feeling sketchy?

What is Sketchnoting? This is today’s topic on my learning journey with my cohort the DocuMentors  with our in-house visit with Silvia Tolisano.

  • Is drawing and doodling a story with pictures?
  • Is it making my thoughts visible with symbols, pictures, arrows, ideas?
  • Could this be a way I have my students take notes to enhance their thoughts and learning about how math concepts are related?
  • Can I video/record the sketchnoting process (stop motion) to show my doodles and thoughts over time?
  • How will sketchnoting change my learning?
  • How will it change it and throw me to do something different?
  • How am I going to take my examples and practices of sketchnoting and use it to sketchnote for learning?

These questions are running through my head as we gear up to begin this new learning process.

Opening up and getting ready to begin my first Sketchnote using the Paper app.


Doodling has a profound effect on creative problem-solving and deep information processing. ~ Suni Brown

And I’m off…

On my third sketchnote…getting the hang of this..as we learn and “live” sketch…it’s hard…very hard… listening and sketching at the same time…

challenging my multi-tasking skills….

Let’s keep going….


so…here I am…

…look at everyone else…
They are doing so well! We are learning so much!

…but…how am I feeling…this is going on too long…I’m feeling very uninterested…not by my lack of artistic skills (Tip #1 You don’t need to be an artist)…but I’m starting to tune out and not enjoy this process..but I’m hanging in there.

What does this tell or say about me?

First, that drawing may not be for me…but I’m open to try new things and work through it…

Second, that as much as I am a visual learner…I’d much rather express my own thoughts through words to communicate my output. This makes me think to a colleague sharing their learning DNA. I can have more than one learning competency, and this means; so can our students!

Back to more questions…now with some answers!

  • would some of my students really enjoy this…YES!
  • is it a skill that may be helpful and beneficial for some students to grow…YES!
  • is this another avenue, tool, and skill to learn, and create from and with… YES!

So…back at it…and let’s try some more sketching…

I’m in this to learn…not just for me, but for my students…

Tip 8! WHY!?

Sketchnoting For…. This is it! This is why I’m continuing to do this…through my personal frustration and disengagement: for the students!

…to contribute, to give skills, to make meaning, to enhance memory, to tell a story, make connections, to reflect, to display content….to CREATE!

Here is my final sketchnote from…the big reveal…

10 Tips for Sketchnoting from a Sketch”novice”


I’ll continue to try sketching more…and provide an update of my progress.

If you want to try to sketchnote yourself, I encourage you to try it out! If you’re looking for inspiration and ideas.. check out the following places and links.

You may surprise yourself, learn something about yourself, and perhaps a new skill to surprise and encourage others!

Sketchnoting In The Classroom


Teach Thought






  1. Chelsea! I love your transparency here! I thought I’d love the sketching but in the end I didn’t have the patience…For what it’s worth, your sketching tips is fantastic!


    • Thank you Beth for your comment. I’ve learned a lot about myself during this activity in so little time. I’m not giving up yet, but it definitely gave me more insight into myself, and my students. I think the more practice we have, and the more tools we are exposed to, the more we’ll learn what works for us, and what works for each of our students (personalizing their learning)!


    • Thanks, Beth.
      I really really wanted to enjoy this! I was so looking forward to learning this. I’m so glad I did, because even though it may not be for me…I automatically think of students that would learn and gain so much from this. So my exposure, provides them exposure to try it out, if I make my learning visible and show them what I’ve learned!


  2. I agree with Bethany, for being disinterested in the process, the end product is impressive stuff. Maybe sketching through a Math lens, a shorter exercise, or another connection you are passionate about, you might change your mind. I’m sure others would love to see what you ‘create’ next!


  3. @Chelsea
    Remember, we are all pioneers… we are all scientists… charged with exploring unknown territories in education.
    There is no manual for how you will respond to one thing or another, but I feel it is our responsibility to be open to try and learn about them in order to become the guide, the coach and the facilitator for learning for our students…and… that is exactly what you did with sketchnoting. You tried it out…went through the process, you reflected and have that experience under your (tool) belt… ready to pull it out as an option for learning…


    • I think it’s important to highlight these things, as teachers, it’s important for the students to know that we also are not good or enjoy everything. The most important thing is that we look to show and display respect and appreciate those who are different and benefit from different strategies. Tangent to “What is fair, is not always equal” In Math I talk to the kids about their math tool box….this is one way to show that my teaching tool box is and can look different from someone else’s…but yet still, I am aware of tools to then connect others with, even if they didn’t work for me.


  4. One of the reasons I wanted to highlight your post in my last post highlighting the work of the DocuMENTORS was explicitly because you didn’t love sketchnoting and wrote about it transparently. Part of modeling for our students, is explicitly trying new things – and sometimes not necessarily loving each new thing you try. There are times when you come to love something after not loving it at first; there are times when you never come to love something, but come to appreciate it; and there are times when you neither love nor appreciate it, but accept that it may be valuable for other learners. Regardless of where you land with this tool, the idea that as teachers we continue to experiment, to learn, to seek new tools, is really important. And that is why I valued this post…


    • Thank you for the reply. As I mentioned in a conference with Silvia, I am comfortable with sharing and displaying MY growth and reflections. Now where I go, is to make sure I amplify this and show this transparency you mention in your comment more often to the students in class. I do naturally, but a little more concerted effort could help then and myself begin to foster more reflection in their own work as a result.


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