This past month, as I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I saw a post by Tanny McGregor about sketchnoting. As part of Smokey Daniels’s new book The Curious Classroom, Tanny offers her beautiful sketchnotes to summarize the information contained within each chapter. Her sketches piqued my own curiosity. So, I began to explore. First, I started sketching myself.
Then, I watched Tanny’s and Shawna Coppola’s video from their #EdCollaborative talk:
As I watched the video, I sketched notes:
I started to bring sketching into my reading life as well. This past week I read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. This book features 8 characters—4 mothers and their 4 daughters. Each chapter is told from the perspective of each. And within each chapter were slice of life stories. To keep each character straight in my mind, I decided to draw sketches as I read.
In my doctoral program at the University of Virginia I took a seminar on Comprehension. And the one thing that I took away from that seminar was the concept that comprehension happens during the act of reading. So, to have students write responses to questions after they finished reading a text doesn’t necessarily capture the thinking that happens while engaged in reading.
At ILA this summer I am co-presenting a session about Infographics with Katie Kelley and Lindsay Yearta. I’ve always thought of Infographics solely as digital acts. But I was wrong. Sketchnoting, when done by hand, is also a form of presenting information graphically. And I thank Tanny McGregor for teaching me this.
About the Author
Brian Kissel is an Associate Professor of education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His focus is writing instruction. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Hattie and three kiddos: Charlie, Ben, and Harriet.