Where Doodles & Data Meet

“Your message is only as good as your ability to share it.” These powerful words sum up a great video explaining the importance of infographics.

These days there are many ways to grab someone’s attention through infographics.  Canva, vizualize.me & Piktochart, to name a few, are in my opinion some of the best ones out there. I’ve used them all in the past for various projects and presentations.  Just three days ago, fellow Coetail’er Pana Asavavatana used Canva to quickly add some aesthetic appeal to the Twitter questions I created in preparation for our upcoming Digital Citizenship Twitter Chat on February 28th.  Here’s a sneak peek &  a shameless plug 🙂

Speaking of infographics and Coetail’ers I couldn’t help but think about the recently redesigned Coetail website which prominently features an awesome infographic documenting the Coetail Learning journey.  I find the new website to be fun, engaging, and informative.

Sketching, Doodling & Synthesising Data

With all the sites, apps and tools out there now to help you collect and organize information. I’ve recently been made aware of the beauty of sketchnotes. Being a visual learner,   I’ve found myself being drawn to sketch notes more and more. (no pun intended)  The ones I’ve come across on Twitter lately have been quite engaging and I’m seriously considering giving it a go. Craighton Berman’s website, Sktechnotes 101, was a great jumping off point and inspired me to dig a little deeper. After a while down the rabbit hole, I found out there’s actually a World Sktechnote Day (Jan 11) &  that sketchnoting is a creative, relaxing, AND efficient way to synthesize information. What I once thought was silly or a bit out of place, now seems like the perfect way to personally conceptualize data.

In the following TED Talk  Doodlers, unite!,  Sunni Brown discusses some other misconceptions about sketching and doodling as well as our inherited cultural bias towards them. Check out the video from Sunni or alternatively the Sketchnotes from ,  below.

Discuss Sktech Notes and TED using Sketch Notes….




Created here  by @andymcnally 

In short:

  • Sketching notes helps us understand concepts. 
  • When we make our thinking into images we synthesize our ideas
  • Visual Notetaking enhances memory and improves understanding. 
  • Visual Notetaking and sketching exercises your brain by connecting verbal material to visual material

Infographics in Kindergarten

As I alluded to in my previous blog post, Unpacking Visual Literacy in Kindergarten, visual material plays a massive role in the development of my Kindergarten student’s vocabulary, conceptual thought, and imagination.  It is the cornerstone of their comprehension.


Aside from picture books, the most popular items in my classroom are our “Learner Profile Badges”.

Inspired by the Olympics, I turned the LP images into medals (or badges as my students know them) as a way to introduce the language and visually represent the Learner Profile attributes. When a student sees another student embodying these attributes they will take the badge off the wall and hang it around the next of that student. Since it’s inception, they’ve really taken to it. The way they proudly wear the “Risk Taker badge” or “Thinker badge” around on the playground, you would think it’s actually a gold medal – to them, it is.  Because of these images and the idea of passing them off as badges, my students have developed an understanding of the vocabulary and continue to make a strong commitment towards living out the learner profile.

Another Infographic that I use in my Kindergarten class is for self-management and it’s known in class as the Kelso’s Choice Wheel.  Have a look!

Source: TES Connect (linked)

Teaching children to reflect on their actions is an important yet challenging aspect of Kindergarten. Our Kelso Wheel acts as an intervention infographic that provides students with multiple choices allowing them to feel empowered to take their own action.  A self-governing classroom of five-year-old students will certainly take time but as seen in the image below, my students often revisit the image throughout the year to work on working out their conflicts.

For more information on Kelso’s Choices, including other images, videos, and songs check out TES Teach here.

In this case, the two ways in which I use images to convey meaning help my Kindergarten students make informed choices to solve conflict and model positive behavior and attitudes inspired by the Learner Profile.  Both the Learner Profile badges and Kelso’s Choice Wheel act as aids to connect the verbal to the visual. From foreign vocabulary to understandable concepts, both visual aids have allowed them to responsibility for their own actions. 

Final Wonderings

Knowing that the Kelso Wheel and Learning Profile images are not your typical or classic infographics, I’m wondering what other types of infographics could you introduce to Kindergarten students?

What other ways could I incorporate infographics into a Kindergarten classroom?

Do you have a favorite website or app for creating infographics?

What experience do you have with Sketchnotes?



3 Replies to “Where Doodles & Data Meet”

  1. Hi Nick,

    I really enjoyed this post, especially your link between Doodling and learning. As a teacher of students at the other end of our K-12 spectrum, the methods may vary significantly, but many of the fundamentals are the same. As Sunni Brown pointed out in her talk: “Doodling should be leveraged in precisely those situations where information density is very high, and the need for processing that information is very high.” From the perspective of my students learning chemistry for the first time, if my DP Chemistry classes don’t fit that description, I’m not sure what does!

    The video about Doodling, and the research findings that Sunni cited, reminded me of related research about note-taking, and I can’t help but think that there is a commonality between them. Studies have demonstrated that students in university lecture classes who take notes by hand had better factual recall and conceptual understanding of the lesson material than students who took notes with a laptop.

    This is consistent with the research findings that Sunni cites in her talk – that people who Doodle while exposed to verbal information retain more than non-Doodlers. I love the infographic that Sunni shows at minute 4 of the video, showing that Doodling incorporates visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic learning modalities. I can’t help but suppose that the same thing is happening in the brains of the student group who had hand-written their notes as opposed to simply typing.

    (My thoughts above leave out the obvious debate about whether or not university professors should be lecturing in the first place……)

    I also love your idea to use the Learner Profile Badges. What I really like (apart from the clear visuals) is how you have chosen to implement it. Students are recognizing the characteristics in each other, and awarding the badges to their peers. I think this is much better than a system in which a teacher would choose to award a badge.

    Unfortunately, in regards to your specific questions at the end of your post, I have little to add here, as I am learning about many of these tools for the first time myself. I have not used Sketchnotes before, but after exploring them a bit after reading this post, I am interested in diving deeper. I also don’t have a favorite infographics tool (yet) but am quickly gathering ideas.

    Looking forward to reading more soon!

  2. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for the awesome post!

    I also focused on Sketchnotes during the course this week and too think they have a really profound effect on learning. Retention of information, in particular, is so much easier when visuals are drawn. Check out this website, all about a study into memory and the impact of pictures: https://uwaterloo.ca/news/news/need-remember-something-better-draw-it-study-finds, if you have not already.

    I did not realise that there was an official Sketchnote day! Thanks for the information about this as I may well use it in class next year 🙂

    Again, you may have found these resources already, but the following resource collection by Doug Neil is a great guide when note taking visually: http://www.thegraphicrecorder.com/about/

    Those infographics strike me as a really effective way to inspire our youngest learners. Your class is certainly getting a great deal out of having a teacher that considers these things. Nice one!


  3. Hi Nick,

    This was a great post with some really good ideas too.

    I thoroughly enjoyed both videos, the first was a great eye opener in how we process data. Since my students have begun researching more during their units of inquiry, I find myself constantly looking for resources that will appeal to them and also be meaningful. My 3rd grade students are all native Arabic speakers and I often find that resources for them are difficult to find. I tend to have to make my own. I will certainly be using more images and infographics to deliver information to them.

    The second video reminded me of something that I have been trying to do more of this year and that is to allow my students to communicate their understandings visually. Some students are better at showing their understanding through, dare I say it, doodles! So why not use this form of visual literacy?

    Lastly, what a fantastic idea to have Learner Profile “medals” in your classroom. It must be a great way to foster several of the transdisciplinary skills and make the language more meaningful! I will be stealing this idea!



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