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Note Taking

Description 

Students are often told to “take notes” on a text, film, or lecture, and teachers usually expect them to be able to do so effectively with minimal direction.  However, many students do not know either what to write down, or an effective format in which to write it.  As a result, their notes are not useful for initial learning, or for later review and reflection.  Through instruction, however, students can become effective note-takers, and note-taking can become an effective learning tool.  An important aspect of note-taking is that students learn to categorize information as topics and details, and to structure their notes accordingly.

Benefits 

When students structure their notes into the broad categories of topics and details, they are pushed to think critically about material as it is presented, to identify main ideas, and to categorize details according to the topics they support.  Through this analytical process students deeply engage with content in its initial presentation, and they create a record of the material that is structured to be maximally helpful in later review and reflection.

Content Area Adaptations 

Note-taking is useful in any setting in which students are presented with a large quantity of information and are expected to remember and learn the information relatively independently.  It is useful during lectures, presentations, films, observations, and reading.

Learning Strategies 

  • Determining Importance
  • Inferring
  • Synthesizing

Problem-Solving Models

Many students struggle when asked to solve problems that do not have a clear and prescriptive solution, and they may give up easily since they cannot envision a path or strategy to follow. This activity helps students to learn a clear set of general steps they can use to solve problems independently and confidently. Students learn to follow...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis

Conversation Roundtable

This activity helps students to visually and cognitively organize the different ways in which a poem reflects and comments upon a given theme. Through the use of a graphic organizer, students make explicit the implicit connections they may draw between related aspects of the text.

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis

Cornell Notes

Cornell Notes is a flexible note-taking system that helps students to create organized and useful class notes, and to review and learn from these notes later. It is simple to learn and widely adaptable to multiple contexts.

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis