Sticky notes when teaching (on-line)

By Yanina Bellini Saibene in Community English Education

April 28, 2022

Sticky notes

In the book Teaching Technology Together in the Chapter In the Classroom sticky notes are presented as a resource that has several uses in the classroom.

  • As status indicators: sticky notes of different colors. If someone has completed an exercise and wants to have it checked, they place the green sticky note on their laptop; if they have a problem and need help, they place the orange note. You can quickly see from the front of the room what state your class is in.

  • To distribute attention: to ensure that your attention as a teacher is distributed fairly. Each student writes his or her name on a sticky note and places it on your computer. Each time someone answers one of your questions or is given the word, remove their sticky note. Once all the sticky notes have been removed, your students put them back on their computers.

  • As minute cards: before each break, your students take a minute to write on the green sticky note something they think will be helpful to them and on the orange note something they think was taught too fast or too slow, or was confusing or irrelevant. While they enjoy their coffee or lunch, review their notes and look for patterns. These notes are anonymous.

Now, what is the replacement for sticky notes in the on-line environment?

  • As status indicators:

    • Non-verbal feedback in videoconferencing platforms appears as the first choice to replace colored sticky notes. If we use Zoom, a person can be asked to mark with a green check mark if they are finished or with a red mark in case they are stuck. As with the sticky notes, these marks do not come off by themselves, so it is necessary to ask the person to remove them if they have already solved the problem or move on to another exercise.

    • The other reactions with emojis are useful for a quick general status, because they also show us the number of each emoji in the list of participants. For the same purpose, we can also ask them to write in the chat when they finished a task. Although it can be a lot of information together in groups of more than 20 people and complicated to determine who did not answer.

    • Other tools such as surveys or a Slack channel can be used, but adding more tools to the synchronous class, especially if it is a new tool, is a cognitive load that we must take into account.

  • To distribute attention: a paper listing the names of your students is sufficient. As they have the names on their videos, we can make a cross next to the name of the person we are already interacting with. If you are teaching with other people, you can have a shared spreadsheet that teachers can update when they are assistants. By private message we can alert our co-teacher to call or involve someone in particular.

  • Like minute cards:

  • What I have used most in my classes and workshops is a google form to collect this type of information. The form is anonymous, it contains two questions: something to keep/something you liked and something you would change/something that was not understood with free text in both. In addition, each answer has a time stamp, so you can individualize the answers for each session and each day, but without individualizing the person.

  • There are also tools like or Jamboard that allow us to generate a whiteboard where we can place virtual sticky notes anonymously with this same idea of giving feedback on the session or class.

Whatever you do, always use the feedback you get from your students. This is the most important part of these tools.

Do you use any tools like these?, If you already used sticky notes, how did you replace them?

Posted on:
April 28, 2022
4 minute read, 641 words
Community English Education
Community Education
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