I recently shared My Favorite Teaching Tool: The Sticky Note Planner with a group of instructional coaches, and they asked me what my favorite coaching tool would be. That is an easy question to answer! My favorite coaching tool is my collection of Sticky Note Anchor Charts.
We use anchor charts with students all the time to help create visuals of helpful information. The same thinking is what led me to start creating sticky note anchor charts. However, instead of building them on large chart paper and posting them in my office, these anchor charts are made on 8.5×11 cardstock and use sticky notes to create an organized information about a topic. They are kept in a disc-bound notebook system and I carry that notebook with me to meetings, professional learning, and classrooms. This makes the anchor charts easily accessible for all of my coaching conversations and professional learning opportunities.
Creating these coaching anchor charts can serve many different purposes. Here are a few ways I use sticky note anchor charts in my coaching practice.
- Leading Professional Learning – There are many different opportunities for coaches to lead professional learning. While sometimes it takes place in a large-group setting with a projector, other times it takes place in a team meeting or small group coaching session. Sticky-Note Anchor Charts can be built and used in these settings, without requiring the launching of an electronic presentation. Additionally, the sticky notes can be removed and used to build the anchor chart, one step at a time, to help keep participants focused on the topic you are talking about, rather than being distracted by other parts of the chart.
- Building a Coaching Toolkit – Working with adults in a coaching capacity requires that we have the right tool at the right moment for the teacher we are working with. A Coaching Toolkit helps put everything in one place. I keep my disc-bound notebook in my coaching tote so all of my anchor charts are organized and easily accessible to use during coaching conversations. I also include anchor charts that are specific to my coaching work (i.e., coaching stems, goal-setting protocols, reflection questions, assessment guidelines, etc.). This way, the anchor charts are available to me and can serve as a support for my growth within my coaching role.
- Facilitating My Own Learning – Using sticky note anchor charts has transformed the way I learn and share that learning with others. This tool has supported me in synthesizing information across a learning experience and then creating a visual which captures the most important ideas. I no longer feel the need to carry around my education books; instead, I have the most important information on a single-page anchor chart that I can share with those I am working with. This helps me to be specific and targeted with the information I share with others.
“I have the most important information on a single-page anchor chart that I can share…”
Getting started with Sticky Note Anchor Charts is easy! Grab some sticky notes, cardstock or paper, and some writing tools, and you’re ready to jump in.
- Think about something you’ve learned, something you talk a lot about, or something you want to support others in understanding.
- Jot down the most important ideas on each sticky note, with one idea on each note. Try to use the size of the sticky note as a guide of how much information you might include – the goal is to create easy-to-read visuals, and too much text does not meet this goal.
- Use smaller sticky notes for labels or smaller chunks of information.
- Move the sticky notes around until everything fits on your page.
Creating sticky note anchor charts has transformed the way I coach, learn, and lead, and my collection of anchor charts is definitely my favorite coaching tool.