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Just Doodle It!

20 August 2012

I failed miserably last year when it came to having my students write and document their learning through their journals. I started the year strong with a daily writing prompt, but it became too much. I couldn’t find the time to write back to them the way I wanted, and my 50-minute classes didn’t afford us enough time to use them as well as we might have–or so I told myself. This year I planned to use the “learning logs” only with our third trimester book clubs. Now Royan Lee has changed all that.

Yesterday Royan shared “The Thinking Book” on his blog. I subscribe to Royan’s blog, but I first learned about the post from a tweet by John Spencer. The sketchbook photos Royan posted are remarkable and I expressed  that to John and Royan. This led to additional conversation and sharing on Twitter, and now I think I’m going to steal Royan’s “Thinking Book” idea for use with my own students.

Here are a few resources Royan uses that he shared with me:

  • RSA Animate videos – I have seen several of these and they are amazing, but I never really thought about using them to inspire the students to create their own sketchbooks. The drawings really make the messages of the videos come alive. Some of the topics may be too deep for many of my 6th graders (and their teacher) to follow, but I think the animation of Dan Pink’s Drive might be accessible and a good starting place. It could also spark a good conversation on motivation.

  • Sunni Brown’s TED Talk: Doodlers, Unite! – I had no idea that doodling could be so powerful. As a teacher, I was particularly struck by Brown’s statement that doodling “engages all four learning modalities simultaneously with the possibility of an emotional experience.” If that’s true, I would be wrong not only for discouraging students from doodling but also for not encouraging/teaching them to do so. I’m also wondering why I’m not more of a doodler myself.

  • Giulia Forsythe’s Work on Visual Practice – Giulia, whom I just started following on Twitter, has written about how the art of SketchNoting has helped her “stay focused and be a better listener.” I highly recommend checking out her Visual Practice post (linked above). In that post she shares a video about her own experience, a great SlideShare of her presentation “Drawing Conclusions,” several sample SketchNotes, and some links where you can learn more. Here’s a great example of one of Giulia’s sketches.

  • Coincidentally, my wife is introducing the concept of Zentangle to her elementary art students. I had never heard of Zentangle before yesterday, I found it interesting that both SketchNoting and Zentangle approaches focus on creativity and improve problem-solving. Here’s an example:

Pretty cool, huh? What are your perceptions of doodling? How do you respond when students doodle in class? Would you encourage more doodling knowing it might help your students learn? How would you incorporate it into the learning? My head is spinning. I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 21 August 2012 4:06 am

    Love it! Have you ever seen Mega Iranti’s reflective illustrations of our #pypchats?

    • 21 August 2012 10:39 am

      No, I had not seen them, but thank you for sharing. They are wonderful. I’m fascinated by these doodling ideas–and cannot wait to introduce my students to it. I just wish I knew better how to draw. :)


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