It’s Great to Be Sketchy!

#SOL16 Day 26Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 5.11.16 PM

Let’s face it, we are living in a digital world.  I am almost never far from some device that keeps me connected, organized, engaged.  For years I would attend conferences, workshops, or classes with my laptop or iPad helping me to take copious notes.  While I was able to capture a lot of what was said or presented, I wasn’t truly processing it in the moment, I was simply scribing.  I would leave with my fingers aching, my mind racing, and often an overload of information.  Then I would need to find time to read back through my notes and pull out the big ideas I’d like to incorporate into my teaching.

Then I started noticing the emergence of sketchnotes popping up on Twitter. In an instant I could see what the “big ideas” were for these educators. I was intrigued.  I used my digital world resources to explore these medium of note taking. There were dozens of websites and hundreds of examples.  I ordered Mike Rohde’s The Sketchnote Handbook and I was hooked!

I haven’t totally given up my devices, but I have started to use them to help me think more visually about ideas rather than verbally!  I snap photos with my phone of presenter slides rather than try to copy them down. I try to sketch out relationships or salient points that I think will be relevant for ME rather than everything that is being shared. The act of drawing/sketching  is like a meditation on an idea.

I also use my devices to share out my thinking.  I will tweet an important idea (sometimes with an image of my sketchnote page) and then I have my big ideas recorded on my Twitter feed-often with a comment from another teacher. I will follow a #hashtag after the session to see what big ideas surfaced for others.  I haven’t given up ONE format for ANOTHER completely.  I am learning to merge the tools that I think can help me best to integrate new thinking and learning into my schema.

I know I’ll revisit this topic in future blogs as consider how this might work for our students as well.  Some of the biggest slices of my life involve reflection on my practice. This has certainly been some new learning for me. I’m finding it fun and fascinating to be a little “sketchy”!

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14 thoughts on “It’s Great to Be Sketchy!

  1. I’m pushing myself to take notes in a different way too. It’s difficult to transition out of the “scribe everything” type of note taking. This slice was just what I needed! Do you think the book has helped you?

  2. Thank you for sharing your notebook with the great examples! I would like to try this and will certainly be reading more about it. I’m wondering if I could think that quickly in terms of big ideas as I listen and take notes, but I’m willing to give it a try.

    1. I will say it takes a little practice. If there are handouts or slides it can help to prioritize and organize your thinking. It definitely challenges your brain to contemplate information in new and meaningful ways!

  3. I encourage my children to draw as often as they can. Then I forget I need to practice what I preach! Thanks for the reminder.

  4. This is really fun! You’re right is okay to be sketchy and you’re notes look awesome. I’m going to check out the book now. Thanks for sharing! 📓🖊

  5. Very interesting. I’m not artistic but I’ll check out the books you mentioned. I imagine when you go back to “sketches” rather than “notes”, it is more meaningful. Thanks, Paula.

  6. This is great! I’m always so intrigued by the sketcnotes I see, but struggle with the how of starting them myself! I’ve started reading The Doodle Revolution, but will need to check out the Sketchnote Handbook you referenced.

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