This year I have begun introducing a new way of combining pictures with words.
¡Viva La (Doodle) Revolución!
Sixth graders work on visual-literacy exercises. They think that it’s just fun doodling or maybe at most cartooning- but really, they’re learning how to communicate effectively, quickly and economically with images.
The principle is that drawing is a thinking tool, a means to an end, not just an end in itself. Ideally, this will build their confidence and lower their inhibitions about learning to draw, paint and design later in middle school and high school. Meanwhile these skills will help them be able to analyze, conceptualize, organize, interpret and visualize their learning. It will also help them better be able to communicate visually.
This year I’ve also begun having 6th, 7th & 8th graders use inexpensive composition books. In these books students are encouraged to doodle and sketch, but this is also where they could practice art exercises and of course- take notes.
Instead of spending $6-10 per student from the Art Dept. budget, each student spends maybe 50 cents to $2 on their own composition book. My hope is to have them use these as a composition notebook, sketchbook, “smash-book,” scrap book, “bullet-journal,” organizer, and diary. Ideally, kids will recognize that they don’t have to spend huge amounts of money for special tools, but instead they can create their own very inexspesively.
Graphic Organization + Diagrams & Illustration
+ Annotation = BETTER NOTES
I introduced ALL my art classes, 6-12 to visual note-taking. Many teachers may cringe at the idea of letting students draw on their notes. I sympathize, that simple, spartan notes may be easier for teachers to grade, if they require students to turn them in. But I wanted to tackle several problems. 1) Integrating art into student’s everyday lives and other subjects. 2) Helping students notes be more meaningful and useful to them. 3) the fact that kids either don’t bother taking notes or complain about having to take them.
Year ago when I attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop at Morningside College, Professor Marty Nepper helped me discover a powerful idea. Writing is not just about sharing or publishing what you’ve written, it’s tool for thinking, a way of processing and organizing ideas and experiences. Therefore, writing isn’t just for professional authors or reporters- it’s for EVERYBODY. I remembered that one of my Art professors at Concordia College often insisted that art was for EVERYONE, not just for professional artists. Connect the dots and it’s easy to see that while not everyone may paint like Michelangelo or draw like Leonardo- anyone who can make marks can use those marks to help them think. Drawing (Doodling, Sketching, Juxtaposing, Arranging/Designing) is a thinking tool!
I had experimented with the Cornell method of note taking for my middle school Civics classes with mixed results, so I began researching visual-note taking or “sketch-noting.” Some students are so used to traditional note taking that they need to be coached and coaxed (or at least reminded) to include doodles, illustrations or diagrams in their notes. A little “scaffolding” may be necessary from teachers, to help with this, I developed a rubric for scoring text-notes so that students know what’s expected.
It’s ironic that students would have to be encouraged to do something so fun and relatively easy, but some students are apprehensive about personalizing their notes rather than something more traditional that they expect will please their parents and teachers. Remind them that there’s not an absolute right and wrong way of doing things and that THEY control what’s emphasized and how things are organized with their text, images, and structure. Only the content is from another source.
Anecdotally I’ve noticed that Sixth and Seventh graders adapted to sketchnoting more naturally than Eighth graders and high school students, probably because they’re newer to note taking in general and therefore haven’t developed habits yet. My hope is that as I continue training middle school art students in this practice, it will permeate up through our grade levels.
Admittedly, this may require my persuading or even cajoling teachers to permit, let alone encourage students to draw on their notes. Since research suggests that even if imagery is not directly tied to the content, comprehension and retention is enhanced, I hope that students will adopt this practice and that teachers and parents will encourage them. Remember, some of the advantages will be being occupied with non disruptive behavior, personalizing and processing learning, and ideally, motivating students to connect with the content.
Benefits of Sketch-Noting
- Enhances what you remember by over 25%
- Improves your understanding
- By combining visual and verbal cues, you are simultaneously using different parts of your brain to process the information
- Students find it more entertaining and engaging than traditional note-taking alone
- Students will be occupied by non-disruptive behavior
- Student feel like they have a greater sense of ownership/stake in the learning
Elements of Sketch-Noting
- Text; Typography/Fonts/Typestyle
- Images, Symbols & Icons; Doodles/Cartoons/Simple Diagrams & Charts- NOT necessarily photographically realistic depictions
- Structure/Organization; Shape, Colors, Lines & Cues to help direct attention, information flow, hierarchy, identification and emphasis.
Visit http://dogart.wikispaces.com/SKETCHNOTING to view a video about visual note taking and see my rubric for scoring student sketch-notes.
- Brown, Sunni. Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently. Portfolio Penguin, 2015.
- Delfin, Claudine. “Tutorial.” Sketcho Frenzy, 7 Jan. 2012, sketcho-frenzy.weebly.com/tutorials.html.
- Knezel, Sherrill. “The Power of Visual Notetaking.” Education Week Teacher, 27 Dec. 2017, www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2016/12/28/the-power-of-visual-notetaking.html.
- Rohde, Mike. The Sketchnote Handbook: the Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking. Peachpit Press, 2013.
This year something I’ve adopted with all of my classes is “Mindset Mondays.” We learn about the concept of having a growth mindset in order to develop attitudes, build habits and practice skills which help us learn better. Usually this involves a short video and some discussion or a brain-teaser or activity meant to encourage becoming a life-long learner.
In Art classes at Boyer Valley this has meant taking notes on and learning about the “Studio Habits of Mind” developed a few years ago by educators at Harvard.
I really believe in these. I think that they’re not only things that artists genuinely do even without thinking about it, but very real reasons why art education is meaningful and important and not just “enrichment.” These are critical thinking activities which are valuable in the work place, in academic disciplines other than art and in everyday life.
I encourage everyone to practice them, not just my art students. I encourage parents and other teachers to talk about them with your students. Have conversations about what they mean, how to use them, and how they help.
It may be too soon to gauge what effect ‘Mindset Mondays’ has had on my classes, but it has definitely helped me to get students to consider their process more and not get so hung up on their finished products. This is immeasurably important in art because as any experienced artist will tell you, if you fall in love with the process, more successful products will be a natural outcome.
I have incorporated studio habits into a portion of students’ self-assessments for every assignment and occasionally will include an extended reflection/assessment for a given project that emphasizes the 8 habits, not just the usual rubric objectives.
One of the best things about these is that it provides a deeply researched, legitimate means of both teaching and evaluating what was once considered subjective or intangible, namely; inspiration, motivation, effort and participation.
Hetland, Lois. Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education. New York: Teachers College, 2007. Print.
- “A Look at Lois Hetland’s Eight Studio Habits.” Edited by Kate Thomas, Every Art, Every Child | Studio Habits, Northeastern Illinois University, 20 Oct. 2010, 3:55 PM, www.everyarteverychild.org/assessment/studiohabits.html.
- Veon, Raymond. “Reconnecting to the Artist Within.” IgniteArt, igniteart.weebly.com/reconnecting-to-the-artist-within.html.
8 Studio Habits of Mind – Drawing and Painting
(Adapted from artiseducation.org, with my commentary in orange)
- Become an Artist: Learning to use tools, materials, artistic conventions (the traditional Elements & Principles of Design, which I’ve had college Art educators tell me are a priority to them) and learning to care for tools, materials, and space (teaching procedures, a perennial headache for Middle School Art teachers!).
- Engage and Persist: Learning to embrace problems of relevance within the art world and/or of personal importance, to develop focus conducive to working and persevering at tasks. (This habit hits on things vital for MS/HS students; Attention, Focus, Concentration, Mindfulness, Perseverance, Endurance, Grit, etc. etc.)
- Envision: Learning to picture mentally what cannot be directly observed and imagine possible next steps in making a piece. (Initially this is about planning, many athletic coaches and trainers have written about “imaging” and “visualization,” this puts a name and a deliberate methodology to the creative, imaginative process that most artists and some students already use intuitively and ties perfectly with national core standards. Mid-process it becomes about awareness, inference decision making, flexibility and adaptation- also aligning with national core standards, 1 &2 ).
- Express: Learning to create works that convey an idea, a feeling, or a personal meaning – all within the context of drawing and painting. (A few years ago I realized that while students were claiming that this was the most important aspect of art to them, they didn’t know how to do it. So, taking a cue from Language Arts teachers, I began emphasizing how students could invoke mood using the elements of design, evoke associations using symbols and imagery and how to deliberately provoke discussion and/or reaction with a combination of composition and style. This aligns with national standards 3, 9, 10 & 11 and simultaneously makes art more personal, but also improves student’s communication and critical thinking skills by challenging them to plan, analyze and interpret.)
- Observe: Learning to attend to visual contexts more closely than ordinary “looking” requires and thereby see things that otherwise might not be seen; viewing with a critical eye. (This is the difference between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson- well, this and being a “high-functioning sociopath.” Point being, this is something that scientists and engineers and anyone who works with other people, animals or machinery all need and it’s something that art education gives kids, observation skills.)
- Reflect: Learning to think and talk with others about an aspect of one’s work or working process and learning to judge one’s own work and working process as well as the work of others. ( I really can’t say anything about this better than my colleague at artwithmrdexter.wordpress.com did, except to point out that it aligns with national standards 4, 6, 7, 8, & 10.)
- Stretch & Explore: Learning to reach beyond one’s capacities, to explore playfully without a preconceived plan, and to embrace the opportunity to learn from mistakes – all within the context of drawing and painting. (This not only teaches conceptual ambivalence, an important part of being an abstract thinker- but it increases both curiosity and pushing and challenging yourself. Taking risks in art is eminently safer than in other areas of life!)
- 8. Understand Arts Community: Learning to interact as an artist with other artists in the classroom, local arts organizations, and beyond (By posting student artworks on Artsonia.com and conducting regular class critique-sessions, I help students learn how to interact as members of an artist community. After discussing one habit a week for the first eight weeks, I switch to introducing students to other artistic concepts or to contemporary working artists on my ‘Mindset Mondays.’ By doing this, they see that art isn’t just about historical figures like DiVinci, Rembrandt, VanGogh and Picasso but a real, continuing, active thing. It also shows them that there are people who use the 8 studio habits today in the real world. Finally I model for them that when you learn something, adapt it or master it, it’s natural then to share it and contribute to other people’s learning. Not only do I utilize Artsonia for this, but we also post student artworks on Instagram with @BVArtdogs, which they in turn can share on other social media.)
- Decide upon a topic to research.
- Document 4 -6 research resources using a variety of mediums.
- Use the Phase 1 Research Guide to assist in your research and writing.
- Visit with your Instructional/Tech Coach for support.
- Share your research findings in the space below. This will be shared with your building principal upon completion of this project and will be used during Phases 2, 3, and 4.
- Upon completion of steps 1 -5, you will move to Phase 2 – Integration.
Summarize your research findings below.
1. Growth Mindset, and “Culture and Climate.”
2. Here are several things I am looking at and using:
- “Art Education.” Art Education, vol. 70, no. 5, ser. 2017, 9ADAD. 2017. https://www.arteducators.org/research/art-education-journal
- Smith, Mike. “Jostens Renaissance Education.” Jostens Renaissance Education, Jostens’ Inc., 2017, www.jostensrenaissance.com.
- Ragan, Trevor. Trainugly.com, Train Ugly LLC, 2017, trainugly.com.
- Hetland, Lois. Studio Thinking: the Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education. Teachers College, Columbia University, 2009.
- Maiers, Angela. Classroom Habitudes: Teaching Habits and Attitudes for 21st Century Learning. Solution Tree Press, 2012.
- Rosenberg, Marshall B. Nonviolent Communication: a Language of Life ; Empathy, Collaboration, Authenticity, Freedom. PuddleDancer Press, 2015.
- Seligman, Martin P. Learned Optimism. 2nd ed., Vintage Books, 1998.\
- Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfill Your Potential. Little Brown Book Company, 2012.
3. Last year our MS PLC talked about using growth mindset. For years I’ve believed that standards and test data are ineffective and often inaccurate if students are unmotivated to learn. I’ve heard teachers complain at PD about wanting AEA presenters to help them find ways to “reach” and motivate students. I’ve read books on developing essential questions. I took license renewal classes on character ed and helping students with anxiety and depression.
So this year, my personal PD will be addressing two things. To work with the district’s goals for PBIS, I’d like to find ways that I can positively influence our school’s “culture and climate.” We need a culture that values and promotes curiosity and personal growth and learning. We need a climate that is positive, safe and encouraging. Not that it’s “bad” or terribly inhospitable (so far as I can tell), but it’s also not intentional. Any school can always do better. The other thing I want to work on is to continue to develop and improve the ways that I address, teach, apply and use growth mindset in my classrooms. Ideally I can not only help students and improve my own teaching, but demonstrate to others the value of these concepts and consider adopting them as well.
I don’t know if I’ve hit all 14 points on the “Phase 1 Research Guide,” I apologize if my writing was too organic. I’ll re-do it if I’m required to follow a specific format.
4. With all due respect to the TLC, and I really like and respect Betsy, but-
5. I am going to be using a section of my personal blog as a repository of my findings and reflections on my personal PD this year. https://tedmallory.wordpress.com/tag/teaching,
… but (as of 8/31) I will come back and type something here after reviewing more of the videos on the two websites and scanning through &/or reading some of the books I’ve listed above.
WATCH THIS SPACE for #5. Also, will Ted ever use the Phase 1 Research Guide? Will he get in trouble for the snarky meme he inserted for #4?
But seriously, I fully intend to study how to teach and use growth mindset, I genuinely want to help our district with their PBIS because I think it can have a positive effect on our community and students’ sense of belonging and identity- I just don’t want to see it stall out in the behavioralist stages of teaching and repeating procedures. And even if the only way I can do it is via the yearbook and cheer squad, I want to work on improving our culture and climate. I want to see us become a community of life-long learners, among other things. Got any ideas for me? I’m open to “crowd-sourcing” from other educators- why should I limit myself to books and websites? Leave your comments below or share your books & websites (resources) with me. Thanks.
LOVE! This quote from German philosopher, poet & playwright Wolfgang Goethe-
“Instruction does much, but encouragement does everything.” It doesn’t mean to lie to kids and artificially inflate their egos, it means that teachers and coaches need to be cheerleaders, we need to encourage kids- encourage them to try, encourage them to work, and yes, encourage them when they succeed, but also to encourage them to pick themselves up, dust them selves off, and keep trying and working when they fail.
Of course American poet Maya Angelou said it another way when she wrote “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Or, to be more trite, “They won’t care what you know, till they know that you care.” Or to use some teacher-jargon, “You can’t get to Bloom, till you take care of Maslow.”
#AffectiveDomainMatters #MotivationMatters #Inspire
This section of this blog is dedicated to learning, education, and the glorious professionals on the front lines of facilitating learning for kids.
Some of these posts, beginning in August 2017 are related to my own “Personalized PD” journey. But many before and after may have to to with teaching in general or teaching either Art or Social Studies. Thanks for visiting. Feel free to follow, share and comment.
Graphite & pencil on 18×24 newsprint, 2017
Students had 5 days to work on their final self portraits. Between helping them and getting piles of grading for other other classes done I had to force my self to spend a class and a half to work on one myself. I kinda like the funky angle. What did we do before cell phones? Maybe I need to back off of telling them they should use mirrors instead of phones.
Below are my responses to some of the “self-critique” reflection questions that I assigned to my students for their semester final self portraits.
PRODUCT: What do you like most about your drawing? What are you most displeased with or disappointed in about your drawing?
I like this one much more than the one I did first semester with the mirror. That one is much less realistic, not to mention more static and flat. I love the from-above angle and the 3/4 view. I think that the shading helps it have a sense of form. While I kind of like the contrast between the linear texture of the hair and the shape/pattern of the flannel shirt, I think that without legs or hands, the shirt kind of becomes just an amorphic blob holding up my head.
PROCESS: What did you enjoy most about making this drawing?What was the most difficult challenge you faced in making this drawing?
It was an escape from the pressure of entering grades at the end of the semester and the chaos of eighth graders who are so excited about the end of the school year. If anything, I wish I’d been working on this with the rest of the Drawing class for the whole five days, and not just a day and a half.
PROCESS & PRODUCT: If you were the Art teacher, what grade (A, B, C, D, F) would you give to this drawing. Please explain or defend your choice. Why does it deserve that grade? What about it earned the grade you’d give?
I guess I’d give myself an A-/B+ It’s accurate an engaging, but just imagine how much better it could’ve been had I given it my full attention and commitment.
DEVELOPMENT & GROWTH; How do you think this drawing demonstrates that your drawing skills &/or perceptual skills are improving? In what ways have your skills advances since the beginning of the year?
I’m not sure it’s fair for me to answer this question since I’m not a student and I’ve been an Art teacher for 24 years now, but I am always amazed at how I can continue to learn and improve no matter how old I get. I also think sometimes that the less I think about what I’m doing and just do it, the better my results. I’ve heard baseball/softball coaches talk about this for pitchers- some thinks are mechanical rather than cerebral and you just have to “trust the process, don’t over-think.” Obviously my expression reveals how weary and cynical I’ve become in middle age. I had hoped that the unique angle, besides being thinning, might counter the curmudgeon with dynamic, even energetic angles and eye-flow.
EXIT SURVEY: What do you think are the biggest breakthroughs in your perceptual skills this year? How did your drawing skills improve? What are some things you feel like you learned this semester or will be able to take away from this class?
While I do feel like I’ve had some breakthroughs this year, I’m having trouble putting them into words.
But I have to say that I am very grateful for my high school Drawing, Painting, and Photography classes this year. I’ve been blessed with students who engage, participate and learn- not to mention many who have enormous amounts of talent! The icing is that almost all of them are just great people that are fun to be with. I feel like they’ve allowed me not only to continue to grow as an artist along with them, but to grow as an educator. I think many of them have taught me a few things, or at least reminded me of some things that teachers need to keep in mind while they’re teaching. There have been many very difficult and discouraging things about being in this profession this year, but none of them have come from the kids in my high school Art classes.
I truly hope and pray that many of them can continue to take Art classes the next year or two. Even if they can’t, I hope to use what they’ve taught me and the momentum they’ve given me for teaching 6-12th graders NEXT year. Thanks Drawing 2 Class- have a great Summer!