Sketchnoting in the Primary Grades
What is “Sketchnoting” your might be wondering? Sketchnoting is a visual way to take notes in class. This process utilizes both pictures and words to help the learner understand what is being taught. The biggest benefit to this technique is that by using pictures to enhance the written notes. The learner is able to tap into parts of the brain that are not typically accessed during traditional note taking when simply using words.
The third graders were fortunate to have Ms. Tarah Tesmer, one of the district’s valuable instructional coaches, come to our class to give us an introduction of this useful note-taking approach.
The students started by learning about the simple technique of drawing everyday figures, or sketches, by turning ordinary symbols (such as a line, dot, or circle) into a simple sketch. Students were amazed when they realized they were able to turn a line into a pencil or turn a square into a truck.
The teachers then challenged the students to begin creating their own icon library by drawing simple sketches on a page to be kept inside their binder for future reference. Children that complained that they “couldn’t draw” when we sat down to get started, were sketching beautiful, simple icons by the end of class!
Our next step in class is to incorporate this learning into our reading class. While this type of note-taking is usually useful while listening to a lesson, the third graders will be using this instead to help deepen understanding of what we read.. Since we are currently studying poetry in reading this month, we will be expressing our learning and character analysis by drawing sketches and icons to represent what we take away from the poems.
After analyzing some poetry, the students will continue to learn more about the sketchnoting process. We will practice drawing people in various positions and adding details to faces to express emotions.
Lastly, we will be adding words and important information in spaces referred to as “containers”.
This has been an excellent activity to keep the students engaged and focused during one of the most difficult times of the year...the week or two before the winter break!!