Monday, August 7, 2017


Getting the most out of Doodle Notes in the secondary classroom - you can do this!


I have gotten many questions from teachers over the past year about how to implement doodle notes in their classroom. If you are accustomed to using formats such as Cornell notes or other straight forward methods of note taking, it can be very daunting to try something new and unfamiliar! As with our students, we all have a preferred learning method and usually our teaching method mirrors that preference. If you are wanting to try doodle notes in your class and you just aren't sure where to start, I have some tips and ideas that hopefully will help you get started. Trust me, your students will love them and will appreciate your effort just as much as you appreciate theirs!

DOODLE NOTES ARE NOT JUST ABOUT COLORING! Although there is an aspect of coloring involved, the point of doodle notes is for student to create visual connections in their learning. This could mean color coding, highlighting, drawing a doodle to represent a concept, drawing arrows to connect ideas, or creating bullet lists. Every doodle note I create, I fill in the notes and color myself as an example for my buyers. The coloring does not take me that long, more time is spent on the actual notes. Don't feel like that this is just an excuse for students to spend a class period on coloring, the focus is the content. Here are some ideas to ensure that doodle notes are content driven:
  • Have students complete the notes before they are allowed to add any color or drawings 
  • Limit the amount of time that is given for coloring and drawing. I set a timer in my classroom.
  • Encourage students to add color and personal touches to their notes outside of class. Not all students will want to, but you will be surprised at the number of students (even in secondary) who enjoy this type of activity. Their creativity will often far surpass the example I create!
THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO USE DOODLE NOTES! As with any activity, there is definitely more than one way that you can use doodle notes in your classroom. You may find that one method is not the right fit for your classroom, but that doesn't mean that you just can't use them. Experiment with how you utilize them and come up with what works for you! Here are some ideas for using doodle notes in your classroom:
  • TEACHER LED: One of my favorite ways for my students to take notes is through guided note taking with me. I use an overhead projector and I take the notes along with the students as we discuss the topic. The students can see what parts of our discussion are important enough to include in the notes by seeing what I write down. I will sometimes ask the students what parts of what we discussed should be included in our notes so that they can gain experience in identifying key information from group discussion.
  • STUDENT LED: Students also benefit from reading through text and picking out important information, either from their textbook, non-fiction reading passages, or internet research. Have students work together in small groups to research the topic and fill in their doodle note with the information that they feel is important to remember. I usually set a time limit on this activity so that we can then discuss as a class what each group has in their notes. Invariably there will be a point that one group found important that another did not and students can share what they included in their notes. This can lead to great discussions between the students as they essentially "teach" each other (guided by me!)  Plus, we all know how (some) students love to get up in front of the class and lead the discussion. Doodle notes are perfect for cooperative learning!
  • INDEPENDENT RESEARCH/HOMEWORK: Doodle notes also make great independent research or homework assignments. Have students work on a doodle note as they read from their textbook or do online research for homework. As with the student led note-taking, I have my students share with the class what they have learned and included in their notes. One way I like to do this is to have students arranged in groups the day the homework is due and have them write on butcher block paper what they have included in their notes. Then I create a gallery walk around the classroom of their butcher block papers and have the students go to each group and see what the other groups have included that they might have missed. 
If you aren't necessarily the creative type and you just aren't sure that doodle notes are right for you, don't be intimidated! You can find ways to include creative note-taking in your classroom that fits with your style of teaching. Doodle notes are a great way to reach visual learners and there are many available for different age groups and subjects. You could even try your hand at creating your own! 

Join us on the dark side, we have doodles! 😋

 Food Web Doodle Notes Science Variables Doodle Notes

7 comments:

  1. Thanks! I am going to purchase some of your Doodles! My students will LOVE these!

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  2. Just what I am looking for - what fun!

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  3. I used your doodle notes at the end of the year for review. What a great asset!! Students loved them and it made them think! They worked in pairs and actually looked through their notes.

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  4. I looking for answer key for the Experimental Variables card Sort. I know I can figure it out but when time is money and I purchased the card sort I thought there would be a key. thanks

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  5. Hi, I appreciate you contacting me. There is no separate key for the activity, but if you look at each separate page, it is a one experiment and follows the category lay out exactly. You don't have to figure out anything! I hope that helps you. If you need further assistance, just email me at themorehousemagic@gmail.com.

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  6. I was just curious as to what you use to create the doodle notes. While it is great to have yours, it would also be nice to be able to create some of my own once I get more comfortable with using them. I appreciate your help.

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