Sketch “Quotes”

About sketch notes & sketch quotes:

When I tell my students we are going to take notes, they cheer. Some students take notes when I don’t ask them to, just because they like doing it.

I love visual note taking (sketch notes) and have been introducing it to my students this year. After reading several books, articles, and blogs on this topic, I decided it would be best to start small with my students; focusing on the three elements of visual note taking mentioned in Mike Rhode‘s The Sketchnote Handbook. Some students can be “put off” by this note taking strategy citing that they do not like to draw. I felt like introducing the elements (text, structure, image) separately might help with that, and I started with text. We watched these great videos:

Sketcho Frenzy has some really excellent how-to videos about sketchnotes on YouTube. I did show them the Basics video that illustrated all three elements before we began practicing each element individually. When we began working on text, I showed them the Typography video (above).

While we were watching the video I asked the class to call out which words popped out at them when the page was turned. We talked about what types of lettering stood out the most and how we might apply these strategies to create emphasis, hierarchy, and distinction in our own note taking. The students liked that the quotes in the video were all song quotes and the first few times we did this they used quotes that they liked, mostly song lyrics.

sketch quotes

As they were sketching, I walked around and snapped some photos with my phone. I asked why they had chosen that to quote, and gained some insight into their understanding of the text from these brief conversations. Later I posted some of their work on our class Instagram. Some students complimented or commented on each others books or their quotes, which always makes me so happy to see. This is my second year trying to get kids engaged on social media and I am finding that getting them to comment is difficult.

I have had the class do sketch quotes from TEDed videos, articles, and their text book in History class. This week we are using sketch quotes to share what we are reading in English class. I am reading “Fish in a Tree” to a different group of students during lunch for the Global Read Aloud (#GRA15) and I have been doing sketch quotes from that book. I shared my sketch quotes and talked about why I had chosen those particular quotes to sketch. This one was especially powerful because I think many of my students connected with the feeling I was quoting:

I talked about why I chose that quote and together we came up with a list of reasons that we might chose a quote from our reading.

If you are familiar with the book “Notice and Note” (Kylene Beers & Robert E. Probst) you will recognize some similarities to their “sign posts” on the list. I don’t have them posted in my class but I did read the book a couple of years ago. I notice and note things when I read aloud in class that the students must be picking up on because they are on our list.

How do I choose what to quote?

  • Words that I read that give me vivid mind pictures
  • Words or ideas that seem to be repeated
  • Words characters say that are revealing (when I get some insight into who they are or why they are the way they are)
  • Words that make me feel something
  • Words or ideas that I connect with (I understand this because it happened to me, or this reminds me of something else I saw/heard/read)
  • Ah Ha! moments
  • Words that seem like good, or even bad, advice
  • Words that are inspiring that I want to share with others

sketch quote - fish in a tree

A final word about sketch notes & sketch quotes: When I tell my students we are going to take notes, they cheer. Some students take notes when I don’t ask them to, just because they like doing it. I got a new book the other day (The Omnivore’s Dilemma Junior Edition) and I was really excited about it. I shared a little snippet from it as a read aloud and I noticed this boy and his pencil scribbling at a feverish pace. “Are you making sketch notes?” I asked. He nodded and any doubts that I had about the value of doodling in class were erased.

Updates: I have Created a Hyperdoc for this lesson and added some additional resources below

​An important note about using another teacher’s HyperDoc lessons: go through the lesson and look for assignment links that you need to change before your students use the lesson. This lesson on “SketchQuotes” contains a task that asks students to submit work to a shared slide deck. Copy that slide deck too and replace my link with yours. If you don’t make your own copy of the shared slide deck, your students’ work will be submitted to my class.

Sketching Quotes is a Great Way for Teachers to Capture the big Ideas from their professional reading too!