Notes Make a Difference!

Writing complimentary notes for students will make everyone’s day, it’s a win/win all round!


How can you provide feedback to your students to show your appreciation of their efforts?

How can you praise their social skills?

How can you get them to begin working when they seem reluctant to start.


Try This:

As your students are working wander about writing and handing out notes.

Your students will appreciate a note from you.

Your students will appreciate a note from you.

Place the note on the table where they are working and continue to roam the classroom.


  • Presenting a student with a note that contains a positive response is very powerful, the responses are magic!
  • You will see students fill with pride as they read the note. They might make eye contact with you and nod or smile back and you return the same response.
  • Often they nudge the person next to then and show the note.
  • You will see the note placed carefully back on their desk where they can see it as they work.
  • At the end of the session you might see the student take the note and put it in their school bag or slide it in their pocket for later use.
  • It is hard to say who gets the biggest buzz, you or them. It is genuine and real and worth the effort.


I like the way you have organized yourself. (You can add a smiley face and a thank you)

I can see you are doing some effective thinking.

You are a real asset to our class team.

What great persistence skills you have.

I like the way you and your partner are using cooperation skills, well done.

You are certainly using your confidence skills to tackle this task – I am so pleased.

I like your work, or a smiley face for the students who may not be great readers.


The Learning and Life Tips make great feedback comments.


I notice you are being very adaptable today sitting in a new spot.

That’s tough stuff you are doing and you are nailing it. Yahoo!

I like the way you make great choices and worthwhile decisions.

Great stuff, you are ‘growing your mind today’ Look at that amazing concept chart you are producing.

 The note can be feedback re the work achieved or social skills comments.


  • Write as many notes as you want.
  • Take the time to write a note, it’s worth the effort!
  •  Write notes whenever you see a need for motivation or positive feedback.
  • Have a supply of sticky notes or use scrap paper cut into squares or coloured scrap paper.
  • Students are happy to receive a note any way it is provided.
  • Any time is a good time to use notes. The notes are very effective during a difficult task, students are flagging, having difficulty getting settled, group or partner work, you will know when to use them – teacher’s intuition.

Ideas – Using the Note to Motivate:

Use notes to get some students started. You know the ones, they are ‘fluffing about’, barely started, doing nothing, socially chatting to others.  Leave the note with them!

Please get yourself organised now, it’s important to nail this work. (Adding a smiley face shows the students that you are giving them a friendly reminder)

Time waits for no one! (That makes them think!) 

 Do what you need to do to get started please. 

  •  Keep watching so you can walk past and show or leave a ‘Thank You ’ note when they make a start.
  • It may be they have just got out their book, their pencil case, written a heading, that’s enough for a ‘thank you’ note. Students will keep going because a positive remark makes them feel good, releases some endorphins and they will ‘keep on keeping on’.
  • The Grandma Technique work wells as a followup.
  • Write another note at the end of the session for the student who has made a big effort even if they didn’t finish.

 Make a Selection of Positive Signs:

Write a few signs on A4 paper to use during a session. As you roam tap the shoulder of the student your want to acknowledge and show them the sign.

Make them general statements so you can use them with all the students.

Great organisational skills, thank you.

Your group is focused and productive, well done.

I like the way you persist with a task.

Thank you for starting your work.

 Has someone ever left you a positive note? Remember the great feeling you had after reading it, that’s how your students will feel when you present them with a little note.

Dr. Helen Street – Positive School Conference, Melbourne, 2015   ‘Focus on the immediate benefits of positive actions’.

Writing notes is a positive action and will give you and your students immediate benefits.feather_correct