How to Create Visual Memory Triggers & Structure a Doodle Note Page Layout
Visual note taking strategies (like doodle notes or sketch notes) are making a huge impact in the classroom, but planning them can seem like a challenge.
It’s not always easy to know where to start or what graphics to use.
(To catch up on the basics of the doodle note strategy & the research behind it, click here.)
The key to creating good visual notes is incorporating what I like to call “visual memory triggers.”
Here's the scoop on what's involved in a developing a solid visual trigger, why it works, and how to make it happen for your own lesson material.
Visual Memory Triggers:
They can also be graphics that blend text and pictures that stick in the students’ brains. It’s a perfect way to build a concept so that it really lasts in the long-term memory.
Because of Dual Coding Theory, these special graphics that combine text and images will convert more easily into long-term memory instead of being stored separately in short-term memory (see more about those "dual coding" brain connections here.)
Read more below to learn how to create and organize visual notes in a way that is specifically tailored to incorporate visual triggers. A student’s brain will process the text and the image in a way that builds connections and helps them remember the concept better than if reading or hearing it alone. Plus, the visual stimulation allows students to engage, get excited as well as retain the information that we are teaching in a lesson.
The benefits of this research-based approach include:
- Long-term retention of the lesson material
- Engagement in the content
- New mental connections
How to Structure a Doodle Note Layout that Incorporates Visual Triggers
Here are some starter options to try on for size, depending on the type of lesson content.
- Puzzles Pieces/Gears
- Venn Diagrams
These all work great for teaching concepts with parts that fit together. Use them to interconnect topics. Students can organize, sort and compare to focus on or explain the relationships between all of the factors.
Sometimes lessons are more basic and don’t really have room for a lot of creativity in the structure. That’s where stacking and layering works the best. They are far more visual than just lists. It works best for vocabulary-based lessons or topics that include long lists. Adding just a little bit of shape will help students remember key terms better.
- Call Outs
This approach is perfect for when you’re talking about a subject where you want to animate meaning or share and connect ideas. You can use them to inspire and excite because students can have fun making their own stories or posters.
Sometimes it’s best to get creative and make your own custom structures from cups, gears, balloons or bubbles. Any containers that seem to work based on the lesson material can work. Some particular topics need more specific structures that you can create yourself it you cannot fit your content into a pre-existing template.
That’s one of the greatest things about visual and doodle notes. They are extremely flexible. Each classroom has a different dynamic and no one knows your classroom as well as you do. Being able to tailor the visual notes to your students is the best way for them to learn. There are really no “right ways” or “wrong ways” to teach with visual notes. When you use this strategy, you will see students that not only become focused or engaged in class, but also excited to learn.
To see the memory benefits first hand is part of what teaching is all about. It's awesome when you have a student say, “Yeah! I remember when you said that as I was doing little dots around the world ‘midpoint’ and I wrote that formula right in the corner with my orange pen! That’s how I remembered it on the test!”
Students remember that the transformation with the "F" in it (reFlection) is the one that we Flip! (from the isometric transformations set)
Students can keep the properties straight by remembering "commuting" with a bus, "associate" meaning partner, and "identity" as a mirror that results in itself! (from the properties of addition & multiplication set)
Students remember that proportions operate like equivalent fractions and that for the equal sign to represent a true equality, the sides must be balanced on the scale, or equivalent. (from the proportions set)
Students remember the "Three Layer" reading strategy by recalling the 3 layer cake they built with the three steps for re-reading. First they read the problem for understanding, then details, then read to represent. (from the reading in math set).
This new acronym for PEMDAS helps students remember (through visuals) that multiplying and dividing happen in the same step, just as the penguin eats his meat and dairy in the same course, going from left to right! (from the Order of Operations set)
Younger students can visualize the branches of the government by recalling how each branch of the tree carries certain duties. (from the "Branches of U.S. Goverment page shared in the Doodle Note Club Sharing Zone)
For templates, more layout tips, video training, and downloadable resources, join up at doodlenoteclub.com