As you’re going through your child’s school work, do you notice the margins of their notes are filled with doodles? Drawings, phases, shapes, squiggly lines that lead to nowhere? Before you jump on your child about needing to spend more time focusing on the lesson and less time drawing arrows and stars all over the page, consider the meaning behind some of the most common academic artwork.
Arrows- If you see arrows pointing here, there and everywhere on a page of notes, your “doodler” is focused. Maybe not on the math lesson, but definitely focused. Sharp pointed arrows are signs of a sub conscious, yet concrete and defined goal or target the student has in mind. If the arrows are more fluid and all over the place, the target may be something more emotional or driven by the heart.
Faces- if the margins of your child’s math notes is covered in drawings of faces, pay close attention to the expression on the faces. The expressions are a good indicator of how the “artist” is feeling at that moment. Sad or angry faces could mean the student is feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Happy and excited faces could mean the student is confident with the material.
Stars- We’ve all walked out of class and looked down at our paper and realized it is literally covered in little stars. Stars are one of those things that are so easy and mindless to draw, and it is easy to get carried away. One big, detailed star traced over and over again can symbolize one very definitive goal that the artist is focused on, while many small asymmetric stars can symbolize optimism and a busy mind full of goals and ideas
Initials/Name: Most of the time, when a student doodles the name of someone else all over the paper, they are clearly thinking of this person regularly. This could be a romantic relationship, or just someone who they are worried about/ thinking about and it is consuming their brain space.
Boxes/Squares- A margin full of squares indicated the desire to be in control, to have everything in one place where you can deal with it in a way that works the best for you. If the squares transform into three-dimensional cubes, this symbolizes a lot of analytical thinking and the ability to handle difficult situations with ease.
The brain is still working when it is doodling, and many students absorb more information when their hands are busy doing something else. Try not to automatically assume that just because their paper looks like abstract art piece that there isn’t learning going on. Knowing what the doodles mean could help you peak into how your child is processing the information they are receiving in class, as well as their overall mindset during the school day.