Wesley Fryer (@wfryer), Brad Ovenell-Carter (@Braddo) and others have spearheaded Sketchnoting over the years. As I explore this new medium I cannot help but think about the times when I did in fact attempt to get my students to take ‘proper notes’ and to stop doodling. I admit it. There were those students whose drawings seemed obsessive and counter productive to their learning. They seemed so very off topic and often controversial. Oh, how I wish that I had captured that teachable moment and helped them listen with intent and create images that connected the content to their understanding. I am now quietly obsessed with my own exploration of Sketchnoting and it makes me a novice and explorer all over again.
The subject of this post is one of my peers. When I took this job last October I had to slowly navigate the ropes of ten diverse schools, three distinct geographic districts within my county and two intensive education PEP schools (within other schools). Phew, I was daunted by the fact that my charges spanned sixth through thirteenth grades, some schools ‘tech’ savvy and others who struggled with the not enough blues. All these differences hold their own stories. Tonight I speak of one of the most welcoming Media Specialists within my area. He had held his role just a few months longer than I had and that gave us the gift of equal footing and extremely honest communication.
One of the first times Mr. Stone and I met I commented how very difficult it was to keep track of all the requests and tasks that crossed my desk. The new steps to software installation and connections for hardware. Java updates, grade book woes, iPad apps, and overhead projectors. I was filling up legal pads faster than I could replace them and often did not get to peruse the notes to file appropriately or type a response to the teacher in need. (There were many doodles and pictures on these pads.) Wayne showed me his moleskine pad. It was no bigger than 2.5 by 4 inches. He said, “This is what I do. Every time someone asks me for something or I have to follow up on technology I write it in here. I just cross things off as I go and when the book fills up I start a new one.” His notepads looked just like the ones I took with me to India for ease of travel and accessibility. They fit in his back pocket. The connection I felt when he offered me one of his extras filled me with gratitude. I did not take him up on it but started looking for those tattered moleskine notebooks of my own.
So, the post wraps itself up! Wayne helped me with my first Sketchnoting adaptation before I even knew it. His doodles matched mine. There was information in that notepad but symbols, and arrows, and faces, and dots were there too – all connecting his own learning with the tasks ahead of him. One other type of making meaning, but one that resonated with me. Thank you Wayne, and thank you Wesley (@wfryer), Sylvia (@sylviaduckworth), Erin (@KleinErin), Sherrill (@sherrillknezel), Stefanie (@stefanieBnc), and most of all Rachel Smith (@ninmah) for inspiring me to overcome my novice perfectionism. Sketchnoting is in my blood; I am using paper and pen as well as many iPad apps as I explore. I will take it one step at a time illuminating the connections of my new learning journey.
Now, where is that notepad?
April, 21 addition: Enjoy this student artifact, thank you for your kind words.