Sketchnotes: why they belong in the classroom

The reasons for sketchnotes are all about making the students’ level of real understanding clear to the educator, student/educator opportunities, and automating the process of hearing/understanding/retelling/review… And if you do it right they just think they are making something cool (shhh, dont tell em.)

Assuming the students have been offered proper prior instruction on how to use sketchnotes as a learning tool, which will be discussed in later in this blog, they can be a very useful tool when it comes to being able to tell if each individual student in your class has an understanding of the information which you’re trying to teach them. The reason that it works this way is because the students that don’t comprehend the information that they’re being offered have nowhere to hide when they’re asked to turn that information into a visual. On a normal day of note-taking they would be able to listen out for people’s last names and things like that and use those as there “note-taking,” but this is not the case on a day when they are expected to create sketchnotes.

You look for signs in students in order to determine who has and has not got a grasp of the information. Then, the class divides itself into two neat groups very useful for the educator. These two groups, which happen automatically, are the groups of people who are completing nice sketchnotes and who have their minds wrapped around the objective of the day, whatever the objective learning happens to be. The other group is the group of people who are very obviously struggling to come up with any sort of content in order to make it into something visually interesting. For example, if you were using sketchnotes in the form of a history lesson in which they needed to draw a comic strip of the events they had learned about, half of your students would be drawing comic strips and getting the information across where as the other half would be wasting time drawing boxes because they had no information to put into the squares.

This is the perfect time to send your group of students who are understanding your objective already out to small groups of students who do not understand armed with their half-completed sketchnotes and have them finish completing them with the small group and have them all complete them together. This creates the aforementioned student/teacher connection opportunity in which both students will wind up better off ,either through being reinstructed, or by actually teaching it.

All this overlooks the most important thing of all, how dope everything looks that they take home with them!! and the fact that they’re actually going to take notes with information a teacher tried to teach them over the course of the day and they’re going to take it around to other students and show off the artwork that they created. Thr one that also has secretly hidden inside of these awesome drawings… all of the things that you were trying to teach them, and they brag about them, they go back and they work on them. The whole while they THINK they’re just making an awesome thing,but we see that they’re making an awesome thing and they’re showing off their artwork, BUT the information is there getting passed around too.

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Well I hope this is enough to at least peak your interest in sketchnotes for your classroom.

D.D.