Taking Notes As A Creative Practice

We remember what we write. Pen to paper increases our ability to remember. Write. Write. Write, and remember more. I’m a visual and auditory learner. I take it in, ponder it, and figure out how it makes sense or applies to me. I write my learning. Today I’m sharing a new thing I’m trying as part of my note taking – sketch notes.

While I’m not a sketch note master (as in never tried it before), I can appreciate the learning and artistic value of them. I normally, and probably always will take notes via hand writing. It’s how I process information, gauge my understanding, and formulate meaning. As a visual learner, I rely on words and images, but it didn’t occur to me to try and create a visual of my notes. Well, here’s my first attempt at it, and it actually was fun to do. It wasn’t because I was coloring either. It was because I was reviewing ideas I learned and want to apply.

I’ve attend many conference over the years, and my mode of learning is hand written notes. I don’t always review my notes, but three intense days of learning at the Texas Charter School Association conference has changed my process. Rather then reread and be disengaged reading my own notes, I decided to create a visual of them. It’s a personal process, and you would want to do what works for you. I wanted a visualized representation of the key-to-me ideas from each session I attended which is around 11. Yikes!! That’s a lot of learning. I’ve included two session images from my takeaways, and I like this creative practice.

My sketch notes were done after the conference, so I was not distracted by the idea of having to write and think of creative ways to show what I got out of each session. That was a great weight lifted off my shoulders. This is the kind of creative risk we can take without the stress and without all the rules. You try it, and make it work for you. I can’t give you a step by step process just yet. All I did was summarize the main ideas that were or are most pertinent to my right-now work as well as thoughts that will encourage me to keep moving forward. The goal isn’t perfection, rather it is to improve my own capacity and ability. I’ve got 9 more sessions to go, and I hope to share those with you in the coming days. I find this creative note taking practice a crafty and engaging way to review my information overload and refine my educator practices.

Next time you’re at a conference or attending an event where there is copious information input, I encourage you to write it, review it, and then sketch it. It’s not so much about making the pretty drawings. It’s all about solidifying your learning so you can recall it, work with it, and apply it as needed where needed. Perhaps, you’ll even fall into an idea. Hooray for serendipity because that’s the power of connecting to our learning!

Tell me your note-taking stories. I’d love to hear them.

In the month of October, I’m participating in the #Write31Days challenge. I’m focusing creative practice in the ordinary everyday mundane. Each day (or whenever I write) for the series I will post the link on my page for my #31DaysOfCreativePractice. Come along and read.


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