I am one of those kids whose handwriting never got better between 4th grade and 11th grade. Some people are good with a pencil or a pen, but not me. Needless to say, I’m not a Picasso, or a Van Gogh, or any other artist. But when I get in the zone with my doodling, I’d like to think I’m a master artist (not really but its fun to say I am).
Alright yes, I have a history of being off task in school. But I think most of the things I do during class, rather than the regular listening and taking notes, honestly is better for my thinking. In 5th grade I was scolded nearly every day for reading during class. My mom’s famous line was “I don’t want to tell you to stop reading. . . but at least stop during class!”.
Today I do things more along the lines of reading the news on my phone, eating (I eat a lot), completing random tasks (yesterday I wrote out all 50 states on a piece of paper), lots and lots of desk drumming, and of course, doodling.
I love doodling. Fashioning a paper from blankness into something is one of the most fun things to do (of course blank white canvases are art in our world.). Doodling can help me focus on other things while I am in fact thinking about what I am supposed to be learning. Today during science class I found myself drawing arcs as we were learning about projectiles.
Some of the things I draw are squiggles, waves, infinite circles that get larger and larger, and my favorite, skylines. I like envisioning all of the things going on in between the buildings that I draw It blows my mind to think more detailed about the things I draw, like the infiniteness of the circles.
One day when I took out my books for homework my dad saw all my doodles. He realized, to our amazement, that he draws similar doodles to what I draw. When he is on the phone or something he can draw on a pad of paper and it helps him think. I believe me and him do this to exercise our minds.
Doodling honestly exercises my brain. I have fun doing it because it relaxes me, but it also makes me think. Sometimes though, I realize I am just doing it without even thinking. I really do love when that happens because it means I had random inspiration. Yes, it’s not the best thing to be off task during class. . . but it does play to a larger point that school should utilize the creativity of a doodler’s mind, but also make class work in a way that helps the doodler’s rather than hurts them. I get off task way too easily, and doodling fills my time. Rather than let me get off task. let my task be something I can be engaged by. Okay yes, this is incredibly broad, and I sound like I am stating the cliches, but here are a few ideas. 1. For a social studies class let the kids think about rapid urbanization during the industrial revolution by allowing them draw out how they see the city’s plan in a complex, seemingly incoherent way. Let the sloppy drawers have some fun too! 2. In science, let kids visualize motions by drawing a pictures of how they’d view it. 3. In a foreign language, let them play with the letters of the alphabet if it is something like Russian or Chinese.
Honestly, I think just giving kids a paper and a pencil and tell them do what they want with it will open a ton of doors to them in their thinking. I know I am not the most creative doodler, so that means that other people are also having the bursts of inspiration too. Let’s make use of these bursts!