Doodle for Your Noodle

12:30 AM

Brain research tells us that doodling offers many benefits. 

As an art teacher and arts integration specialist, I frequently use doodling with students for academic and behavioral outcomes. Recently, I took to Facebook Live to do some doodling with my audience over at Party in the Art Room. Here I'll share some key take-aways from that session with emphasis on making it work for all teachers in their different classrooms. 

Kids Need Instruction on How to Doodle

Anyone can make marks on paper, but it does help when we instruct our students on how to be intentional and use our creative intuition to a greater benefit.

  • Help students understand that the more they doodle the easier it will become to be intentional without a lot of mindful effort. The balance comes with practice and time.
  • Drawing circles is soothing and calming. Circles are fairly easy to draw, too. That means most students can find success using circles in their doodles. 
  • Model the wrong way to draw a circle for kids so they can see what it looks like visually. Then, model how to draw slowly to make the beginning and the end of the circle meet.

Doodling Helps Soothe Us 

Yeah! Doodling is fun. We use it as a creative outlet and brainstorm for creative endeavors. It can also be a tool for calming ourselves when we feel anxious.

  • When we have gaps in our understandings, we can feel anxious. Doodling helps fill those gaps.
  • Doodling can provide a distraction from information overload or when we have our senses over-stimulated. 
  • The repetition of using patterns in doodling can also soothe us when we are upset. 

Doodling Helps Some People Be Better Listeners

When I was in college, I always doodled while I was taking notes in class. I also do it even now when I am learning by listening. It helps me concentrate on auditory information as a visual learner.

  • If a student listens and remembers when they doodle, let them doodle. Make room in your expectations for adults who do this too!
  • Do a mini-lesson early in the year on doodling and allow students to put that in their toolbox for the rest of the year. They can access it when they need it.

How to Get Started with Kids

With all the benefits of doodling, you should consider using it with your students. Remember, too, that this can benefit you as an adult as well. Here are a few tips on how to get started:

  1. Watch the video and doodle along with me. The video is free and right on the Party in the Art Room Facebook Page.
  2. Do a mini-lesson with students to get them started.
  3. Model how to draw slowly.
  4. Have them draw slowly and create patterns, starting with circles.
  5. Tell students to gradually work on making more difficult patterns once they can create the basic patterns with circles without really having to think about it. 
  6. Don't worry about what tool they use to draw. Of course, they can erase with pencils, but they might also use that as a crutch. You don't want them to get hung up on how "pretty" their doodles are. Let them try markers and crayons too.

All of this talk about doodling has inspired me to think about ways to go into even more detail with the method I used to get started in the video. I ended up getting inspired enough to create a resource of a complete lesson to accompany the concept. I use this as a mini-lesson, but you can totally use it to go into more depth with the concept even to the point of writing reflections on the artistic process. You can find that resource here.

by Amanda Koonlaba, Ed.S.

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