Friday, September 18, 2015

Doodle All Day.

"Singin' pollywolly doodle, all day."  The song has been rattling around in my head for most of this week, as we explored another way to help transfer learning into long term memory.  Last year, I tried, hard, to find joy in Zentangling, proving to find more frustration than relaxation in the process.  (To be honest, I dabbled, but didn't really finish a single experience.)  I totally understand, and agree with the idea of multi-sensory experiences increasing engagement in learning, though, so I was excited to find Sunni Brown's TED Talk about the metacognitive value of Doodling.

Given that this semester's topic is Disney, and focus is metacognitive strategies for learning and exploring creativity, doodling seemed like a nice fit.  But is it truly possible to use doodling to make memories stick?  The folks at Mind/Shift presented a fairly convincing argument in their article.  So this week, we tried it.

Imagineers are an important part of the creative and design processes used by the Disney Corporation.  The Travel Channel had a video about their work, which provided a nice opportunity for the class to try the skill of "Doodle Note-Taking."   For 43 minutes, the kids worked on creating visual images, instead of taking notes, to help them to recall the key points of the video.  For homework, they synthesized what they had written/drawn, and created a visual image or map, representing the salient points, from their personal perspectives.

For some, this was a huge struggle.  For others, it was a repeat of what is done in nearly every class, every day.  It is interesting to me that the students who felt that they "failed" in their ability to doodle-note seemed more fluent in their abilities to explain why they were seemingly incapable of doing what they had hoped, while those who are regular doodlers were at a loss for words to explain their integration of pictures into meaningful note-taking, because of its second-nature stance in their lives.

I'm still hoping to Zentangle  the entire front of my planner this year.  It faces me every morning, before I open it.  It's a process -- much like metacognition.  And trying new things works -- if you give it a chance.  So we'll see how I progress.  Meanwhile, my doodlers have moved on to bigger and better things, focusing more intently on creativity and the creative process, based upon the Disney process of Inspiration, Collaboration, and Innovation.  

Creativity is messy.  And it will be wonderful.  (Even if some can't draw a single recognizable figure!)