How to Improve Student Engagement & Information Retention by 29%!


Sunni Brown, an author, business owner and visual notetaking evangelist debunks the idea that doodling is a distraction and that it improves information retention by 29%. Who wouldn’t want to achieve those results?!  Recently, I learned that one of our ELA teachers, Mindy Trujillo, uses creative doodling, called sketchnoting, as an alternative form of assessment with her students. I interviewed her for a podcast, embedded in this post, to find out how she uses sketchnoting in her classroom. What I loved about Mindy’s story was that she broke away from the “test to check for understanding” to providing choice for students to demonstrate what they know.

Podcast Interview with Mindy Trujillo

NOTE: During the podcast, you may hear some afternoon announcements that couldn’t be removed!

What is Sketchnoting?

Sketchnoting is creating a visual story while listening to a lecture or reading a book. As Mindy spoke about sketchnoting, it reminded me of a flow of ideas or journey, not a pre-planned exercise where you map out what will go where on a sheet of paper. The concept takes on a “part to whole” versus “whole to part” where there’s no preconceived notion of how the end product should look.

Tips for Implementing Sketchnoting in the Classroom:

  • Students that feel they don’t draw well are sometimes intimidated by the exercise. Encourage them to try anyway.
  • Don’t provide too many examples of sketchnotes, so the students can create their own masterpiece and not mimic someone else’s. Use the Sketchnote Primer video if there’s enough time!
  • Give students choice. Sketchnoting may be stressful for some students but loved by others.

Learn more about Sketchnoting:



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Quoted Source:  “Sketchnoting – Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything.” 17 Nov. 2013, Accessed 20 May. 2017.