In this multi-lesson unit students will learn about basic guidelines and develop basic skills for effective sketchnoting: Representing ideas non-linguistically with visual icons / drawings as well as text..


  1. Invite and inspire students to be responsibly fearless in representing their ideas visually

  2. Help students develop skills for drawing basic icons and shapes

  3. Provide students with resources (like thenounproject.com) to gain further inspiration and assistance in sketchnoting

  4. Encourage safe and responsible sketchnote image sharing


  1. Brainstorm with students their existing knowledge / ideas about sketchnoting and what it is.

  2. Show students examples of sketchnotes / visual notes (50+ examples by Dr. Wes Fryer)

  3. Ask students to download a preferred Sketchnoting app to their devices (iPads) in advance of class. (In fall 2020 we're using "Adobe PhotoShop Sketch" (free). Dr. Fryer's preferred app is "ProCreate."


Day 1 Activity: Introducing Sketchnoting

Today is our introductory lesson for our Sketchnoting unit. We are going to to watch a TEDx talk video by a person who is now a professional sketchnoter, a visual artist. We will learn that sketchnoting can be a powerful, alternative way from "traditional notes" to document your learning in a meaningful way.

As shown in the attached photo and sketchnote, sketchnoting is a process of watching information with your eyes and listening to information with your EARS, processing it in your brain, and then sending out those combined ideas OUT with your hand onto a digital screen, piece of paper, or other medium.

3 Basic Tips for Sketchnoting are:

  1. Remember it's more like PICTIONARY than ART

  2. Use ICONS to get inspiration and ideas (thenounproject.com)

  3. Stay with the Speaker (Don't get bogged down with a detailed drawing so you fall behind)

Watch the first half of the video "Drawing in Class" by Rachel Smith and create a SKETCHNOTE of things you learn from her talk.

Day 2 Activity: Adobe Photoshop Sketch Tips

Today we will practice sketchnoting after going over some different tips for using Adobe PhotoShop Sketch. Some of the important procedures you want to know and practice are how to:

  1. Pinch to Zoom

  2. Change the pen size

  3. Change the pen color

  4. UNDO the last action

  5. Use the eraser

  6. Work with Layers

  7. Export to the Photo Roll as an Image

Watch the video "Why You Should Put YOUR MASK On First (My Brain Without Oxygen) - Smarter Every Day 157," and create a Sketchnote about it. Export your sketchnote and share it three ways:

  1. Turn it in in Google Classroom

  2. Post it to your WriteAbout blog with a few sentences to explain what you sketchnoted, and include a LINK to the original video

  3. Upload it to our class Padlet (link in Google Classroom)

Adobe PhotoShop Sketch Tutorials

Watch 1 or both of these video tutorials to learn more about different TECHNIQUES for drawing and creating sketchnotes with the Adobe PhotoShop Sketch app for iPad.


  1. Follow up this lesson with the "LaunchPad WikiPedia" unit, which includes sketchnoting activities.

  2. More resources are available on the "Visual Notetaking" page of ShowWithMedia.com.