No Series: Post-its: Little Notes for Big Discussions


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • SL:  Speaking and Listening Standards K-5
  • 5:  5th Grade
  • 1a: 
    Engage effectively in a range of collaborative
    discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led)
    with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and
    texts, building on others' ideas and expressing
    their own clearly.

    a. Come to discussions prepared, having read
    or studied required material; explicitly draw
    on that preparation and other information
    known about the topic to explore ideas under

    b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and
    carry out assigned roles.

    c. Pose and respond to specific questions by
    making comments that contribute to the
    discussion and elaborate on the remarks of

    d. Review the key ideas expressed and draw
    conclusions in light of information and
    knowledge gained from the discussions.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Post-its: Little Notes for Big Discussions

Lesson Objective: Take notes to prepare for discussion
All Grades / ELA / Discussion


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does this strategy enrich discussion?
  2. What is the difference between the Post-it strategy and traditional note-taking?
  3. How could you use this strategy to encourage reluctant students to participate?


  • Private message to Cynthia Abel

How does this strategy enrich discussion?

It helps the students remember what they were thinking or wondering about when they were reading.  Instead of remembering what they thought when they were reading, the students can refer to their post it.  A great tool to facilitate and encourage discussion.

What is the difference between the Post-it strategy and traditional note-taking?

Post-it strategy is more immediate.  It keeps the flow of reading and thought.  Plus the note is right where it needs to be for reference.

How could you use this strategy to encourage reluctant students to participate?

The post-it can be used as a crutch or security blankert for those students who are scared they won't know what to say.  It makes the process warm versus cold.  Also, it could be something a student could pass to another student to read for them.  Additionally, I think it would be fun to find some crazy post its to use for reading.  Maybe with fun characters on them. 


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  • Private message to Daniel Lerma
I really like this idea of using post-its because it really helps students with the process of understanding the material by writing what they are reading, predicting, or any ideas that they have on the subject. It also helps them remember what they were thinking about when they were reading the section in the books. I defiantly will be using this in the future in my class room to make sure that everyone has an understanding of what is happening in the section.
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  • Private message to Ernesto Hernandez
Ms. Brewer did a good job teaching her students to meet Common Core speaking and listening standards. Often I have certain students dominate classroom conversations, but in this video it looked like all students were participating. It is true that children often forget great thoughts that they have, or have trouble articulating them, so I think giving them time to work out their thinking and record it is enormously beneficial. This strategy works great with reading comprehension but I believe it would be effective across all areas of the curriculum.
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  • Private message to Douglas Jaynes
Post-it notes are an easy way to make sure students are prepared to share out thoughts with a partner, small group, or whole class. It's easy to forget an important idea that came to mind as you continue to read along in the text and this practice provides students the opportunity to quickly stop and reflect before they continue reading. Will definitely use this strategy in social studies and grade level novels. Will help all students feel successful as they participate in the discussion.
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  • Private message to iris ortega
I really like this idea because not all students remember what they read.
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    Hand Signals
    00:00:00 STACY BREWER: A big part of the speaking and listening standard that I was focusing

    Hand Signals
    00:00:00 STACY BREWER: A big part of the speaking and listening standard that I was focusing on has to do with coming prepared for the discussion. TEXT:
    Stacy Brewer
    5th Grade teacher
    Stevenson Elementary – Bellevue, WA
    00:00:12 STACY BREWER: So I wanted to give my students ways to share their thinking and one strategy I used was giving them a Post-It to record that thinking so that when it came time to actually discussing the text, they had evidence or remembered what it was that they were thinking when they read. TEXT:
    Post-it: That would be very hard to cross that many miles.
    00:00:32 GIRL: On page, well no, it’s page 639, I predicted that the Shoshone Tribe will try to find Clark and the rest of the crew, and my prediction became true. TEXT:
    Post-it: I predict that the Shoshone tribe will find Clark and the rest of the crew. (pg. 639)
    00:00:43 STACY BREWER: My favorite thing about the Post-Its is that it honors their thinking and it helps them to remember what it is that stood out to them. TEXT:
    Post-it: I was surprised that it took 24 days to go around the waterfalls (637). I saw Niagara falls, but they weren’t as big.
    Post-it: I know that here in WA it rains a lot in November, so I think that the same thing happened to Lewis and Clark crew.
    00:00:53 BOY: I said that the Cross of Discovery had…
    00:00:58 STACY BREWER: I talk to the students about how sometimes, we have this great thought and then we move onto the next thing and we already forgot what we were thinking. So a Post-It is a way of kind of holding on to that thinking and we can even put it right in the book.
    00:01:12 GIRL: Oh, on page 638, it said that carrying her baby boy on her back, Sacajawea won the admiration of the crew. She carefully scanned the riverbank to find edible fruit roots, and fruit.
    00:01:23 STACY BREWER: What I like about the Post-It is that it helps them feel prepared for the discussion and that it gives them a record of something that they might be able to share with the whole group. TEXT:
    Post-it: I was surprised it took them more than 8,000 miles to come back. (pg. 643)
    Tch Teaching Channel

School Details

Stevenson Elementary School
14220 Ne 8th St
Bellevue WA 98007
Population: 495

Data Provided By:



Stacy Brewer


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