Putting Pen to Paper

If you joined us for a meeting in The Third Teacher Plus Studio, you’d be amazed by the imaginative possibilities and direction that arise from the intersection of conversation and ideas.

You’d also be surprised by another thing.

The sketchbooks.

Designers like to put pen to paper.  There is a certain amount of freedom in that, to be able to let ideas flow out onto to paper in a free form way that is adaptive and intuitive.  Sketching is also a powerful way to draw visual connections between ideas and concepts.

All of us have sketched something.  You’ve probably done this at some point by sketching on the back of a napkin when you had just the greatest idea ever.

It’s how you “draw talk.”

Here’s an example from team member Emi Day, with some Post It Notes added in for good measure:  

Sketching is a great way to build and link ideas to conceptualize a direction or represent understanding.  

Our challenge to you.  Think about a sketchbook as a great addition to your classroom to encourage students to intentionally visualize their understanding.  Imagine having kids draw a lecture or even draw an assessment - what would that look like?  Also, how might the use of a sketchbook, easily transportable and usable (no need to find an electrical socket!), be a location for your ideas and brainstorms that could be represented visually, and serve to grow your practice?

If you want to learn more, and how to draw for sketching, check out The Sketchnote Handbook.

Over time in this space you’ll see examples of how we use sketchbooks in our practice to support what we do.

Here’s to going old school with pen and paper!


I can almost always write music; at any hour of the twenty-four, if I put pencil to paper, music comes.
— John Philip Souza
“I just wish I could sketch well because it turns out that so many ideas start with images.”
— John Seely Brown