Activities for Doodles & Scribbles

Definition of a doodle: an aimless or casual scribble, design, or sketch; also : a minor work

There aren’t many favorable definitions out there regarding doodling and scribbling. As teachers, however, we see it day in and day out on homework, warm ups, tests/quizzes, journals and even desk tops. It can be destructive and even annoying at times, but I’m sure all of us can also provide anecdotal evidence of how it can actually help students retain information, be focused and calm and be especially creative in the classroom. Here are some interesting and informative videos and tools that discuss how doodling and otherwise creating visual representations of information can actually increase comprehension: Doodling

How then can we harness that creativity to foster critical thinking in our WL classrooms? I’ve compiled some tools that I have found useful for creating activities adatpadale to all levels and languages while reading short novels, stories, poems and other literature in my classes.  

Low tech:

Write, draw, pass (From Martina Bex, The Comprehensible Classroom blog)

Write, draw, pass 2

I used this activity with my Spanish IV students while reading La hija del sastre. As a prompt to start the first sentence, I used a word cloud provided in the teacher materials for the novel. By doing this, students had flexibility for creativity while still having a somewhat narrow the topic (the chapter we were reading). The photos are some 

examples from my class doing this activity.

The options are numerous when it comes 

to notetaking and activities that engage students with language and content. Take a look at the tools below for strategies and activities and ideas to use doodles, scribbles and drawing with your students.

Smash Doodles

Smash Book Challenge

Smash Doodles in Latin classes

Google Keep

High Tech

Keeping in mind the same goals I mentioned above, here are some high tech tools that can accomplish the same and/or similar goals if you are in a one-to-one school or have regular access to technology.

Google Drawings


Doodle notes

Low Tech / High Tech Mash Up

Currently I am not in a school where technology is easily and readily available on a daily basis. I rely on students using their cell phones or checking out a Chromebook cart (It’s busy a lot!) for my classroom activities. To adapt, I have sometimes use high tech ideas in low tech ways to facilitate what I would like students do and experience.

Draw Something

I use this ideas with small dry erase boards and my interactive whiteboard for vocabulary practice and review usually at the beginning of a thematic unit. Students sit face to face. One facing the board and one with their back to the board. 

One sees the words in that round and draws them for the other. There are three words per round and we complete 4-6 

rounds depending on the story, poem, theme, etc. Students switch seats with every round and keep tally marks for each word they 

guess correctly as a team. There isn’t a lot of talking except for “Sí o No” to help prompt their partner’s guessing because students don’t want neighboring groups to hear the answers and they are very focused on drawing and writing. Spelling counts!

Don’t know how to get started?

Try these beginner tips…

8 Ways to Get Started With Doodling in the Classroom…and keep calm and doodle on!

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