Sketchnoting in the classroom: 12 ways to get started

#DitchBook Twitter chat

#DitchBook Twitter chat | Friday, March 29, 2019

Sketchnoting in the classroom: 12 ways to get started

Sketchnoting is an engaging, brain-friendly way for your students to capture their thinking. Here are 12 ways to get started using sketchnotes in your classroom.

Many of us have found ourselves doodling during a lecture or presentation. It keeps our brain engaged while we listen, or try to at least. You’ve probably caught your students drawing or sketching during class too.

But what if those doodles had a purpose? Sketchnoting, or visual note-taking, can transform those doodles into a tool that helps our students deepen their understanding of a concept. It’s a fun and brain-friendly way to organize ideas visually and makes them easy to remember.

So how can we get started sketchnoting? And how do we begin to utilize the power of visual note-taking in the classroom?

In honor of the #Sketch50 challenge happening during March-May, we decided to kick things off with a sketchnoting themed #Ditchbook chat. Moderator Mandi Tolen challenged the community to share their best tips, tools, and resources for visual note-taking.

12 ways to get started with sketchnotes in your classroom

1. Sketchnoting guru Carrie Baughcum has an entire YouTube channel dedicated to visual thinking and doodling to learn resources for you and your students.

2. Feeling less than artistic yourself? You don’t have to be an artist to begin using visual note-taking in your classroom. Check out this past post, Sketchnoting 101, for those with little artistic talent for even more tips and tools.

3. Sylvia Duckworth has lots of resources available online for you (and your students) to get started sketchnoting right away. Visit for 21 free sketchnoting lessons! Also, be sure to read Sylvia’s guest post 5 tips for live sketchnoting if you are looking for ways to level up your skills.

4. Sometimes starting at a blank sheet of paper can be daunting. A grid, dot paper, graphic organizers, or even an icon board can help students get started with visual note-taking.

5. There are many fantastic educators on social media who are sharing lots or resources, tips, and tools to help guide you. You can find many by following hashtags like #sketch50, #sketchnotefever, or #sketchnotes on Twitter or Instagram.

6. Middle school teacher Heather Mashall uses sketch quotes in English class to help her students capture their thinking while reading a novel. You can make a copy of her Sketch Quotes: A Visual Notetaking HyperDoc Lesson and adapt it for your class.

7. Sketchnotes can be a great way for students to plan out something in design class, writing, video creation or other subject areas using a storyboard. In his December 2018 #DitchSummit presentation Manuel Herrera recommends using a storyboard to plan out writing. Begin by just drawing it out as you retell the story orally. Students can even use emojis to add emotions to pictures that you will include in your story!

8. Even our youngest learners can use sketchnoting in the classroom. Try giving students some post-it notes while reading or a copy of the text for them to sketch on.

9. A library of icons can help you and your students by giving you a place to begin. If you want to go digital with visual note-taking resources like The Noun Project can help you collect icons to create your own library.

10. Using sketchnoting to teach vocabulary is a great way to get started. How about using the sketches your students create as Kahoot questions to review vocabulary? Heather Marshall explains how she uses this mashup in her class in this blog post and shares how you can too.

11. There are lots of books available for anyone who wants to get started with sketchnoting. Here are just a few to check out.

12. Hone your sketchnoting skills with the Sketch50 challenge! A 50 day event running from March through May. Visit for everything you need to get started. Also check out Sketchnotes: A mini-course and #Sketch50 challenges with resources, tips, and ideas from last year’s event.

Want to get in on the next #DitchBook Twitter chat?

Having trouble? Still unclear on how a Twitter chat works? Feel free to tweet to these #DitchBook ambassadors and they’ll help — Karly Moura @karlymoura, Sean Fahey @seanjfahey, Sandy Otto @sandyrotto, Rachel Marker @rachelmarker, Evan Mosier @emosier3, Mandi Tolen @TTmomTT, Craig Klement @craigklement, Tara Martin @taramartinedu, Krista Harmsworth @zonie71, Anne Kamper @annekamper, Rayna Freedman @rlfreedm, Lance McClard @drmcclard, Stephanie DeMichele @sdemichele or David Platt @herrplatt!

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  • Dawn Green says:

    The concept of strategic doodling intrigues me. I like the whole idea.

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