TMC18 My Favorites: Making Relationships STICK

Blog revival!   On my honor, I will try, to prioritize my family, my work, my own professional development AND blog with more regularity.

My first TMC is in the books.  Twitter Math Camp, for those who are not yet a part of this fabulous community of math educators.  I hope to write a longer series of posts on how I learned and grew during these 5 days in Cleveland, but let me get this first post published before I start making grandiose plans for future posts.

One of my favorite parts of TMC was the time each day when we shared “My Favorites.”  So often, just hearing 5-10 minutes of a great idea was all the spark I needed to take an idea and run with it.  Mid-way through TMC I realized that I would really enjoy sharing one of my very favorite classroom management strategies…stickers.  It all started in 2012 when I read Sam Shah’s blog post on customized stickers.   WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA!  I found an online coupon and ordered up stickers, notepads and postcards for positive notes home, stealing many of Sam’s phrases from his stickers.

After I gave my favorite no, many of you asked to have copies of the stickers I use and to hear more about how I use them.  You are welcome to steal any of the phrases, and better yet, make up your own and share them with me as I need to spice up my deck this year.

There are four themes to my stickers: Individual Positive Recognition, Positive Group recognition, Growth Mindset, and Redirection for off-task behavior.  Using these stickers, for me, is an equity strategy.  While there are many facets to my classroom management, a few key core values are represented through how I use these stickers.

  1. I work very, very hard to never say aloud, in front of the whole class, the name of a kid who is off task.  I do a whole lot to support those students to re-engage, and am quite strict with my expectations and consequences.  However I believe that as much as possible, we should say students’ names in front of the class only for positive things.  One aspect of the district-wide equity work we have done is understanding what it means to be a ‘warm demander’ as developed in Dr. Lisa Delpit’s book Multiplication is for White People.  This aspect of how I use stickers is one, of many ways I have interpreted this idea as I continue to understand this notion more deeply.
  2. I know that students need space when they are upset about grades or not doing well on an assignment from class.  I am always there to support and help them, yet recognize that teens are often not ready for this the very minute they receive the bad news.
  3. I try to stay very aware of status issues in my classroom and especially like to use the positive stickers for students who need that positive recognition and may not be getting it publicly or from their peers.  I most often use the positive stickers for students who have struggled and persevered or those who started class irritated at something and turned things around.
  4. As I mentioned when I did My Favorites at TMC, I always hand out these stickers by silently walking over to a student (or a group of students), sticking one on the outside of their hand, and walking away.  It may be followed by a squeeze of the shoulder or making eye contact as I walk away, and I may pull them aside later for a hug, or a private conversation.  However in the moment, whether I am beaming with pride or really frustrated at how off task they are, my demeanor is the same and I simply stick the sticker on their hand.
  5. THEY LOVE THEM!!  THEY COME AFTER CLASS AND BEG FOR MORE.  EVEN SENIORS IN HIGH SCHOOL.  I try to keep them on their toes, never knowing what other phrases I have stashed away.  So I use these sparingly, and NEVER when someone asks to get one.
  6. I made them on VistaPrint and it’s really easy to find coupons online.  If you make-em, share them with me including what you learn by using them.  Screenshots of them all are below.


group work

growth mindsetredirection

notepad and post card


4 thoughts on “TMC18 My Favorites: Making Relationships STICK

  1. Hi Allison – I’m so glad to read your blog again. I love reading what you have to share, and though I don’t have a classroom currently, I am tucking these ideas away for the day that I do again. (And musing about how I tweak this to apply it my kids.) Keep writing!

  2. Pam: I so hope you teach again! I am returning to the classroom this fall after 5 years away. So Yes! Do it! Next summer I am hosting Twitter Math Camp in Berkeley. You should come and apply to present on the amazing work you’re doing with families around supporting kids’ growth in math.

  3. Pingback: Customized Sticky Notes and Stickers! | I Speak Math

  4. Pingback: Amplifying Awards – Functions Are Fun

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s