I’ve followed Carrie Baughcum’s work on Twitter and Instagram for awhile. We briefly met F2F back at ISTE 2016 in Denver. I’ve loved the positive, upbeat and fun loving tone that she shares in her posts. So when I heard that she was publishing a book about sketchnoting this past fall, I quickly preordered a copy. I love how My Pencil Made Me Do It takes a different approach from a lot of other sketchnoting books I’ve read. Carrie has a strong focus on her story and how she learned the value of sketchnoting in her own life.
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What is sketchnoting and why should we do it?
Many books on sketchnoting tend to focus on the how-to, with lots of exercises trying out different kinds of typography, icons, containers, etc. While Carrie definitely explains the basics of sketchnoting, I would say that the focus of this book is more on why we should sketchnote, the value that it can have for us and for our students. She discusses the research behind what makes sketchnoting powerful without getting too bogged down. She discusses concepts like dual coding, metacognition and visual thinking in a way that’s very down to earth and approachable.
Yes, YOU can Sketchnote
In My Pencil Made Me Do It, I love how Carrie recognizes and identifies with those who feel that the phrase “I CAN’T draw” represents them. Or those who are self-conscious of their doodles, afraid of criticism. Who fear that their students will laugh at the idea of using doodling to learn. Carrie works to break down that wall of fear and anxiety that keeps many of us away from trying to sketchnote. Her welcoming and positive tone encourages her readers to just put pencil to paper and see what happens.
Student Doodling and Why it Matters
Another thing I love about this book is all the examples shared about using sketchnotes in the classroom. While I personally use sketchnoting with conference sessions, webinars, taking notes on books, etc, I have never been intentional about using this technique with students. Carrie shares numerous examples of how she has incorporated sketchnoting into her classroom and how it has empowered her students. I especially love all the examples of her students’ work that she shares.
Sketchnoting Tip: Learning Mascots
One concept here that I haven’t seen in other sketchnote literature is the idea of a Learning Mascot. An easy to doodle creature that represents you (or your students) and gives you a space to share your voice. I love this idea and I can see the potential it can have for students to find their voice.
Read this Book: My Pencil Made Me Do It
Whether you’re a seasoned sketchnote veteran or someone who’s curious about whether or not you can actually sketchnote and how you could use sketchnoting in your classroom, I think you’ll find some valuable ideas and inspiration in this book. Carrie’s positive and upbeat tone is going to make you eager to grab a pen and paper and get started creating your own sketchnotes.