Draw Out Understanding: How to Sketch or “Doodle” to Help Your Child Understand
Draw Out Understanding
I’ve been using little “doodles” to help my daughter understand things throughout her life. I found that if I could create simple little doodles to help her conceptualize the concept or idea that we were talking about, or what she needed to know, then my little doodle would help her understand it better.
- Many of us already know that “visuals” help our children learn.
- Visuals can help all students, and it is also a scientific fact that combining visual with verbal helps us recall and remember information better.
- Visuals mixed with text are very brain-friendly.
- Visual sketches can translate simple and complex ideas into easily recalled and retained bits of information.
- Simple sketches can create lasting memories.
Now, I can hear many of you are saying, “Oh, but I’m not an artist. I can’t draw. I can just get images from Google.” Well, I’m here to share my experience because sometimes, it’s not convenient to search for google images. Moreover, the images may not represent what it is that you are trying to explain. Life happens in moments and sometimes a quick doodle is the best bet to capture the essence of what you are trying to get across….in that moment.
Let me tell you…everybody can draw! Especially simple shapes.
What IS important to remember when doodling a visual is that you’re not going for a masterpiece; you’re going for something that can be recognizable and memorable, NOT realistic.
We are looking for simple sketches/doodles with text that makes the idea connect in the brain.
I learned about sketch notes from an administrator in my school district.
What are sketch notes? Great question, I’m glad you asked! Well according to MIKE ROHDE, the author of the SketchNote Handbook, Sketch notes are rich visual notes created from a mix of handwriting and drawings: Hand-drawn typography and shapes and visual elements like arrows boxes and lines.
While I am not suggesting that you all go out and learn how to SketchNote, some of the basics of sketch noting could help us explain ideas to our children. I will include links to resources on sketchnoting below that I found helpful.
I’ve started to put together a system to help me better teach ideas or concepts to my daughter, so I wanted to share it with you all.
Seven elements to draw anything
Here are some things I have learned. First, you don’t have to be an artist. If you know the seven basic elements, you can pretty much draw anything.
Use a stick figure or a “star” person to represent people.
Remember, most everyone can draw a circle, square, triangle, lines, and dots.
If you’re not sure how to draw something, try thinking of it as a combination of elements. Here is an example: a triangle on top of a square is a house, or a circle with two smaller triangles on top is a cat.
It is worth mentioning again: You are not trying to create a museum quality piece of art. The goal of your art doodle or sketch is that it is recognizable and memorable. They say, “Recognizable over realistic is the key.”
Here is a video showing how I use doodles to help my daughter learn how to do puzzling.
Here are 5 simple tips for using visuals to help your child learn
- Understand your child. You need to know their current level of knowledge in order to frame and reference whatever you’re teaching them.
- Define terms. Don’t assume that your child knows the words you’re using. You may have to define the words for them to understand. Or use simpler words that they will know.
- Many complex concepts can be communicated using simple analogies to every day things in their world. The simplest way to make sure that you’ve got the right level is to ask your child if they understand…. and then keep asking as you progress.
- Break down the information into simple chunks (condense it). Only focus on what is needed in your sketch to get the point across. Remember the acronym: KISS…..Keep It Simple Silly.
- Provide a little story to illustrate your point using simple analogies or real-life stories or examples that your child will understand. Compare new concepts to familiar ones. Illustrate using familiar or existing objects or pictures as a comparison.