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Using Doodle Notes to Increase Engagement

Doodle NotesIt’s no secret that students learn in many different ways. No two students are alike so I am always looking for new ways for students to engage with the material and access different parts of their brains. And along came doodle notes.


Also known as “sketch notes”, doodle notes are a visually appealing and interactive way of taking notes that are simply a lot more fun than the Cornell style. Doodle notes are set up in a way that gives students visual aids to connect with the vocabulary of the task thereby increasing retention, as well as providing them with a kinesthetic way of taking down notes.


While lectures are boring and I stay away from them as much as possible, sometimes you just have to disseminate important information. Kids’ eyes start to glaze over, they sneak a peek at their phones under the desk, their eyes stare out the window. Sound familiar? With doodle notes, students are consistently engaged because as they are listening they can be coloring in their doodle notes. It gives them something interactive to do so they don’t check out, and it’s done wonders with my more fidgety students. It’s particularly useful for my ENL and IEP students.

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I am currently working on an Animal Farm unit with my seniors, and to introduce the idea of fables I decided to show an episode of “Winnie the Pooh”. Why you might ask? Well, it’s a common theory that each of the characters in the show represents a different mental disorder. Pooh clearly has an eating disorder, Tigger without a doubt has ADHD, and Christopher Robin might be schizophrenic hanging out in the Hundred Acre Wood with his stuffed animals all day.


As we watched the episode, my students had to diagnose each character with a mental disorder, provide evidence from the episode that supported their diagnosis, and finally determine a moral of the story. You can purchase the doodle notes I created for this activity HERE. It can be difficult sometimes for students to pick up on the characteristics that animal characters are supposed to exemplify in fables, so I knew this would be a fun and engaging way to drill home the concept. I have never had my students so engaged with a video in my classroom before, and as we have moved further into Animal Farm this activity has given them the tools needed to analyze the book as a fable.

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It’s so important for students to access both the right and left sides of their brain, and when they can be married in the same activity you will see your students progress in strides. I highly encourage you to take a stab at creating doodle notes for the next big concept you want students to learn. They’ll thank you afterward.


Analyzing the Fable Doodle Notes