Innovative Teaching in Science: The Cognitive Advantage to Doodle Notes

I’m sure you can recall a meeting or professional development where you’ve been without pen or paper and your mind wanders.  This happens to our students too!  How can we engage their brain if it is wandering around during our lesson?  There are benefits to taking notes, but can we make them better?

The solution I’ve found is Doodle Notes!  

I thought in the past my notes were fairly efficient.  Most of my notes are a fill-in-the-blank style where the student will write the key terms, definitions and problem solve alongside with me on the document camera.  Still, their minds would wander and they might check their phones.  

When I came across Doodle Notes I knew this was something that matched with my teaching style and how I wanted to present material.  These are not just colouring pages, they are a way to keep the mind engaged and activate both sides of the brain.  Plenty of research has been done on the benefits of doodling:
The Harvard Health blog reports that doodling: increases memory, stress relief and focus.  
This TIME article states that doodling, “forces your brain to expend just enough energy to stop it from daydreaming but not so much that you don’t pay attention.”  Doesn't that sound perfect for our students? This Wall Street Journal article states that doodling, “provides an alternative route for learning for some people”, helps the brain remain active and helps people focus, retain information and grasp new concepts. Huffington Post reports even further advantages, that doodling helps you concentrate, improves productivity, creativity, helps to generate new ideas and makes you more present (even though you might not look it).

Creating the Doodle Notes required time, research and expertise in the subject matter (as well as an investment in quality images).  I learned a lot about how to optimize the Doodle Notes for learning from the Doodle Note blog and Sunni Brown’s book, The Doodle Revolution.  

In my next post, I’ll describe how I create the Doodle Notes and how I implement them in the classroom.

The doodle note teaching strategy was developed by Math Giraffe and is trademarked; Please see for more information.

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