Don’t Reprimand Your Students Who Doodle. They are Learning.


Do you have students who are constantly hunched over, copiously doodling while you are lecturing in front of the classroom?  Does it drive you nuts because you think they are not paying attention? Think again.  Please, do not yell at your students who doodle.

I am a person who constantly doodles, sketches, and draws on ANYTHING.  I always have, and I am sure some of you can relate with me.  I remember sitting in Spanish class in middle school, and in the margin of my Spanish notes were doodles of flowers, stars and designs.  I doodle/d on everything!   On my worksheets, on the front of my binder, and today, I will doodle on sticky notes or paper when I am on the phone or listening intently. You should see my faculty meeting agendas! Most teachers would think that doodling is mindless and information is not being retained, but think again.

I can recollect six years ago, when I had a highly-functioning autistic child in my class.  Throughout the entire class, this student did not take one ounce of notes, but drew, sketched, and created vast landscapes all over my note taking pages.  At first, like any teacher, I was frustrated and insulted that he found my class boring, and he did not have enough respect to follow my directions; however, it was quite the opposite.  When we would go back and review the information presented, this student was on point with every answer, his hand flying in the air to answers many of my questions.  Though he didn’t take detailed notes, he comprehended and retained everything that I had taught the class, and he DOODLED the entire time.  Believe it or not, for some students, doodling is a form of thinking, learning, comprehending and processing information.

In a TIME article, “Doodling Helps You Pay Attention”, the author states, “In a delightful new study, which will be published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, psychologist Jackie Andrade of the University of Plymouth in southern England showed that doodlers actually remember more than nondoodlers when asked to retain tediously delivered information, like, say, during a boring meeting or a lecture.” (“Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention, 2009).

In other words, for those of us who fidget and have a hard time paying attention, us doodlers doodle to think and learn.  It helps with our concentration, problem solving skills, taps our creative outlet, helps us visualize, and it helps us makes connection to what we are learning.  Amazing, right?!?!

Even more interesting, Jackie Andrade also discovered, “The group instructed to doodle remembered 29% more information than did the control group.” (Hughes, “Keep Calm and Doodle On”).  There is a direct correlation between learning and doodling.

Check out this amazing doodle by Professor Guilia Forsythe explaining how doodling helpings with learning:

There are many Teacher-Authors who have introduced Doodle Notes into their classroom and Teachers Pay Teachers stores, including myself.  I wanted to share a list of Teacher-Authors who have beautiful doodle notes for a variety of subjects.  These notes will help with your visual learners and will differentiate your instruction.

Here are two pictures of my Literary Terms Draw, Jot & Scribble Notes you can find in my store:

1.  Danielle Knight, Teacher-Author of Study All Knight has incredible ELA Sketch Notes in her store.  Check them out HERE.
2.  Math Giraffe-Check out these math Doodle Notes! How fun would it be to learn math like this?
3.  The Morehouse Magic-These creative science doodle notes are perfect to learn all those science terms! Check out these science doodle notes here.
4.  History Gal-Check out these history/social studies doodle notes! What an engaging way to learn terms, definitions and dates.  Click here.
5.  Brain Waves Instruction-This teacher-author has incredible study skill doodle notes in her store.  Check them out here.
All in all, do not reprimand your students for doodling, sketching and drawing.  They are learning, processing, and listening.  You will be surprised how much s/he is learning just by a simple sketch.
Thank you so much for reading this post! Feel free to comment on how you have used Doodle Notes in your classroom.

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