Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sketchnotes – Visual Note-taking In 3rd Grade

Source: 3rd Grade Sketchnotes, ASIDE, 2013
We’ve written a number of posts about sketchnotes, and this year we pushed to include them as part of the note-taking process on multiple grade levels. Most recently, our third graders practiced sketchnoting to visually map out their understanding of the rain forest.

As with other age levels, the first plunge into using this new way of note-taking needed some instruction to help them understand the process. Their initial reluctance soon gave way to enthusiasm as they realized they were free to make decisions as to how to arrange the information to best suit their ways of learning.

Source: 3rd Grade Sketchnotes, ASIDE, 2013
It was amazing to see how each student used a particular style and organization to portray his or her knowledge of the topic.
Source: ASIDE, 2013

We developed a quick guide for the students to introduce the basic shapes to drawing just about anything with a few simple lines or shapes. It also included four different ways to represent people. Instead of using simple stick figures, they learned to draw "I," "star," "A," or "bean" people. Like the sketchnotes done by our 2nd graders, we talked about the organization and layout of ideas to help make their understanding of the facts as clear as possible.

With personal note-taking, there is a lot of leeway in the selection of information that lends to the personalization of ideas and content. Unlike other forms of note-taking, sketchnotes are not scripted in a certain way. They are much more organic, personal and deliberate.

Source: 3rd Grade Sketchnotes, ASIDE, 2013
In the end, the students demonstrated a strong understanding of the facts, and they took equal care in how they wanted to portray their ideas.


  1. These are fantastic. I'm doing some work with students and sketchnoting (see for a sketchnote-ThingLink-Twitter-Storify mashup) and invite your students to add their sketchnotes to a new G+ community we've started: Sketchnote Scribes: doodle with a purpose from students around the globe. ( In this case, you'll have to post on the Grade 3s behalf. We'd love to see them! Many thanks for considering. -Brad (

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