Writing Long off Post-It Notes and Thanksgiving Mystery Pictures

I’m here to share a great lesson we did on expanding your thoughts and writing long off post-its. Before that, I want to share a quick update about my latest creation! My kids have been going crazy over my Halloween-Themed Coordinate Graph Mystery Pictures (see more HERE), so I thought I’d make a Thanksgiving version!

So many people have told me how much their kids love these, and I know my kids do as well! I will be creating them for all holidays, so stay tuned! For now, click HERE or the button below to check them out!

I have now differentiated each of my holiday Coordinate Graphing Mystery Pictures! There are three different versions of each pictures for students to complete. Every student in your class can be working on the same picture, but at their level! Check them out!

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Thanksgiving Coordinate Graphing Mystery Pictures by Kristine Nannini

Thanksgiving Coordinate Graph Mystery Picture by Kristine Nannini

Thanksgiving Coordinate Graph Mystery Pictures by Kristine Nannini

Now, back to my reading lesson! I shared our Good Readers Stop and Jot anchor chart last week. I typically wait to do this lesson until a little later in the year. The reason I do it later is because I like to wait until we have talked about comprehension strategies a bit more, but this year I decided to come out of the gate with it, and I am SO happy I did. I have always struggled to get kids to really expand on their reading through their writing. Pulling anything out of them via pencil and paper can be pretty painful. In the past, I tried so many different things, but this year I think I found the secret. I used our Good Readers Stop and Jot lesson and piggy backed off of that for a lesson I shall call, Good Readers Write Long off Sticky Notes.

I started this lesson by referring back to our anchor chart about stopping and jotting down thoughts we may have as we read. We created this anchor chart together earlier in the week.

I reminded them of all of the ways they could think about their books and encouraged them to not be limited to only those ideas. I then handed out three sticky notes to each student and read aloud the book Owl Moon. As I read the story aloud, I encouraged students to stop and jot their thinking, but then also modeled this for students throughout my read aloud in a softer “thinking voice”. You can see my sticky notes below.

I always tell my kids they don’t have to use their three sticky notes, because perhaps they don’t have three thoughts (lower readers may not). But, I am usually blown away when every kid does use all three and asks for more! 
When the book was finished, we posted our thinking post-it notes on the anchor chart.

Look at all that thinking! After a few days of practicing this strategy, we took it a step further and talked about stretching or expanding your thinking off of a post-it note. I modeled this by using the sticky notes I had created when reading Owl Moon.

Now, as you can see, my sticky notes are pretty involved. For teaching/modeling purposes I wrote a few things on one sticky note. But, as you can see, the purpose of the lesson is to get students to write about their thinking. By using this quick and easy “stop and jot” method, students are given help with their own notes.

To encourage students to expand on their thinking and reflect on their reading, I created this easy document to slip into students’ reading binders. It contains a box to stick their sticky notes and lines to the side to expand upon that individual sticky note. Click HERE to grab this freebie.

Here are some pictures of students practicing this strategy all week. The writing and reflecting has been phenomenal!


  1. Kristine, great thinking on the writing long for reading thoughts. I did something very similar last quarter–I used a sheet that basically looks the same except it had 6 blocks. Then, when kids fell into writing summaries in the boxes, I said “If you summarized that, you must have thought it was REALLY important. Tell me why you thought it was so important.” Then I placed a sticky note over that box and had them go back and record their thinking. My kids groaned when it was time to stop and I about fell out because they have resisted write about reading and sticky-noting up until this point. What I loved about it was that I made the simplest graphic organizer for their thoughts (so embarrassed to show it to my PLC) but I got great thoughts out of it…interesting. Someone commented that the small size wasn’t intimidating to them like a whole sheet of paper would be.

  2. I love this!! I am a huge sticky-note-user…they are so enticing to the students. I LOVE that second step of using the graphic organizer. Thank you!!!

  3. Thanks ladies!! Isn’t it amazing that we may think our ideas are the simplest, most easy cheesy ideas, yet it is those ideas that make the most profound impact on our students!! :)

    @Tamaralynn- GREAT IDEAS!! I love your blog! :)

  4. What a wonderful idea!
    I will be adding your post-it note idea to my (seemingly ever-growing) list of ideas to implement ASAP!

    Hi there!
    I’ve never heard of Glogster.edu but I will certainly be checking it out! I’m always looking for ways to get kids talking about books – and this sounds like a wonderful option!

    By the way, the reason I stopped by your site is to tell you that I have “boo’d” you! Stop by my blog and see – and then “boo” someone else! :)

  5. I use sticky notes everyday for everything! The kids love using them! We stop and jot too and then use those notes to turn and talk. It is the perfect way to quickly assess what they are thinking. Thanks for sharing your ideas!
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

  6. I really love the sticky note idea…and having the space to then elaborate on their thinking later on is a great idea. Definitely incorporating that into my room when we get back in January.

    Teaching in Room 6

  7. Bubble Toes says:

    I absolutely love the post it idea! we have been really focusing on having student track their thinking and I absolutely love your simple organizer you created! great idea and example!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Could you post your Sticky Note sheets on your teacher pay teachers store?

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