Note taking methods?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Historyct, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. Historyct

    Historyct Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2016

    Hello,

    Last year was my first year of teaching, and the special education teacher with whom I worked emphasized that I provide students with a print out of my PowerPoint slides so that they could fill in the blanks to take notes.

    Although this method was easy for students, I found that it was a BIG waste of paper and that it promoted rote learning more than anything else.

    When I was a student, I was always expected to take notes independently from what the teacher was saying or presenting. This no longer seems to be the expectation, at least where I teach.

    I wish, however, that I could have students do more of the latter than the former.

    What type of note taking methods do you use in your classroom that are based more on independent learning than note taking via fill in the blank? Keep in mind that I only have students take notes for 10-15 minutes a day.
     
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  3. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Aug 8, 2016

    I really like Cornell. I will be teaching it again this fall.
     
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  4. HistoryTeach4

    HistoryTeach4 Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2016

    I work in special education and my first year I had them fill in the blanks on the print outs to. I then moved on to highlighting the important information in my copy so that was all they copied down, instead of printing out the whole PP. I no longer make students take notes. I have noticed, with the population I work with, they get more from reading the notes and doing constant checking for understanding exercises than they did when taking notes.
     
  5. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Aug 14, 2016

    Fill in the blank notes are not very effective at all as you found. I would second the argument for Cornell notes - in particular the question column.

    The simply fact about notes is that the only work if students are interacting with them multiple times over a series of days. Just taking them once does very little good in the long run. The Cornell format encourages multiple repetitions of seeing, writing and reviewing the notes.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Aug 14, 2016

    They also require access to additional resources to add to the notes. A lecture that has no support materials a student can use to fill in the additional information or add to the notes will be just as useless as fill-in-the blank notes.

    I point this out because I've know several teachers who just provide lecture with no other resources to back up the information provided. The lecture is THE information and if you don't get it, you don't get it.
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 14, 2016

    I third Cornell notes. I do them differently though for my MS students. Instead of the question column, I provide them the key words that they should be writing notes about. In general, each key word is a different slide on my powerpoint. I also tell kids to NEVER NEVER copy the notes from the power point, and to summarize it in 7 words or less. (though my powerpoints rarely have more than 10 words per slide). This makes the kids learn how to paraphrase and glean the key ideas from each slide in their own words, while at the same time providing them cues to start taking notes.

    I always ask if anyone needs more time with a slide, and give them enough time to get the notes for each key word. If a student is absent, I let them copy the notes from someone else, or get them from my website (they're all on my Google Calendar for each class).

    Also my powerpoints are mostly just made from the textbook itself, so if they want, they can take notes from the textbook (but no one has ever needed to do that in my experience).

    The key with Cornell notes is that you teach students to use them properly. They're not just another annoying graphic organizer to fill out. I have my students fold over the summary portion immediately after the notes, and try to summarize the lecture from memory. Cold-calling is hugely helpful in remembering information. I also require them to draw in diagrams as homework in a third column I make for my cornell notes (this is my version of the question column I guess, since I gave them cue words).

    I then teach students how to use them to study. I have them fold over the keywords column (for regular cornell notes, this would be the questions column), and then try to cold-call the information about that keyword. Or they can flip it around if they need a little more help and try to recall the key term using the notes they took, or even the diagram. This is where Cornell notes becomes powerful. When I was in high school, they never taught me that, and as a result, I HATED cornell notes because teachers just treated it like a graphic organizer to fill out. It was like extra busy work, and wasn't framed as a good study tool.

    For my HS students I might take out the keyword column and have them make questions though, because they should be able to handle that. I also want to test out teaching students to make worthwhile study questions based off of their notes.
     
  8. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Aug 14, 2016

    Peregrin - my students write study questions on their notes and I grade them on test days. Since I use binders, all the notes go on the right side and all the questions are on the left side. Questions should correspond to the notes on that page. (Or if my students are left handed they can write notes on the left and questions on the right - just as long as it's uniform) I encourage them to write questions as we go through the information, not just do them all at the end. I model good questions and lazy questions throughout the year and they're welcome to copy the questions I use. The extra quiz grade helps the students who put in the work to so their questions well. It definitely helped my C/D students, both by bolstering their confidence and by giving them an extra cushion if they failed a test.
     
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  9. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Aug 14, 2016

    I see the keywords and general concept vocabulary as the factual knowledge students must know to be able to critically think and communicate deeper understanding. So, I can see any students who do not have the ability to immediately memorize key words and general concept vocabulary needing this information as well as the practice of adding questions which strengthens critical-thinking.

    Teaching the questioning skills is also important starting with the more common why to the more complex how do different things interact, what leads to that interaction, and what are the consequences of those interactions. This can apply to history, science, and other subjects.
     
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  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 14, 2016

    Exactly. They need to have some basic knowledge first to even begin doing more advanced thinking tasks with the basic knowledge. I think the pendulum has maybe swung a little too far away because many teachers automatically think memorization or asking kids to recall information is "bad teaching". It really is a necessary step, and like a pyramid, should make up a large foundation for the rest of the learning process. Critical thinking is great too! But I don't believe kids can truly create, argue, judge, or compare and contrast something, unless they know what those somethings are first.
     
  11. Aug 17, 2016

    I am a Chemistry Teacher who has always done note taking by having kids copy my powe points and I post them online for absent kids. Here is my issue. I normally start with a question of the day that relates to the previous lesson. I then lecture for 15 minutes. Then I do a check for understanding. Then lecture 10-15 minutes. Then check for understanding again. In the world of the Danielson Framework in Domain 3...this method would be needs improvement or even unsatisfactory. So how do I move my note taking days to better methods of instruction...ie not direct instruction?
     
  12. HistoryTeach4

    HistoryTeach4 Rookie

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    Aug 17, 2016

    I can only say what my administration likes to see to get higher scores in that domain.
    I use a program called Nearpod where I can upload my Power Points and create different types of questions to check for understanding. The students have their own device to go through the notes and questions while I control the presentation. I usually do check for understanding questions every 2-3 slides. I also do a full review at the end of each period using the Smart Board so students are out of their seats (my school is big on differentiation). I also have the students talk to each other to come up with answers and discuss opinions. Even though it's direct instruction it is broken up through the period.
    Again this is what worked with my administration and with the technology I have. Hope it helps a little.
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 18, 2016

    Again, Cornell notes might help here since they require annotation and summarization instead of just copying alone. Also maybe keep your first 15 minutes of lecture, but then for the second 10-15 minutes have students read from the book or from an article that teaches the same concept. Have them take notes on (you can do cornell notes again) and mark up the text (I do this with post-its if I can't write in my textbook) with annotations and thoughts. It's good to refer them back to the question of the day to remind them of what their notes and annotations should be answering. Then have kids talk with each other and share notes. You could even break up the text in a jigsaw like fashion and have them teach each other. They should be discussing how the text answers the focus question of the day. Check for understanding by having students share their answer for the focus question of the day, and write up answers on the board or chart paper. Tell students that they should be getting down new ideas they don't have.

    I personally can't lecture all day, and this lets me just sit back and watch the learning happen. I also usually try to break things up with a hands-on activity that demonstrates the concept (i.e. cold packs for exothermic reactions, chemical cards for balancing equations, practicing stoichiometry, etc.).

    Being able to walk around as they take notes and share also gives you a great idea of their understanding as a class.
     
  14. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Aug 18, 2016

    Look into using some POGIL exercises. Students can work through the material as small groups BEFORE you supplement with lecture. There are chemistry POGILS available from Flinn, and some teachers have written their own and shared them online.
     

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