I am SO SO SO excited to announce that Stick Together Products, LLC has partnered with me to create a new Stick Together Kit featuring my “Stand Together Against Injustice” graphic art! To celebrate the launching of this Stick Together Kit (pre-order / purchase here!) I thought I’d write a blog about how popular Stick Together mosaics are in my school library!
What Do My Students Think?
“It’s something to get your mind off of school work. It’s a nice time to talk to friends.”
“It’s nice to focus on something calming and super rewarding to see it come together.”
“It’s calming and lets us clear our minds by focusing on one thing.”
What Is Stick Together?
Stick Together Kits are an excellent social-collaborative activity. It is just like a “paint-by-number” but instead of paint it is stickers! Basically there are a bunch of different designs to choose from (hint, hint: like the AWESOME Stand Together Against Injustice graphic seen above) and the company tends to add new designs pretty regularly. It comes as a large white poster-like sheet that has a grid outlined on it. Each square in the grid has a letter.
Participants use the color key to see which color corresponds to each letter and places a colored sticker over it. Repeat until the image is completed, leaving you with a vibrant poster. The end product makes for incredibly beautiful wall art. I hang all the completed ones up in our library, which is really helping to transform our previously stark white library into something much more welcoming, whimsical, and inspiring.
Why Stick Together?
I started buying Stick Together Kits for my library a couple of years ago. Our school, like so many others, has noticed a steady increase in cases of student anxiety, stress, and social disconnection. In response to this, I wanted to establish the library as a place where students could come to “unplug,” from academics, stress, technology, etc. I started looking for activities I could add to the library that would encourage students:
- to relax,
- to connect with each other (social-collaboration),
- to work together towards common goals,
- to get creative,
- to put down their phones/devices,
- and to build community.
I added things like community coloring posters, puzzles, board games, etc. And then I discovered Stick Together Kits.
And wow was I blown away! I purchased one, thinking “oh why not give this a try.” It seemed like this activity pretty much hit all of my goals for bringing in activities that stimulate social-collaboration and connectivity.
I had initially thought it might be geared more towards younger students since I had seen elementary and middle school libraries use them, but I figured I’d try one with my high school students and see if they liked it. Looking back on that makes me laugh because my students took to these Stick Together’s like a fish takes to water.
My students. absolutely. LOVE. them! Seriously, I had to start rationing the stickers by only putting a few out each day because my students finish them in just a couple of hours if I put all of the stickers out at once! Now we do at least one Stick Together each month at our library. They continue to be as popular with my students as the first one was. This year I was even able to secure a foundation grant to help me purchase more Stick Together kits for our library.
Why My Students Love Stick Together
When I put the Stick Together out I don’t let students know what the end image will be. They love being able to guess at what it will be as the image starts to come together. Students started writing their guesses on one of our white boards and getting to see everyone’s guesses adds another level of collaboration and inquiry to the activity, which is so awesome.
The Stick Together activity gives students a chance and a reason to settle around a table together, put down their devices, and to work collaboratively on a common goal. The other areas of their lives can tend towards the competitive or the individual (academics, sports, scholarships, jobs, sibling rivalry) so having a low-key and no-stakes excuse to work together on something is actually not the kind of thing that our students have a lot of chances for, especially as they grow older. Stick Together kits, and other social-collaborative activities, are one of the wonderful resources libraries can offer to promote connection and collaboration.
The Ease & Relaxation
Its a simple, easy, “anyone can do it” type of activity. There is no learning curve. You don’t need to be trained on how to do it. You don’t need to read directions. It does not matter what language you speak, how busy you are, or how strong of a reader you are. This is the kind of activity that anyone can do. That level of ease is something that our over-scheduled, overly anxious, overly stressed kids need. The fact that this activity has no stress, no learning curve, no barriers makes it extremely popular with all of our students regardless of their age, grade, gender identity, language, ability, etc.
The Stick Together kits bring with it a wonderful sense of satisfaction for our students. You start with a blank sheet of paper, and end with a beautiful and vibrant poster. The fact that putting it together was a group activity builds a further sense of satisfaction. Students can see something created by many different hands, which they had a part in. This is a great moment of community building and connectivity. When the poster is completed and hung up in the library, students can see they have ownership of the space. They can see that over the course of a couple weeks this poster came together because of a group effort. It boosts morale, community, and a sense of belonging to take part in a community.
Stand Together Against Injustice Stick Together
A couple of weeks ago I designed a graphic for libraries to use to show support of Black Lives Matter and LGBTQIA+ Pride. I shared this graphic across social media so that any library or librarian could reuse the graphic non-commercially. I thought the graphic would make an excellent Stick Together for my students, so I reached out to Stick Together Products, LLC to see if I would be able to create a single custom Sticker Together for my library. They reached out to me to see if I would instead be interested in working with them to have it manufactured and sold so that anyone who wanted it would be able to get it, and at a much better price than the single custom one would have been.
I love, love, love, LOVE the idea of this Stick Together being used in libraries across the country (maybe the world even, how cool would that be?). I love the idea that it might be purchased by libraries and non-libraries and show up in daycare centers, classrooms, libraries, summer camps, faith groups, parties, college dorms, PRIDE events, and who knows where else?
** Please note that if you are not a library, the part of the poster that mentions libraries can be easily trimmed off the poster. That part is not stickers, it is just paper with text on it. **
I am so, so excited to announce that the Stand Together Against Injustice Stick Together is now available for pre-order.
Please note that a portion of each sale goes towards the nonprofit Teaching Tolerance, which is a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Both Stick Together Products, LLC and I believed it was very important, critical actually, that the sale of this item actively benefit a nonprofit that works towards equity & antiracism, and I am so happy that we chose Teaching Tolerance. This organization does incredible work, and offers services, PD, and information that everyone can benefit from.