Sunday, September 6, 2009

Post-it Note Pilferage

My high school students on the whole place value on things that matter little to me: tennis shoes, video games, skateboards, etc. But there is one thing that for the past three years we end up nearly fighting over: sticky notes.

I occasionally give an assignment in which the students work in groups to place answers on sticky notes and put them on the board. (If they are finding the three types of irony in a story, I will have the board divided by the three types of irony and they will post the sticky note in the appropriate column.) I always buy very colorful sticky notes to make the exercise appealing. The first year that I did the exercise, I noticed that I wasn't getting back as many unused sticky notes as I thought I should. It turned out that the students were stashing away the unused sticky notes and I had to demand their return.

Well, I didn't really do the sticky note thing much last year, and by this year I guess I had forgotten about the hoarding issue. Last week I did my first sticky note exercise of the year, then moved on to something else. Later in class, one boy went to sign out for the bathroom. As he raised his arm to write, some bright pink sticky notes hit the floor.

"Where did those come from?" I asked.

"I dropped them," he said. I am guessing they had been stuffed in his pants waist or something.

"I need them back," I said. "Those are mine." Realizing this might be a class wide problem, I said to the whole class, "I need the unused sticky notes back. They are mine -- I bought them with my money."

There was a pause…then one student shuffled to my desk and laid down a stack of sticky notes. Another student followed suit, then another. The procession grew as stacks of sticky notes were dropped into my desk, creating a colorful assembly. It was like the accusers of the adulteress who dropped the stones and walked away -- all were guilty.

Normally, I am infuriated by low ethics, or assumptions of entitlement. But these were kids and the items, in their minds, were just little slips of paper -- irresistible ones apparently. (And at least they were being honest now.) I looked up at my aid and we both started laughing. I think I am going to try to find a way to invest in some sticky notes in bulk for the kids at Christmas.

7 comments:

Stace said...

That is great! I wonder what they use them for or if they just like the colorful paper! LOL

Barbara said...

HEIL, STICKY NOTES!!!

danderson27 said...

Life's just one big sticky note after another, huh?

Matt said...

Naomi, thanks for a great Labor Day morning read. Lol. To the trumpet!

Naomi said...

To the trumpet, because I talks about what she just know he does...

Dana said...

Naomi, you make my day! I loved reading this the first time! I have just re-read it and find it as amusing as the first!

Naomi said...

Thanks, Dana! You always make my day too. I wish you were still at the school.