This past week I attended the Literacy for All Conference in Providence, Rhode Island with the literacy specialists from my district. It was wonderful to go with a group of passionate peeps so we could discuss we we heard and learned. Again I used sketchnoting as a way to capture the big ideas from presentations and encourage me to revisit my thinking, as I revised with colors and doodles.
Sketchnotes from Donalyn Miller’s Keynote Address
Sketchnotes from Katie Cunningham and Jodi Falk’s Joyful PD Session
While I value my own personal sketchnotes and enjoy sharing them with others, something even more important came from this approach. One of the other literacy specialists began to experiment with this practice and shared her notes with me. Erika told me as she was sitting in a session, a woman was observing her doodling and asked, “Do you know Paula Bourque?” Erika chuckled and let her know that we work together.
When she returned to her school, Erika shared her notes with her para-professional colleagues and we had a discussion about how this approach could benefit the Title I students they serve. We talked about how it can be intimidating to see more polished and practiced sketchnotes, but Erika assured them that her initial attempts were quite simple- and as we looked at them, we could see the quick progress that can be made with intentional practice.
Erika’s sketchnote samples over a three day period.
Erika and I shared how this approach can actually change the way you think about information you are processing. She talked about how she was worried at first that she couldn’t sketch and listen, but found that with a little practice, those concerns were ameliorated. Erika took her notes to a far more artistic level than I use, and that is part of the joy that is sketchnoting–it is individualized, creative, and generative.
So whether you will be attending a conference, participating in PD, reading a text, or listening to a podcast- grab a pen and paper and start doodling. See where it takes you. That’s a form of Literacy for All that I will continue to advocate for.
One More Off My TBR Stack!
AN UNINTERRUPTED VIEW OF THE SKY by Melanie Crowder
How is there so much I’ve never heard about in our world’s history? I am fascinated by the people and places that I know so little about-especially the indigenous people who are often unfairly marginalized. Melanie Crowder’s novel is set in Bolivia in 1999. Francisco lives with his sister, Pilar and his parents. He’s in his final year of school and has little ambition. Then his father is arrested on false charges and sent to prison, his mother realizes she cannot support the family alone, so abandons them. Francisco and Pilar have no where to go other than to live at the prison with their father. They realize prisoners have to pay for their cells and their food. They cannot afford a lawyer to plead their father’s case. All seems lost. Somehow Francisco must find a way to help his family, and another desperate girl trying to survive in the men’s prison. He begins to appreciate the gifts he had in life-and still has. I love this story and the beautiful prose and poetry that bring it to life. A Maine Student Book Award (MSBA) 2018-19 nominee for older readers.