Tuesday 8 November 2016


Today, I had the honour of supporting Debbie Donskey in a talk about Sketchnoting to Principals in my district.

I am new(ish) to Sketchnoting but I love it.  Here is why:
  1. It exercises a different part of my brain.  This article has great links to all the mental benefits of art including stress relief and increase in critical thinking skills.
  2. I pay better attention.  Studies have shown that when you doodle, you don't daydream.  I would build on that by saying when I Sketchnote, I don't multitask.  I don't feel compelled to check my e-mail, or twitter, or talk to my neighbour.  I become immersed.
  3. I remember more than when I take notes on my computer.   This is not a new idea.  Studies in the last few years have shown that "those who took longhand notes outperformed laptop participants... [Since] longhand notes contain students’ own words and handwriting, they may serve as more effective memory cues by recreating the context (e.g., thought processes, emotions, conclusions) as well as content (e.g., individual facts) from the original learning session".
  4. It perks curiosity & encourages discussion.  I love pulling out my markers and putting them on the table - that moment I get the looks, before the questions.  I also love leaving my Sketchnotes around.  Recently, I left my notebook open on a counter at home.  My husband came in and started reading them and we engaged in a great discussion around reconciliation.  This would not have happened with regular point-form notes.
  5. It is personal.  Sketnoting makes my notes mine.   I don't feel bound when I Sketchnote.  I love this because as this article states: '[t]he most important function of...notes should be for the note-taker to recall and understand what was said. So it makes sense to allow [people] to take notes in a way that is meaningful to them". ()
Curious?  Want to give it a try?  Here are some tips & resources:
  1. Watch this playlist. It is (a short) one I compiled when I started Sketchnoting and it helped me understand how others framed their notes.  That said, realise that the notes need to be your own.  When I started, I felt I needed to include a certain colour code, certain shape, perfect little cartoon people and when I didn't I gave up for a while.
  2. Find web resources that speak to you.
    1. Canadian superstar teacher Sylvia Duckworth (who gave me a hug a few weeks ago) is a guru with a great site
    2. Kathy Schrock's phenomenal Sketchnoting website.
    3. Sketchnote Army has a blog and resources
    4. Vicky Davis, The Cool Cat Teacher has a great resource site
  3. Start slowly and in a low-risk environment.  I started Sketnoting while listening to audiobooks.  I found it was easier since I could pause, rewind, and take breaks.
  4. Remember you don't need to get all the information.  Capture what is important to you.  (See point 5 above.)

So I challenge you...try Sketchnoting this blog post - either your notes or reactions, take a picture and leave it in the comment section.

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