Sketch Notes

Mar 18, 2022

I had been wanting to try a Sketch Notes for years, but I was too nervous. I had Assignment Anxiety! I finally reached out to my PLC FB Group Spanish Teachers in the US and was given great advice on how to start. If you are like me and have Assignment Anxiety, and the Fear of New Things, here is a Sketch Notes for Dummies page to help you through your first one. Also called Smash Doodles.

(My Reflection) I like to use a handout more than once (save the trees!), so as I went through this for the first time, I wish I had combined the Sketch Notes activity with the Annotation Walk activity from Meghan Loveless.  This would have gotten them familiar with the icons and let them work with the story a bit more before doing the Smash Note.

To prepare for the Annotation Walk, I printed Headings to tape at the top of each piece of Butcher Paper. I did this so that I can flip the Butcher Paper over and use it for the next class without having to draw the Headings again. Here is a link to the Headings and Icons in case you want to use them. I collaborated with my English department on what type of annotations they use which means my headings are a bit different from hers. Feel free to modify the Word Document to match Meghan’s (or your own personal ones).

  1. Tell your students you are going to have them take notes but in a visually interesting way. I compared it to cave drawings! Quickly tell your non-drawers that they will be ok! No need to worry!

  2. Show this video: Sketch Note Taking for Students ( and pause to show them that not everything is a drawing. There are symbols, colors, even words that are made to look artistic.

  3. Hand out the story you want them to create a Sketch Note from. If available, have a class set of the Annotation Symbols available for them to use. You can also project it on the screen or put it in your LMS for them to access. I printed 30 copies (15 sheets of paper) and laminated them for future use.

  4. I had my students follow this formula (credit Shelly Burge):
    1. Title: Name + Chapter + image
    2. Vocabulary: At least 5 new and important vocabulary words + image
    3. Summary: At least 3 sentences that summarize the story (or chapter) and each sentence had to have a transitional word in it (for level 2 and 3) + image
    4. Opinion: Their opinion on the story/chaper and why along with transitional words + image (ex: I believe... because...)

  5. Once the Sketch Note / Smash Doodle is finished, have the students walk around the room and fill out the Butcher Paper with the Annotations Headings on it. If possible, give them each a different colored marker. (Credit Meghan Loveless)

  6. Virtual/Stay-in-Seat Option: Create a Google Slide presentation and put one annotation symbol on each slide. Share it with your students and let them write their thoughts on the Google Slide. Have them use different colors or sign their name next to what they wrote. (Credit Meghan Loveless)

  7. When that is done, and they are back in their chairs, bring each Butcher Paper up to the room and go over a few sentences that students wrote. Asking questions about it if it seems natural to do so. (Credit Meghan Loveless)

  8. A fun follow-up to the Sketch Note is to have them swap papers and try to retell the story based on what the other person drew.

  9. As always, it turned out there was nothing to be afraid of and my students had fun!

Here are 3 examples based on the story from Unit 29 Estamos jugando (focus on Present Progressive).

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