An End of the Year Reflection on Using Sketch Notes With My Classes

sketch notes collage

Another Year Draws to a Close…

It’s hard to believe that I’ve finished up another year in the classroom.  Looking back, this has been one of the more enjoyable teaching years that I can remember.  I felt like my students came in as babies (I taught mostly 9th graders) and left (hopefully) with skills that will help them be successful in their high school “careers”. I am very proud of the progress that they made in my class this year.

So How Did Using Sketch Notes Work for My Classes This Year?

If I could sum up my feelings/reaction in a word, it would be… Awesome!

I had such positive feedback from my students about using Sketch Notes in different ways instead of traditional lecture, notes, etc this year.  Many times, they would request Sketch Notes for various topics or labs just because they said it made it so much easier for them to remember as compared to traditional notes that I also provided.  Granted, some students would rather study traditional notes (some of my most advanced kids), however, most of my kids (my “strugglers”) preferred to study their Sketch Notes.

Probably the thing I am most proud of this year was their confidence to try to create their own Sketch Notes during the 2nd semester.  First semester, we tried but they just struggled no matter how much scaffolding I provided for them.  Second semester, we began trying to develop their own Sketch Notes as a review before the exam.  The last unit we did on Classification, they developed their own before we ever began to talk about the unit! I was so proud of them! Here are a couple of examples:

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This one was done by one of my students who resisted using Sketch Notes and preferred “traditional” notes that I also provided.  She told me when she turned them in that she learned SO much and is going to try and use this skill in other classes (especially history) next year.

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These Sketch Notes were drawn by one of my autistic students who rarely speaks.  He was SO proud of what he had done.  We decided to have a little contest in his class and his classmates voted his Sketch Notes “Best in Class”.  I’ve never seen him smile bigger than he did that day.

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This has to be the example that brings the biggest smile to my teacher face 🙂 This student spoke very little English at the beginning of the year.  He made such tremendous progress with his language skills during this year.  He helped me many times by translating my instructions into Spanish for the other EL students.  He told me at the end that if he had not had notes with pictures (aka my Sketch Notes) that he would not have ever been able to understand Biology.  He went from barely passing at the beginning of the school year… to an A the last 9 weeks! These are his Sketch Notes- they may be in broken English, but they show me so much about his understanding of how living things are grouped and classified.

Will I Continue to Use Sketch Notes With My Classes?

Yes. yes. yes. Sketch Notes were so versatile and my students just loved them!  I plan to create several others for Forensic Science as well.  Next year, I also have an Anatomy & Physiology class so that will be my next Sketch Note project so stay tuned 🙂

I have drawn as I progressed through Biology this year, so I have created pretty much an entire course of Biology Sketch Notes.  I have also condensed student notes into 1-2 typed pages to correspond with each drawing.  These can be found in my TpT Store at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Drm .  I am in the process of creating larger bundles of them.  I am also in the process of publishing the entire curriculum in a book.

Check Out My New Website!  www.biologysketchnotes.com

 

To Learn More About Sketch Notes in the Classroom, Please Visit the Following Links:

1.  Oodles of Doodles Sketch Notes in the Classroom

https://bloomboard.com/users/Ella.Bowling/collections/oodles-of-doodles-sketchnotes-in-the-classroom/0fa9767f-9949-4201-9940-d5cce7804725 

2.  Getting Started with Sketchnoting

http://creativeeducator.tech4learning.com/2016/articles/get-started-with-sketchnoting

3.  How Visual Notes Helped a Student With a Learning Disability Thrive

https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2017/10/04/how-visual-notes-helped-a-student-with.html

4.  Epic Sketchnoting Resources:  How to Get Started Teaching Sketchnoting

http://www.coolcatteacher.com/sketchnoting-resources/

5. 10 Creative Ways to Use Sketch Notes in Your Classroom

https://www.weareteachers.com/use-sketchnotes-in-the-classroom/

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About Edgy Instruction

Science Teacher (Biology, AP Biology, and Forensic Science), Anatomy Professor, and former Instructional coach.
This entry was posted in biology, Instructional Coaching, Sketch Notes, T.I.P Theory Into Practice, Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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