Drawing as Thinking
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.
5/9/2017 08:50:29 am
I love sketchnoting! I encourage my students to draw to capture ideas about their reading...we are reading The Outsiders right now, and I love looking at their sketches and notes about the different characters.
5/9/2017 08:52:03 am
5/9/2017 10:41:32 am
loved your 1st post about sketch noting -- this is even better and a must save resource. Have you ever used it to create writing prompts?
5/9/2017 04:04:05 pm
That's an interesting concept of comprehension happening DURING reading, not after. As I think of myself as a reader, I know that I often stop while I'm reading to jot notes or highlight, not after I read. I never realized I was doing this, but can see why it's important that we capture this in our readers.
5/9/2017 04:08:53 pm
I am so excited I read this! I recently purchased your book (When Writers Drive the Workshop) and have been engrossed in it. There are so many great things that I want to remember to try in my own teaching, but always (with any great informational/educational text I read for professional development) struggle with how to retain everything. This post will help me do exactly that! Thank you so much for sharing!
5/9/2017 08:00:06 pm
Legit--your post just made my day! :). I hope you love the book!
5/9/2017 08:01:35 pm
Lehua---sorry! My phone spell-corrected your name to Legit and I didn't realize it until after I posted! Haha
5/9/2017 10:42:25 pm
I really like the part about comprehension happening DURING reading. I always had an inkling about this concept in my head, but could never quite articulate it. Thank you for sharing the words (and pictures) that solidified it for me!!
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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.