Over the last year or so I keep running into the idea of Sketchnotes. I love offering the opportunity to draw as a product in my assignments, but from what I can gather Sketchnoting is meant as an initial intake of information not only as a demonstration of knowledge gained. So, this post is directed at all of you sketchnote experts (I’m looking at you specifically Carrie – @HeckAwesome) as I plan my first iteration of Sketchnotes in my classroom. I would love any feedback or suggestions. Oh, and for those interested Carrie’s YouTube vlog is at https://youtu.be/dIDBtSYdgb0.

I am starting a new unit on the Gilded Age, which is that time period in US History following the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and leading into the Progressive era around 1900. This is the time of big business, shady Laissez-Faire inspired practices, Populist farmers, Labor Unions, transcontinental railroads, Native American cultural decimation, and urbanization.  In other words… for most students a snooze-fest… We have also reached the point in the year where the students are finding all of the work-arounds in my effort to get them to take good notes. Long story (not so) short, I need a shake up and I am hoping Sketchnotes will help with this. Without further ado, here is my plan:

  1. Whole Group Watch – https://youtu.be/zNJyuJl5LKk Overview of Sketchnoting.
  2. I will break my classes into groups of 4 students. I plan on differentiating the groups based on the scores of the last exam with at least one “high” student and one “low” student. I only have “middle quartile” students, meaning non-GT students and no students with special needs, so the higher scoring students tend to have better traditional notes skills and demonstrate more effort. The lower students are not unintelligent but often don’t like taking traditional notes. I am hoping they will inspire each other.
  3. Each group member will take a number 1-4. – Each group member will have a copy of the SC US History Essential Knowledge Guide, which is essentially a summary of the standard subsection they will need to know. Based on the student’s number they will have a particular job for a small reading section. After reading the small section, the student’s jobs will rotate (i.e. student 1 will take student 2’s role, and so on) until each student has done each job 1 time. Here are the roles:
    1. Reader – This student will read the first “chunk” of text. While the student is reading, the other students will “sketchnote” the information in the margins. I have prepared a 3″ margin next to the chunks for drawing.
    2. Sketchnote Presenter – This student will present their sketchnotes to the group and explain what they drew and why. This will be similar to a summary activity.
    3. Key Vocab Identifier – after the reading, the student will identify key vocabulary that was mentioned in the reading chunk.
    4. Predictor – This students role will be to make connections to past readings or content and to predict what will come next based on the reading chunk and the essential question.
  4. Pre-Reading Essential Question Sketch – Before reading students will sketch the main idea of the essential question
  5. Post-Reading Group Sketch – after completing all of the chunked reading sections the group will create a single group mosaic on poster paper. The mosaic will attempt to use the newly acquired information to answer the essential question at the top of the page.

Here is the first version of the Essential Knowledge Sheet. I think I might make it front and back for more space to draw. The final versions will be taped or stapled into their notebooks next to the traditional notes. The picture cuts this off, but in the left hand margin I have numbered each of the chunks, 1-6.

Sketchnote s4-1

Thank you all for reading what is sure to be my “First Attempt In Learning” Sketchnotes. Feedback and suggestions appreciated!