I LOVE Doodle Notes!


For the past four years I have been using interactive notebooks in my classes. My students glue all of their notes and other classwork type items into their spiral notebook. When I first started I was using tons of foldables and all of those foldables took a TON of time. Don’t get me wrong I love a good foldable, however, now I am more intentional about using them.

Enter the doodle notes. As I  was trying to find a way for my interactive notebooks to not be so time consuming (I wanted time consumed with content and not putting together items), I found doodle notes. Doodle notes are an engaging and visual way to take notes. Sometimes students are asked to draw diagrams with their notes and other times the diagrams are provided for them to color code.

Here is an example of the doodle notes that I used for Eclipses in my classroom. Notice it had fill in the blank portions, but the students also had to add to each diagram about lunar and solar eclipses. If you want to use these in your class – click the image – it is from another TpT author.


I love doodle notes because they really help my students retain the information. They are writing, color-coding and drawing as they learn new content. This has became a way for students to interact with their notes in an intentional way!

DO you use doodle notes in your classroom? Tell me about it in the comments below, and don’t miss my next post about the three ways I use doodle notes!

A “Rock”-ing Autobiography

Recently there has been a push to add more writing in all content areas. Being from an ELA background I have welcomed this with open arms. I love writing and being able to see the creativity of my students through their writing.

We just finished a unit over the rock cycle, and to close our unit I created an assignment. My students had to pretend they were a piece of sand at the bottom of a river and write about how they became a rock and went through the rock cycle. They had an option to write a story or create a comic strip. I am very impressed with what they came up with. I had some stories about the sediment floating by SpongeBob’s pineapple and others about the rock being crushed in Super-Mario.

Here are a couple of examples that I thought really displayed their understanding of the rock cycle!

Story Choice

Comic Choice

If you think you would like to use this in your classroom, I made a downloadable product on TeachersPayTeachers. Just click the picture below:

Rocking Autobiography - Rock Cycle Writing Task


Where do you grade papers?

With the start of a new year comes many new students for this teacher. I thought about it the other day, and for every year I have been teaching the number of students has went up. In China I started with around 60 students, and that went up to 80 in Mississippi. Then my first year back in Georgia it raised up to 100 students. This year I have almost 150. For me it is a huge learning curve in how to grade, what to grade, when to grade, etc.


I came home this weekend with two assignments to grade. One was a quiz, which students self-graded in class. Another was a writing assignment about “What is a Scientist?” I am sure most teachers who grade their papers find a comfy place in their home, perhaps around the kitchen table. However, I am not your typical teacher. This week my papers were graded at the drive-in movies under the light of the moon, meteors, and truck lights. I didn’t get them all done there, but it was nice to be productively relaxing.

SO my question to you is – Where do you grade your papers? Do you take them to exotic locales or stick to home/school?



Keep Calm We Passed the Test!!

So lately I have gotten some great data back from my kids. We use the STAR reading assessment to measure reading growth and I am happy to say that all my classes grew an average of 1.2 years. This is amazing for me as their teacher, but also for them as students. They entered my room being way below their grade level in reading so this gain, while not a fix all, is a giant step in the right direction.

Some people have asked me how we got to this point. I really point to building relationships with my students. I found out what they were interested in and tried to find them stuff to read based on that. It was not easy my students were very reluctant to read. I also gave incentives reading, so students could earn rewards for reading. Bottom line it comes down to knowing your students and what works for them.

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In other recent happenings, yesterday we celebrated the students who passed their state tests at proficient or advanced levels. We had about 46 students who scored proficient or advanced in our school (our school is small we have about 150 students). The trip was phenomenal!

Our first stop was Gattytown, which has laser tag, a huge arcade, and a pizza buffet. I really amped up laser-tag and told all my kids I was going to beat them! Thankfully I had a great team and we beat our team in laser tag by 800 points – Whoop Whoop!!


The trip did not stop after our laseriffic time at GattyTown. We departed, after a horrendous rain storm, and wen to the movies. My group decided to see Pitch Perfect 2. It was  the perfect movie to watch with my group of girls! We were singing and dancing in the theater (we were the only people in there). It was so much fun, because we got to share laughter!!

We ate dinner at Longhorn’s (I know, I was floored when I found out we were eatting there). It was fun to see our students react to being in a nicer restaurant. After dinner we headed back to the school, and go back rather late.

I am so glad that I got the opportunity to share these moments – rewarding our students for their successes – in my last few days at my school.

Tracking Reading Progress

I am so proud of my 6th graders. They are leading the school in meeting their reading goals. Recently I started tracking their progress based on the number of AR points they have earned. I have been amazed at the increase in performance just based on the public trackers. Students have even been asking when I will put up the new trackers.

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For my public AR Class Tracker I created ships and buoys. Each buoy has a point amount and the ships travel to a new buoy when the class AR point average goes up. This was so simple, but it has been very rewarding in class culture around reading.

What I LOVE about Valentines Day

This morning I woke up and I was thinking to myself about all the Valentines Day events I have had in my life. I was very excited because I just bought a new shirt that incorporates love, math and ELA!!

Last night we went to our churches Valentine’s Banquet. It was so wonderful to spend time with Jeff and other friends we have made during our time here. It also made me remember all the times in my life that my parents and grandparents made Valentines a special time.


Many people dislike Valentines Day as a commercial holiday or singles awareness day. For me, however, it has always been a day of love. A day when I feel very loved by all those who love me. In elementary school my granny would always send me a special stuffed animal to school. In middle-school, even at my most awkward stages, I could count on my mom to get me flowers. I even remember thinking every year that Daddy forgot Valentines only to find a box of chocolates waiting for me in my room. Yes, I realize that all of these circulate around gifts, but they were very special to me. So before you buy into the negativity surrounding the holiday, remember there is probably someone like me who just needs to feel loved on this the most love filled holiday!!

Today I was happy to share Valentines on Friday the 13th with my 6th and 7th graders. We made conversation heart poetry, wrote advice columns and created recipes for love potions all centered around what we learned in class. A few of my students and my husband even surprised me with some gifts. It has been a wonderful day!! Happy Valentines Everyone!!

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Modeling Poems After Gwendolyn Brooks

Today we looked at the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks and as a class we modeled poetry after her poem “We Real Cool.” Some of my students published their poem on their blog as well. You can find their blogs by clicking student blogs at the top of the page.


6A’s Poem

We real smart.We

don’t fart. We

pass gas. When

we out of class.

We make A’s. We

go all the way!

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6B’s Poem

We rule school. We

too cool. We

sit at school. We

obey the rules.

Sometimes it’s hard, but we

go Far!