Getting Your Own Notepad

Goal: For students to feel a sense of ownership of their own personal creative space. 

Getting Your Own Notepad
  • Intro

Getting Your Own Notepad

Contributed by David DelGrasso


For students to feel a sense of ownership of their own personal creative space. 


  • Teaching Artists gives each student a notepad.
  • To personalize it, they ask students to think of a silly word, and write that word on the back of their notepad.
  • Teaching Artist establishes that these notepads are for doodling, taking notes, making a flipbook, etc. throughout the workshop

Transition into Activity

TA can begin by showing students examples of a personalized notepad and then distributing students’ their own notepads.

Transition out of Activity

To transition out, TA can have a student collect all of the notepads and put them in a predetermined place so that students know where to go to get their notebooks at the start of each class. This way this becomes part of the ritual of the residency.

Classroom Arrangement

Students can work in their seats or if it’s available/more comfortable, students can work on the floor in the meeting area.

Supports/Adaptive Materials/Tools

  • If students are non-verbal, TA might want to invite students to draw/doodle their responses. TA might also have pre-cut shapes and images available for students to glue on to their notepads.
  • ACCOMMODATION: If there might be pressure to come up with a silly word, the group could brainstorm examples that are scribed as potential ideas. If students need the activity to be more scaffolded, TA might give students time to come up with a word on their own and then turn and share with a partner. Some students might need to write their word down on a separate piece of paper to practice before adding it to their notepad.
  • ACCOMMODATION: If students will want to share the silly word they wrote before proceeding, a turn and share may help them feel like their choice has been seen, and make for a smoother transition to the next step.
  • TIP: This could also be a chance to establish parameters around whether or not actions like doodling or note-taking are allowed at any time during the workshop or residency, or if there will be clear moments when it is time to do so.

Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals

  • Help to distribute notepads.
  • If needed, pre-write student names on the notepads.
  • Work with individual students who need support in coming up with and/or writing their chosen word.

Remote Adaptation

If it’s available, TAs can work with classroom professionals to have notepads mailed to students, and the activity can be led in the same way. A TA could also lead students through creating their own notebook using paper and scrap-paper they have at home. TA could also lead students through creating a digital “notepad” using google docs or google slides that students can personalize and keep adding to throughout the residency.


5-10 mins