Do you teach note taking?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by bholm83, May 13, 2019.

  1. bholm83

    bholm83 Rookie

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    May 13, 2019

    I'm trying to get my students to take better notes for my middle school health classes (6-8 grade). I'm familiar with graphic organizers, outlines and cornell notes, and was curious what method of note taking you guys think is best suited for middle schoolers? Also, I'm interested in the science of note taking as well. I was never taught how to take notes, so not even sure what the research says on effective note taking.

    I should note that, I don't lecture much in my class, but when I do introduce topics, or have a class discussion, I want students to be actively doing something. I do provide graphic organizers to a certain extent, but sometimes I struggle with finding what is an appropriate note taking method for what I'm discussing with my class.

    Appreciate any help you can give!
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    May 13, 2019

    Following! I want my students to take more efficient noted next year, as well.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    May 13, 2019

    Good note taking involves being able to discriminate between relevant information and the noise around it. The form is almost irrelevant whether it be a graphic organizer, an outline, or bulleted points in a notebook. The substance is what is important.

    The other skill needed is to be able to write one thing and listen to another at the same time and somehow focus on both at once.

    The first part of teaching how to take good notes is to ensure your discussion is designed such that a student can easily distinguish between what is important and what gives extra description. When starting the process, students need to be given a good signal about what is important either by direction or action. You may also need to actively explain off and on why one part is important to note and why another is not in mini-lessons. Then you also have to ensure that the notes will actually be relevant to the assessment they will be given on the information. Otherwise, it sets a tone that the notes are meaningless activities so that the student is doing something rather than nothing. Tying back the notes to the test when going over the test after it was graded with show the student how it all relates.

    It is harder to teach note taking when you are having off-the-cuff discussions in class because of the randomness of what may be said. It is best taught in a more controlled situation at first allowing students to learn to discriminate between what is important and what is not. Just because something may sound exciting or interesting as part of a discussion, it may be mostly meaningless to the overall information the student needs to know.
     
  5. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    May 14, 2019

    I use guided notes. (I teach 8th grade social studies)
    Basically I take my powerpoints, paste them into word, and then delete certain things and make the kids copy it down. Then as I'm talking I have the kids highlight things, circle things, and add additional information in the margins.

    When I taught high school I would create outlines where I would have basically a skeleton list of topics I was covering that day and then students would fill it out while I was talking. This is harder to do and I'm not sure the middle schoolers could handle it.
     
  6. iracebeth

    iracebeth New Member

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    May 15, 2019

    I am an EFL pre-service teacher (here in Chile it is called professional practicum, which is the last step to get my degree) and I think this is an interesting topic since we English teachers use multimedia in our classrooms and we require students to take notes. But the question is: How? Thinking deeply about this topic I realized that the tools that we teachers give are essential. First, because it matters what students' notes are, in order to continue to the next step in the lesson; and second, because note taking is a skill for life. Our brain is made to discriminate relevant information from irrelevant. That is why we teachers need to give students the tools to do so. For this, I created this draft list.
    • Be clear about the topic and remind students what the content is.
    • Be clear about the objective and the instructions for note taking.
    • Create a list of keywords for students to consider before taking notes.
    • Create a template for note taking considering what materials you are using.
    • Monitoring your students while taking notes will keep them focused on the task.
    • Check your students notes at the end of the activity.
    I am not certain about this strategies, but I am sure that they will help a lot instead of having students taking notes in isolation. Regards!!
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    May 15, 2019

    I personally do not teach note taking. I use guided notes and I have the kids fill in what I write on the board. Some of my students even struggle to do this. If I write something down on the side (aka not in a blank) I have to remind them to write it down at least 3 times.
     
  8. bholm83

    bholm83 Rookie

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    May 15, 2019

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I like the idea of key words being used as well as providing guided notes. My only concern with guided notes is, will it give students the skills to practice good note taking w/o guided notes in the future? I don't have an issue spending time teaching good note taking, but I'm already stretched thin for time so I imagine guided note taking makes the most sense with key words given to them ahead of time. I love graphic organizers as well so might use those as well.
     
  9. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    May 15, 2019

    For me, I would think starting with the missing words idea and gradually moving to the skeleton idea is an easy way to give a large amount of support when first learning note taking. Then, you release the responsibility to them as they learn to follow the skeleton.
     
  10. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    May 16, 2019

    I get my students to write down key ideas or definitions and examples only. I try hard not to bog them with excessive notes. Examples are a key to helping with understanding and even better if they can write their own examples. If possible I give the students 5 mins at the end of the lesson to expand on their notes, which again fosters understanding and helps turn effective note taking into effective studying.
    I also try to transition students to writing their own notes. I have my powerpoints on the board but I ask them to write their own notes in their own words without looking at the PowerPoint as much as possible. If they truly understand what I’ve explained they can write their own notes. This is also how I tell which kids have grasped the knowledge and which have not.
     
  11. MntnHiker

    MntnHiker Rookie

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    May 18, 2019

    I really like teaching Cornell Notes. I help them set up the paper. We have a discussion about the types of notes they should put in the right column - these notes are just for them so they should use shorthand, etc--and what should and shouldn't be included. What I like about Cornell notes is that they ask them to go beyond just writing stuff down. From there, they have to pull out key words and ideas after the lecture or reading is over and put them in the left column, and then take those key ideas and write a short summary over the lecture in their own language. This easily shows me who truly comprehended the material, and it should also show the students if they understood it enough to explain it back to someone.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    May 19, 2019

    A comment about Cornell Notes.

    I don't see Cornell Notes as much as a note taking system as a work product system. It really does many of the activities teachers did years ago not under the umbrella of notes.

    This is where the real bulk of teaching note taking comes. If students can't do this, Cornell Notes or any other method will not produce results. This is one of the huge learning components. This is actually a huge component to learning anything that must go beyond memorization.

    MntnHiker - how do you teach this skill to students?
     
    Flynn Billson likes this.
  13. fallenshadow

    fallenshadow Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2019

    I ask my students to take notes before class and start every lesson with a practice test using a clicker. Taking notes in class is multitasking.
     

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