Blending Words & Images With Sketchnoting

One goal that core teachers and I will be working on this school year is to have students be able to access learning through their own note taking. We are introducing three different note-taking strategies to use in all classes: Cornell Notes Method, Sketchnoting, and digital note taking or enotes.

My science teacher will introduce the Cornell Note Method to students while my social studies teacher will share ways to hyper link notes and curate digital information with enotes. I introduced sketchnoting to my students as third strategy for note taking. Sketchnoting blends words, images, and symbols to convey important ideas, topics, and texts.


There have been many different sketch notes shared on social media and with the popularity of Common Craft Videos, there are even apps that create digital sketch notes like Powtoon and Wideo.

This week I introduced stetchnoting to my students and then applied it as a way to convey the themes in their dystopian independent reading books.


I found invaluable resources from where I found slides and activities that I adapted for my middle school students. I also showed this video from Heidi Weber on Sketchnoting.


Sketchnoting is not about the art work. Rather it is about the ideas as Heidi says throughout her video. Specific sketchnoting techniques include:

Bullets are simple shapes that create categories and subcategories. Bullets can be any shape you choose – a circle, a triangle, a plus or a minus. Bullets help to create itemized lists and to group things together.

Frames are shapes around pictures or words: think ‘picture frame’ or ‘word bubble’. Frames create visual destinations in your visual note taking landscape. Next, you will need connectors.

Connectors are straight lines, arrows, dividers, leaves, and people etc., that move from one note to another, making connections.

Shadows, just like in drawing, draw attention. Watch visual note takers visually record and communicate ideas.

After we looked at examples and tried sketchingnoting a concept students learned in one of their classes this week, we applied it to ELA class. With a lesson on common themes in dystopian texts, rather than complete a graphic organizer, I asked students to sketchnote a dominant theme in their text. The only requirement was to incorporate two textual quotes to support their claims. Here are some of the great sketchnotes that students shared.

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