Getting Sketchy at Literacy for All

Last weekend I participated in the Literacy for All Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. Organized by Lesley University in collaboration with the University of Maine and the University of Connecticut, there were more than 100 workshops available to educators.  I was a featured speaker who presented 3 of those workshops, so I was a little more limited on what I could attend, but I wanted to make the most of my time at this fantastic conference.

I was able to see keynotes by Kelly Gallagher and Stephanie Harvey and featured sessions by Penny KittleKate Roberts, and Georgia Heard. I left inspired and energized by their advocacy and passion for literacy.  You can check out my Google Album of photos from these sessions. Don’t pass up a chance to hear them speak if you can!

This is the third year I’ve been using Sketchnotes to capture the big ideas and take aways that I want to return to and reflect on more deeply when I attend conferences.  Before that I would take copious notes, but rarely revisited them-also the act of trying to capture everything verbatim was an exercise in memory control and not in visualizing and conceptualizing what the speakers were saying.

Now, as I hear speakers present ideas, I am visualizing their essence and quickly sketching images or jotting phrases. I think about how ideas connect and build on each other. Instead of a linear set of notes I have a more dynamic collection of take aways. I know that if I want more information I can read their books and visit their websites. I don’t feel the pressure to capture it all.

You can see my collection of sketchnotes from the conference in this Google Album.

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Paula’s Sketchnotes from Literacy for All Oct. 21-23, 2017

Each year I see many more teachers taking visual notes (aka Sketchnotes) at conferences.  I am excited that they are finding this approach to be a helpful way to process the information in a personalized way.  Perhaps I will ask others if I can share some of their sketchnotes in future blog posts. If you use Sketchnotes, drop me a line!


Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.42.51 AM.pngINSIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF A CACTUS by Dusti Bowling

Middle school is hard enough, but imagine trying to make your way with no arms, or with debilitating Tourette’s Syndrome. Top that with moving to a new school in the middle of the desert. That’s the situation for Aven, an amazing girl who just happened to be born without arms and her friend , Connor, with uncontrollable tics. Together with their new friend Zion they form a friendship that helps them solve mysteries, take risks, and feel accepted. I just couldn’t put this book down! If you are looking for books that encourage empathy and compassion, that have strong characters who just happen to have disabilities, and want an engaging plot to pull in readers-you NEED this book in your classroom!




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