The Many Benefits of Doodling

The Many Benefits of Doodling

What a year! The good news is we survived, we learned, we faced and overcame challenges that were unthinkable two years ago. Testing is over for this year and school is out, at least in some districts. So, what now?

Now we need to pause, recharge and realign all the while still dealing with lesson plans, budgets, as well as supporting our students and parents. One way to manage all that is to get creative by … Doodling!

I recently watched a TED Talk by Sunni Brown called ‘Doodlers, Unite!’. It explores how doodling can be a great way to recharge and focus on the mundane tasks. How we can use doodling in our personal life and (more importantly) in the classroom! Helping students focus during zoom classes has been a struggle throughout this pandemic. What if our students were doodling instead of zoning out during our lessons?
According to a study by the University of Plymouth, two groups listened to a monologue, monotonous voicemail message listing the names of people attending a party. One group was instructed to doodle while listening. The study found that this group remembered 29% more on an unexpected memory quiz than the group who only listened and not doodled.  Another study from the University of Nottingham found that doodling or taking visual notes while studying science material can help enhance learning, engagement, and reasoning.

Teaching students to use doodling in class will help them remember more, focus on the topics at hand and generally enjoy the lessons more. The visual of doodle drawings during Social Studies can help memorize names, dates, and places near and far. The image of an atom is just a doodle enhanced. Spirals in science, notes in music, are all just fancy doodles.

Here’s some tips on how you can get students doodling in the classroom (we recommended starting with grades 3 and up):

  • Have the students use whatever paper they have and a pen or pencil.
  • Read to them the Declaration of Independence – or any passage from a book, poem, etc. – and ask them to doodle while you read. Let them know that their doodles will not be graded and are only for their use.
  • The next day discuss what they remembered. If they want to share let them share their doodles.

Doodling can also be a fun way to relax and relieve stress! For example, find some scrap paper, envelopes from old mail, paper grocery bags, the back of old letters and junk mail. Locate some type of writing or drawing tool, like crayons, pencils, pens, or markers.

Now in the middle of the paper draw a square. Don’t worry if it is lopsided. Next, add two lines going through it anywhere. Connect the lines at both ends. Add a circle to one side of the square. Put another circle inside that circle. Try some loops and swirls. Keep going. A picture might emerge or it might not. Either way, it doesn’t matter! You just doodled your way into a calming moment.

For more resources on the power of doodling, check out:

Blog Post Image Citation: Opal Ashcraft ‘Pal Book’. Manuscript. Fort Recovery, OH: 1950s. Ohio History Connection: Ohio History Connection Archives/Library, (accessed May 17, 2021)

Posted May 25, 2021

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