Posted on 11/13/2017 at 12:00 AM by Blog Experts

Nic Hahn is a visual arts teacher from Minnesota. She was one of the presenters for the 2017 Summer Art of Education conference. She explained how she was going embed Sketch Notes into her lesson plans. Nic shared her Padlet of Sketch Notes with us:

When Hahn was a student, she realized that taking copious notes from the teacher wasn’t as helpful for her as she thought it might be, even though she copied each note word for word. It was when she started adding drawings to her notes that she realized how helpful her notes had become to her understanding of the topics and concepts. Sketch Notes helped her to retell the story of that class period visually.

Hahn suggested that when first teaching students how to take Sketch Notes, it might be helpful to share a few icons with them that you use. This will help them to build their own library of icons and sketches. They can practice drawing these simple sketches until they make them their own.

Probably one of the most important things to help students with is to teach them how to find the key points. It might be helpful to tell students that you have three key points, and then they will know they have to divide their paper into three sections. Or, will you set up a mind map with one big idea and details extending from the one big idea.

Some other things that students need to think about is what will work for them. Will it be a sketchbook and a pencil, or a felt-tipped pen, or a tablet and a stylus? Students need to decide for themselves which works best.

Resources that helped Hahn in her Sketch Notes journey was Mike Rohde’s Sketchnote Army book and podcasts. She also used Twitter and YouTube for further resources on Sketch Notes.

A blog post by Elaine that I found to be very helpful shared some of the simple icons and explained very clearly how to get started. She talked about what supplies to use, how to carry them, and the entire process of sketchnoting.

Students could study the sketch notes of the Lewis and Clark journals. They could also study the sketch notes of scientists. One fiction resource available from Northwest AEA Media Center is Judith L. Li’s 2013 book titled, Ellie’s log: Exploring the forest where the great tree fell. Different people in her life help Ellie learn how to create her own field notebook with sketches and notes. The book includes instructions for how to create a field notebook. There is also a teacher’s guide that can be downloaded from This page has a book trailer for Ellie’s book, as well as a book trailer for the sequel, Rick’s atlas: Mapping a land on fire. Both books are great resources for learning about sketch notes.

There are no comments yet.
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field