Help Students Review with Colorful Sticky Note Tags

I love this guest post from Addie Williams and I know you will too!

My students often struggle reviewing for a test or other type of formal assessment.  I think they get overwhelmed with all of the information that they are required to know and therefore don’t use their study time effectively.  This summer while browsing through an office supply store I saw a package of sticky notes with bright green, bright orange and bright pink stickies… I couldn’t resist it and threw it in my basket.  I immediately knew what I was going to use them for – test prep!!

When it’s time for students to review for an upcoming test or assessment I ask them to “tag” their work or review package with a color that represents their learning. (With younger students I would probably only use the green and pink stickies.)
 Green = I understand this concept really well.
Orange = I know the basics, but could use more review.
Pink = I need more practice and review.

Instead of a full sticky note (they can be expensive!) I give each student one sticky of each color and ask them to cut them into small strips.  They then have free reign to stick and tag their work as they see fit.

I like this review activity for a number of reasons:
– It’s a really powerful and visual tool for students to see their level of understanding. I’ve had students cover all of their work in bright pink stickies which sends a very strong message that they’ve got some work to do!
– I like the kinesthetic nature of the activity – students get to take a break and cut their stickies and then they have to decide where they’re going to put them.  The discussions that take place among the students is also valuable as they talk to each other about why they are putting a green sticky on one topic and a pink sticky on another.
– As I wander through my classroom I get a fantastic snapshot of where the students are with their understanding.  If I see that many students have a high number of pink stickies I may decide to postpone the test and focus on more review.  I can also note where the majority of students are placeing their pink stickies and then focus my review time on those concepts.
– When students take their work home for review and their parents ask about the sticky notes, they can have a valuable conversation about the importance of review and parents can better focus their help.

If you’re not able to use sticky notes, you could ask students to tag their work with highlighters or pencil crayons.  I think it’s important to use color, rather than symbols, as it has a much greater visual impact.  I’ve used this activity with students in many different grade levels and in many subject areas and it’s always been a useful tool for me and my students.  I hope you find the chance to implement this strategy in your classroom sometime this year!

If you’d like a printable classroom poster to help your students with this strategy (both color and b/w versions included) you can download a FREE copy from my TpT Store by clicking HERE.


Happy Reviewing!
TpT Store – Addie Williams
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