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Lesson 2.2.5: Chain Notes


  1. At the onset of class, students are given index cards and told that when the large envelop reaches them, they are to take one to two minutes to answer the question written on the envelope. Ask for quick, honest and anonymous answers.
  2. Sample questions might include the following:
    • Before this reached you, what were you paying attention to?
    • Before this reached you, what were you learning?
    • Before this reached you, what were you doing? (A pertinent question in a "hands-on" class such as a computer class or lab.)
  3. A large envelope is then passed around during class on which the teacher has written one question.
    Make sure the students can answer the question quickly and that it is focused. (See sample question above.)
  4. Upon receiving the envelope, the student has one to two minutes to reflect and answer the question on an index card.
  5. The index card is then dropped in the envelope and the envelope is passed on to the next student.
  6. After the class session has ended, categorize the data to detect patterns in responses.

    If their responses indicate that they are not paying attention, ask them for ways to increase their attention in class.


  1. It is beneficial when classes are large and their is little teacher-student contact.
  2. Responses are spontaneous.
  3. Input is from everyone.
  4. Feedback is more concrete and specific than it might be at the end of the semester.
  5. Because it is done during the semester, you are able to make changes to enhance the learning of the students currently in the class.


  1. Students may not appreciate the interruption.
  2. Students may be reluctant to answer honestly if they think the instructor can recognize their handwriting.


Angelo, Thomas A. and K. Patricia Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993. Print.

Lessons: Index, 1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 2.2.3, 2.2.4, 2.2.5, 2.2.6, 2.2.7, 2.2.8, 3, References

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