Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sketchnoting in 4 Simple Steps

From The Doodle Revolution, Chapter 1
Sketchnoting, or visual note taking, is a hot trend in education right now! Do a Twitter search for #sketchnote and you'll find people around the world proudly sharing their creations. The thing I love about it is that there is no wrong way to sketchnote. As I work with more and more students, introducing this new kind of note taking, I'm finding that even the ones that don't rate themselves as good artists, still find something fun and interesting about the process.

Sunni Brown, author of The Doodle Revolution, redefines doodle as "spontaneous marks to help yourself think." In her book she writes about how doodling accommodates every learning style and has the ability to transform our thinking. Visual language is native to all of us. If we provide students with opportunities to practice with fluency, we're honing a skill that promotes creativity, problem solving and innovation.

In less than a year of sketchnoting I definitely don't call myself an artist. Nonetheless, as my visual library continues to grow, when I listen to speakers, I focus more intently and find myself making quicker connections in understanding the bigger, sketchnote-worthy ideas.

If you want to sketchnote with your students, I like to follow the advice of Doug Neill, from the Verbal to Visual YouTube channel: How to Structure a Sketchnoting Practice Session.

  1. Warm-up: Give students at least 2 minutes of stress free doodling. They should only draw or scribble anything that they would consider simple or easy, like shapes, lines, stick figures, or images that they have drawn before. 
  2.  Practice: Lead students in a practice drawing session. I recommend having students fold their paper in 4 while guiding them in practicing fonts, icons, emotions, and people. Another option would be to give students 10-15 minutes to explore drawing videos, or books (like those Ed Emberley books I collected when I was a kid!) 
  3. Apply: With the brain already in a creative mode, they are now ready to apply their skills to a reading, video, podcast, or lecture. If you want to start simple, have them read a passage, then select and sketch an important quote. You will be amazed by the synthesis of ideas drawn on each page. 
  4. Reflect: Have students share their work and reflect on the process. 
*Here's a great tip: If students are using paper and you are looking for a way to digitize their sketchnotes, try using Seesaw to have them take a picture of their work. The magic happens when you ask them to explain and record their thinking. 

You can find my Sketchnoting with Students presentation at: Feel free to modify and use the slides in any way! Happy Sketchnoting!