Not taking notes!!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Pi-R-Squared, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Aug 30, 2013

    I suspect that a good number of my students are not taking notes when I am teaching. They need these notes for I give examples that will help with their homework! Now, can anyone suggest what I can do to nudge my kids into taking good notes?
     
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  3. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Aug 30, 2013

    Have occasional open note quizzes or tests, or provide them with outlines.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    And in class, stop a kid who isn't writing with "Tom, you need to copy this down!"
     
  5. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Aug 30, 2013

    Is it possible some don't have efficient note-taking skills? Sometimes, I think we educators take for granted that students just know how to take notes. Taking notes well is a skill. Perhaps ask them to take notes and let them know that they will need to turn in their notes on any particular day. Then go over what they've written, and assess their note-taking abilities.

    Or spend a few days TEACHING how to take notes WHILE you are teaching your lesson.

    Just an idea. :)
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This. Be assertive and direct.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that was the thing that gave me the most difficulty as a new teacher: the idea that I could and SHOULD direct my kids. I try to always be polite, but I have that authority and my job is to exercise it.

    So, sure, I'll say "Please" when I can, but there's no question that it's a command, not a request, when I tell a kid to do something.
     
  8. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I usually say with emphasis, "If you got it WRONG, you need to write this down! I'm not up here writing for my benefit!"
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Even this can be too general. Students never think that these sorts of directives apply to them. Specifically address particular students and tell them what they need to do.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nope, that gives the kids who got it right carte blanche.

    And getting it right now in class is an entirely different matter from remembering it 10 hours later for homework, or 10 months later for a final exam.

    You're not allowed to opt out of taking notes, regardless of your grades.

    And don't make it about why YOU'RE writing, make it about why THEY need to write. Their response to your comment (even if it's under their breath) is that you're paid to write it. Don't even give them the opportunity to think that.
     
  11. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    I frequently give my kids a handout to take notes on. If you're graphing something, it takes too much time for them to draw a coordinate plane and copy the graph (and so, most of them don't do it). On the other hand, if I give them a handout that says Example 1: Graph y=..... and then give a table and graph, they always do it. It allows us to cover more problems since they don't have to copy the problem statement and such.

    I know to some this may seem like babying them, but I think you should at least do this at the start. (Particularly at a middle school---I give handouts for sophs and jrs at the HS.)
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Yep, that works great.

    Or the homework the night before we do graphing includes setting up 10 graphs, 2 to a page. Just set them up. That means that the next day, we don't lose any time waiting for them to do the setup.

    The kids love that sort of homework, since it means they can do mindless homework as they listen to music or watch TV.
     
  13. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    I found this video yesterday: How to Take Notes! You could try showing it to the kids in class or assigning it for homework. Then have a class discussion about note-taking skills.
     
  14. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Be as explicit with your directions as possible. Before you start giving notes, tell the students to take out their notebooks. If anyone doesn't have one out on their desk (or doesn't begin writing when you are teaching), call them to task. Don't teach unless you have 100% compliance--otherwise students will get a mixed message!
     
  15. Listlady

    Listlady Companion

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    My students are having the same issues: they have trouble taking notes while listening AND while reading. I'm working on it.

    I try not to write everything for them: sometimes I write nothing at all and just make them take notes while listening. I tell them ahead of time that they are to take notes, and it takes a while. I slow down, repeat things, and spell as necessary. I will sometimes give them graphic organizers with lots of blanks, too. I will occasionally take up their notes and grade them or quiz them on the info. It just depends.

    For taking notes while reading, I found something online (maybe on Pinterest) over the summer that I've tried already this semester. Seems to work well. I'm not sure what it's called (and I'm not using the exact activity), but I'm just calling it Note-Shrinking.

    Here's what we did:

    1. We read text aloud (several pages). I gave students highlighters to mark what they felt was important as we read.

    2. Then, I timed them: 15 minutes to take notes from the article onto the front side of a sheet of notebook paper. (They like being timed for some reason--keeps them working, too).

    3. Then, I gave them 6 minutes to transfer the info from the sheet of paper to the front side of a lined post-it (about 4 x 6 or so). They aren't allowed to change the size of their writing.

    4. Then, they got 3 minutes to transfer that info to the front of a normal sized (3 x 3?) post-it.

    When it was over, I asked who had the info I would have had on mine. Most did. And when I graded it, I only had to grade the little post-it.

    I know that this note-shrinking exercise is more for taking "reading" notes, but they need all the practice they can get. This helps, too, with summarizing and identifying main ideas, etc.

    Something I may also try is a simple "exit slip" sort of activity. Give them a short 3-5 question slip at the end of class about the information we discussed that day and let them use their notes from the class period. If enough of them do poorly the first time (because they didn't take notes), they'll be sure to be more careful next time.
     
  16. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I do guided notes. When I teach from a powerpoint I either have guided questions they need to answer like "what are three important functions of DNA?" Those are for more advanced kids. For kids at a lower level I have the exact power point printed out with blanks. As I go through the power point the kids have to fill in the blanks, label diagrams, etc. Then at the end I have a few open ended questions they have to answer by using the notes they took. I've found that to be a really great way for kids to pay attention to what I'm saying, be a bit more involved and to actually have notes to study!
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Pi, here's how I structure a typical algebra class. (Geometry is a different animal alltogether.)

    Do now problem(s) while I take attendance and check the homework.

    We go over the homework, then the do now.

    I'll introduce the topic, and lead them through 2 or 3 examples.

    Then... and here's the big part... I write the word "Process" on the board. I leave one complete example up, and I ask

    "What kind of problem is this?".... A quadratic equation

    "How do we know?" ... it has an x squared.

    "What's the first step?" .... set it equal to zero

    "Then what do we do??"... factor

    And so on. I write step by step instruction in their own words (correcting if and when absolutely necessary.) They know that they can change the wording if doing so will help it make more sense to them, though they may want to run the alternate wording by me first.

    We work our way through to the end of the problem, then consult those notes as we do the next example.

    Their math notebook is part workbook, part instruction manual. They buy into taking notes because the notes are in their own words, not full of buzzwords that make no sense to them.

    it's funny, because when I get some of those same kids for Geometry, inevitably they'll ask for "Process notes"
     
  18. Nichole906

    Nichole906 Rookie

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    Sep 15, 2013

    I agree with the idea of handouts. I do this with my freshmen and sophomores - it works well. I think kids find it comforting to know exactly where and what to write, especially in the beginning. I also like Alice's idea - I might try it :)
     
  19. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I teach freshmen and sophmores and use a lot of graphic organizers/guided notes. Often they're just a printed outline, but since i have to give them so many maps/charts anyway, I just put it all on one sheet. My notes on the board or on PPT reflect exactly what they need to write. I give more detail in my stories (everything in history is story), but anything that's testable is there to be copied down.

    Not taking notes is not an option. Refusing falls under non-compliance for me, so I would follow my normal disciplinary steps. Warning, parental contact, detention, referral. If we've reached the referral point, that means the student's refused to take notes for 4 days running and I would be hopping mad by that point. :p
     
  20. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Sep 15, 2013

    We're trying the Cornell system with classes this year. I will have to let you know how it goes. This is being implemented because many middle school students don't seem to know how to take notes.
     

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