ideas that I would like to implement next year as well.

Focus Area Two: ICT Integration in the Classroom

Goal: By the end of Semester 1, I will have trialled some ICT tools in the classroom and be in a position to implement the most effective strategies in my Semester 2 classes.

Action Steps: Workshop ideas with the digital coaches to trial some classroom ICT tools.

Indicators of Success:

  • Weekly ICT activity in classes.
  • Students able to work independently with ICT.
  • Enhance classroom engagement.
  • Enhanced differentiation possible for individual students.

Reflection: I trialled a small number of ICT resources in my year 7 class in Semester 1 and I was implementing the use of some of them by the end of Semester 1.  I have found some of the students in my Semester 2 classes are less independent in general so they need some assistance with use of ICT.  I am happy with the various online tools that I have found and I’m excited about working more on this goal next year as we have some more ICT resources in our school to use.  We will have 8 ipads, 8 desktop computers and several laptops available for use, as well as ear phone/ microphone headsets so students can use text to speech functions more easily.  There will also be a BYO Device policy in our school next year, although I’m a bit nervous about the impact this will have on student behaviour and access in my classroom.  We will have to cross that bridge when we come to it.  Fortunately, I am feeling much more confident with various ICT tools so I’m using them more readily in my classroom.  Some of the students in my classes this year have been more engaged because of the differentiation that I have been able to offer them with computer/ online tasks.  I am pleased with my progress on this goal!

Focus Area Three: Feedback to Students

Goal: Trial using Student Learning Goal Tracking sheets to provide succinct feedback in term 1. Implement more extensively in term 2 (Can you tell that my mentor and I were sick of writing SMART goals?)

Action Steps: Schedule formalised feedback sessions with students throughout the year to ensure they are aware of their current progress.  Give explicit suggestions as to how students can improve incrementally.

Indicators for Success: Students will be able to identify areas of strength and be able to articulate strategies to enhance other learning areas.

Reflection: I still have a long way to go on this goal.  I started using goal tracking sheets but found that they weren’t working as well as I would have liked.  These were also limited by the fact that the trackers only deal with one goal for each unit and my students really needed to deal with at least two goals – one for literacy and one for numeracy.  There were also times when the feedback I needed to give wasn’t relevant to the goal tracker.  I created a book work checklist to help with this and it  had space for at least 4 scheduled feedback occasions per semester.  Seeing that the feedback I was giving to students in this format was not of a high quality (at least I didn’t think so) I decided to explore  more ways of providing feedback to my students.  While doing this research I focused on the quality of feedback as well as the time it took to do this.  I will tell you more about my journey toward reaching this goal, because there is too much involved in it to include here.

There you have it. My Performance Development Plan and some reflections on the progress I have made towards my goals.

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Performance Development Planning Framework and Personal Reflections

My most recent post was a review of 3 goals that I set for myself and my teaching in 2015. These were goals that I created after several days of professional development and endless meetings about school operations. These were just for me and no one else was checking in with me or supporting me with them. If I had asked for support there probably would have been someone who would have been happy to give it, but I didn’t ask.

Many schools these days require teachers to build and work through a performance development plan alongside the other million things that they are required to do. The idea is that teachers set goals that will improve their practice and then plan how they will reach their goals. I can only tell you how things work at my school and my experience with the framework that we are using this year. It has become more involved each year and will, no doubt, be refined more next year. You don’t need the history of how we have come up with our current model, so I will just jump right in.

Step 1: The Leadership team of our school (heads of department, deputy principals and the principal) are all allocated to a group of 5-6 teachers who they mentor for the year. Some teachers have had the same mentor for the past two or three years, while others have had one or two changes. I often end up losing my mentor as they move to bigger and better things mid-year and I have to be taken under the wing of another. (I’m beginning to think I might be good luck for mentors). Each mentor is also given their own mentor so everyone has someone supporting them on their development journey.

Step 2: Teachers completed a survey created by the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). The idea is that the responses that teachers give to the survey questions determine how well a teacher is meeting each of the professional standards for teachers. I feel that some questions were ambiguous. While examples were provided, these sometimes caused even more confusion. After collating the teacher’s responses the online tool highlights the practice/ indicators that the teacher is doing well and lists those that need improvement.

Step 3: Teachers meet with their mentors and use the results from the AITSL self-assessment tool to formulate three main goals (using the SMART goal framework). The teacher and mentor then discuss both action steps and indicators of success.

steps to success

Step 4: The teacher goes out and puts the plan into action. If there are concerns or issues along the way the teacher is able to meet with their mentor to discuss possible solutions. The mentor might point the teacher in the direction of other teachers who are working towards similar goals or who have expertise that may be useful.

review pic

Step 5: Review and reflect (this should happen throughout the year but it often happens at the end of the process) on whether goals have been met, which action steps were useful. I am feeling it is important for me to do these reflections on my own and at several points in the year rather than relying on the timing of the school plan. At the final stage of this performance development process, staff are encouraged to share their success and celebrate it. They can use this final meeting to  identify which goals were not reached and acknowledge the reasons. It is also a good time to consider some ways to overcome hurdles that may cause an issue to development in the future.


Next Time we visit this topic I will tell you my goals and success criteria, then share my action plan with you.  I may share some shorter posts with you before then if I see something that I think is important to share.

Questions you might like to answer in the Comments

What is the process for performance development in your school? Is it a school based framework or something that is used throughout your district/ region/ state? What are your goals for this year and how are you going with them?

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