Transcript of Sketchnoting

This transcript has been edited slightly for clarity. Listen to the podcast (17:02)

Jackie – The following podcast is brought to you by the Creative Arts Curriculum Team from Secondary Learners Educational Standards Directorate of the New South Wales Department of Education. As we commence this podcast today, let us acknowledge the traditional custodians of all the lands on which this podcast will be played around New South Wales. Their art, storytelling, music and dance along with all first nations people hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and hopes of Aboriginal Australia. Let us acknowledge with honor and respect our elders past, present and future, especially those Aboriginal people in our presence today who have and still do guide us with their wisdom. Welcome to the creative cast podcast series. I'm Jackie King, and I'm a creative arts project officer with the New South Wales Department of Education. Today we're going to discuss the strategy of the week with Jessica McCarthy from Mosman High School. Hi, Jessica. How are you today?

Jessica – I'm good. Thanks. How are you going?

Jackie – Yeah, I'm great. Thank you. You submitted a really cool video about sketch noting that you use with your visual arts students at Mosman High School through our flip grid, which looks really cool, and I can't wait to talk to you about that. But I was hoping first you might be able to give us a bit of context of Mosman High School and the visual arts classes there. And what you do at Mossman Hight?

Jessica – Yeah. So I'm actually also Head Teacher Teaching and Learning, and I coordinate and lead a lot of stem as well as cross curricular units of work. So I have quite a diverse role, and I have a bit of a hand in everything. And so in doing that, I have looked at large variety of pedagogies and strategies that allow students to access literacy and engage in content. We're very lucky here we have a very well known and strong visual arts faculty. Also we have special art program where students interview and come to the school to get extra classes in year seven and eight for visual arts. So we have fantastic students here and a strong cohort that continues throughout from their electives from year 9 to 12. So I teach a variety of those classes as well as the stem classes.

Jackie – That's really cool. And you're really lucky, I guess in that you've got that strand of visual arts students who are there specifically for visual arts. It would get really great results.

Jessica – Well, it's really good because they can. Also, we get to do projects with them that slightly off the curriculum. So we run it alongside the existing curriculum. But we give them opportunities that also allow for authentic audiences, such as entering exhibitions,displaying the works in galleries and responding to outside briefs. So it's really good.

Jackie – Fantastic. So sketch noting, Can you give us a bit of a run down of what sketch Noting is?

Jessica – So as I said, I do, because I'm doing teaching and learning, I look at alot of different ways that students can come at information essentially, and it comes up frequently in a lot of those really cool. Like Ted Ed Videos, actually one of my favorite videos on creativity was it was all sketch noted, and it takes the journey from traditional schooling to today by Ken Robinson. He did it as a normal talk and then it was translated into this sketch noting where the viewer gets to travel along a journey of this illustrator as they're creating the iconography images that connects the ideas, that made me start to research and look at this concept of sketch noting. And it's this idea that students are very visual and students are very reluctant to read large chunks of text because they live in a social media world. Snapchat is this instantaneous tik tok, you know, it's all instantaneous gratification and really quick. Where as sitting down to read large chunks of text requires a lot of thought process and being able to understand and engage with content that a lot of students don't have that capacity to do. I wanted to find a way that students could engage with it and summarize notes more clearly. I've looked at a few other strategies that I could talk about as well, but I'm we sort of target. We call them the novice developing and expert. So the novice students or those that often struggle we need to support them and scaffold them. The developing is what Hattie and the Gerric gifted and talented program would call the core students and expert students, the gifted and talented students who needs an extension. So the beauty of of sketch noting is that it provides that scaffolding for differentiation. It's sort of fun and exciting. It's a way to translate what they're reading into these visual icons. So instead of going back to the text when they need to be assessed on that content, they can go back to their icons. And it creates this like comic narrative that links ideas together.

Jackie – I love that. One of the reasons I really like this strategy is years and years ago, back when national partnerships was a thing, my school did focus on reading and obviously visualizing was one of the Super Six in Focus on Reading, and I found my students really engaged with being able to draw pictures to visualize what was happening in the text. Because good readers, people who are able to read, do get that sort of mental movie going in their head as they're reading.

But people like your beginning or your novice students who are perhaps not strong readers don't naturally get that those images happening and, yeah, and so being able to teach them about getting those images happening in their brain is really important. But the thing I really like about your strategy is it's kind of bringing that into the 21st century, so to speak, by having that visual like it's a visual map. So I think the way you explained it in the flip grid video, there was kind of, like pictures and arrows, and they could put a little bit of text on it if they liked. Is that right? Do you want to explain what it looks like a little bit?

Jessica – So the concept of it or the pedagogy behind it, is that you translate a concept into the visual iconography, which definitely links into visual arts anyway. But you could do this for any block of text that you read. And this is the thing that I really liked because I noticed in the literacy progressions, there's the idea about linking concepts together from different areas. So how do students how students are able to do that? It's something that they get tested on I noticed in the check-in assessment and naplan on understanding that content can come from a variety of sources. And how do you pull that back together? The concept of sketch noting allows them to draw these icons, and when they start to see these icons, you're meant to use arrows to connect ideas together. I also really liked it because, I mean, maybe I'm a bit old school. I'm like an eighties nineties child who used to love doing the bubble writing.

So one of the theories of sketch noting is writing keywords in bubble writing so that they become really clear, and particularly in visual arts, we have, you know, strong meta language or words that we want to stand out when we're trying to communicate ideas about different artists. So if you could get students to write it in that really wonderful fancy bubble writing, when they go back to their notes, they'll be able to see it really clearly. And as I said, for those novice students that just don't like to read large chunks of text, they're not going to go back to their highlighted page of text and remember what they wrote? But if you've got that big text in big writing, then they're more likely to respond to it. And remember, it might jolt that memory and link ideas together. And then, as I said, drawing little icons and images, kids are often doodling in their books anyway. You think about the Surrealists and automated drawing. Kids don't realize what they're doing often when they're doing those little doodles in their books. Anyway, When you're trying to get them to read text, they're often not focused on that. So it's translating that into this concept of, Well, why not just draw it anyway?

Jackie – I love that, and you cracked me up with the bubblewriting. I also love a good old bubble bubble letters and, of course, that would make those those keywords really stand out. And they will remember them because they've that takes a little bit of time to do bubble writing so, like it gets it into the brain a little bit more. So how did you first approach this with your students at Mosman High School?

Jessica – It worked the best just recently, because I have a challenging year eight class. So I have quite a few naughty students as well as students are learning plans. We've built these amazing visual resources, and there's a lot of wonderful videos, so we're doing what we're doing, a unit of work about food, food art, and we particularly referenced pop art and Andy Warhol and linked it back to traditional Dutch still life paintings on the Golden Age. So all of that content is quite, this is this idea about linking ideas together, and I thought that all the videos would be quite engaging. Choose really punchy videos. There's some great ones out there, but I thought I need to be more multimodal and provide access to content in a variety of different ways. So I didn't want to just focus on video content and me delivering information. I wanted them to also be able to read and respond because part of our NAPLAN results in our school is focused on reading and vocabulary. And if you don't read, you don't build your vocabulary. So I thought, I need to go back to what we used to always do. We just giving them text to read. But this class is so disruptive that I just knew they weren't going to sit there and read the text that I needed them to read. So instead I thought, What if I gave him the text, asked them to highlight the text as I read it aloud, and then get them to put their highlighters down and do like a sketch noting brainstorm. So the strategy would be ideally good for students to do by themselves. But I actually did it as a class, so I drew it on my smart board, which is a new interactive board that allows me to also save it as a PdF. So once I'd finished with it as a class. Anyway, I saved it as a PdF, and I could upload my one that I've done to our Google classroom. So we had the class one, but in their own art diaries, they also had their own. So I drove the iconography and the arrows and where to join it together. But every single kid did it and every single kid were able to engage in the lesson because it was accessible. So the students that enjoyed reading or were able to comprehend the text were actively highlighting the text and reading along with me. Whereas the other students? While they may not have been paying as much attention to the written word, were all doing the images in their art diary. So I felt like with the diverse range of learners in that class, they all had an opportunity to access the content that I wanted them to get.

Jackie – And, of course, using a text like reading. They're all engaging in some way, shape or form with reading a text, which is really important. And I know when you've got a really tough class, sometimes it is much easier just to go to a video because they do get that instant gratification from that quicker, like they can get it quicker. It's not as hard to digest a video, but it is really important that they do do some reading as well.

So that is fantastic.

Jessica – I was just going to say that by reading is well, we're modeling the writing, I want them to be able to write better sentences. That's also part of it as well is that if they're not reading the text and they're just watching the video, they don't actually know how to write those comprehensive sentences after the fact anyway. So I need them to have a look at and see what a sentence structure looks like, and that is all important.

Jackie – So what would you say the outcome is for your students by using this strategy sketch noting?

Jessica – Well, I did this lesson and I I'm very big on the idea of repetition as well. But the next lesson. When I walked in, I said, Does everybody remember what you learned? Less last lesson? And there's usually a gap between the lessons, like I only see them four lessons a fortnight.

So it's not like I'm seeing them on a freq... high frequency. And most of them could repeat some aspect of what they had learned. And they remembered it because I could say, Do you remember what we've sketched, particularly with Andy Warhol? So one of those statements was about a factory in mass production, so obviously I drew that and they could remember that icon more clearly, and it's sort of it enabled the continued dialogue after the learning experience. So I knew that some of that information had definitely sunk in, and they were able to apply it to their assessment time. I mean, there's obviously levels of depth in that the attainment of knowledge. But it meant that pretty much every student could remember at least something about his practice, which was really important.

Jackie – And that's a huge win, right? That at least they've remembered something from the last lesson. Yeah, have you continued to use this strategy beyond the naughty year 8 class?

Jessica – I've used it in year 10 classes well, and they just enjoyed it because it was a little bit more and more freedom as well. And I definitely like, I just sort of I've read a lot about it, but I hadn't used it meticulously, but I think it's something that I'm going to embed further because it's also really fun and enjoyable, and it doesn't feel like you're doing art theory. And as I mean, I'm I love art theory, but it's about tricking kids into engaging in something that they may not think is as enjoyable.

Jackie – I know I'm a music teacher and that you have to trick them into doing that theory because the prac is just so much more fun.

Jessica – Yes, exactly you need. You need a theory to make the prac better. They don't just don't realize that all the time. So in getting sketching into it makes it great.

Jackie – Yeah, and I think that's really good in helping turn on the brain to remember parts of what they've done because they are creating that visual. And so it's easy to remember it. Thank you so much for sharing your strategy with us today. Do you have any sort of advice for any teachers who might want to implement this in in their classrooms for the first time?

Jessica – For the first time, if you were doing it, I would do it similar to how I did it in that you scaffold it with the class and do it yourself with them on the board so that they also have that confidence and know that expectation. And then it could be that you get them to do it as a homework task or something later, or even in a group so that they're learning and building the field of how to do it. So that's how I would step. Step it up. So you do it first as a class and then maybe group work and then get into individually. And I like kids to hand in like drafts and their research work as well, when they're handing in submission, so it could be a part of that.

Jackie – That's a great idea. And I love because you see their thought process.

Jessica – Yeah, and where they're coming from with it? Yeah, exactly. I love that.

Jackie – Well, thanks so much for joining us today, Jessica and sharing your strategy of the weak, which is sketch noting, I think it's a fantastic strategy for engaging students with a large chunk of text to get them visualizing what is in the text. And obviously then being able to remember the important parts of the text as well. I can tell you are only just starting to develop this strategy, and I know that you're going to go much further with that with your students. And I'm really glad that you were able to share that with our creative arts teachers today. Get involved in the conversation by recording your favourite teaching strategy. Using the strategy of the weak flip grid in the Creative Arts Statewide Staff Room. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter at Creative Arts Curriculum 7 to 12 or contact us via email. Creativearts7-12@det.nsw.edu.au . Theme music for this podcast was composed by Alex Manton, and audio production by Jason King


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