Jun 24, 2020 - 2 min read - 473 views

"Doodle" style notes

What are they and how can I get them?

A few years ago I started seeing a new to me style of notes on teacher pages I was following. Some call them sketch notes others say doodle notes. When utilized correctly, this style of notes is transformative for your direct instruction impact.

The idea behind these types of notes is integrating appropriate graphics, pops of word art, and appealing layouts to your traditional guided notes and therefore elevating the students learning experience by helping them more deeply understand the concepts you teach. Now, these take a LONG time to make, so I would recommend first searching for the amazing ones already created (shamelessly plugging my Teachers Pay Teachers store here).

When I started searching for these online, I was blown away by the creativity and talent other educators had. Like seriously amazing! The problem was that I could never find notes that were just right. Imagine Goldilocks and the quest for the perfect doodle notes. Often some I found were adorable but were filled with too much fluff being designed for lower-level students or more often, the content had either a few gaps or was too much for my students level and my curriculum. You will likely run into the same situation when browsing to find yours, but sometimes you find the perfect match (pick me!)

How to teach with Doodle Style Notes

I am sure there are so many ways to teach with these notes, but of course, I use INB's with my students. So my "Doodle" style notes are printed out as 1/2 sheets and glued into my students INB's in their Cornell-ish notes pages.

So Doodle notes made me switch my teaching style from presenting the vocab and concepts in a traditional presentation to storytelling. I will sometimes still use a presentation with extra pictures or material to supplement the concepts, but I have created the images in the notes to help with the learning so it isn't always necessary. Mostly I present the "completed" version of the notes so I can point out sections and explain the doodles. For instruction, I walk around and talk about a section of the notes referencing the doodled images and encouraging students to add pops of color or emphasis on words or diagrams. Students love adding their unique touches to their notes and really feel like they are creating their personal textbooks.

I have multiple versions of my notes to facilitate differentiated instruction. Blank for students who know how to listen and extract important information, guided with a lot of empty spaces, and guided with only select words for students to listen for and fill in. Classes will use the appropriate version based on their ability levels, class dynamics, and time I have to get through.

One of the additional benefits of using doodle notes that I did not even anticipate is that when students are absent, I can give them the filled-in version of the notes and between the notes and the pictures they have an easier time understanding the concepts they missed and catching up! Win!