Notes in math or no notes??

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by pi lover, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. pi lover

    pi lover Rookie

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    Aug 22, 2006

    I teach 7-9 math and I have always required my students to take notes with me in class. At the end of the chapter I collect them and give them points for completeness. I have a group of students this year that has several kids who are VERY SLOW at taking notes. I don't like to leave anyone behind, but I'm boring the rest of the class. I was just wondering how beneficial taking notes really is. Maybe I shouldn't require them to write them but to just pay attention and listen to the explanations. They would end up with more time to practice the actual work in class. Would that be more beneficial in the long run?? Any thoughts?
     
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  3. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Can you give outlines with space for fill-in-the-blank notes? That will help everyone, not just the ones who need some extra help! It may be a bit more work for you, but you'll have them for next year!
     
  4. pi lover

    pi lover Rookie

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    Aug 22, 2006

    That might work.
     
  5. Ann2006

    Ann2006 Cohort

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    That's a fantastic idea!!! You could also give some of your good notetakers some carbon paper to duplicate their notes to give to the others....the thing is, what would the others be doing during note-taking? HMMMM......
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    They NEED notes in math!!! Otherwise they get home and have no memory of how to do the problems! Mine read like instruction manuals, and the kids love them!

    Or think about putting the "Process" notes on the overhead, and lending the slowpokes the acetates after school.
     
  7. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I was a bad note taker in math. I taught myself everything I knew but looking at the back of the book for the answers and then working back forward till I got to the question. I also quickly forgot everything I learned and now doubt my math ability on many occassions. I should practice Algebra--- lol--- (I teach Pre-K btw--so I am not using complex math skills on a regular basis but I still think it's good to know).
     
  8. pi lover

    pi lover Rookie

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    Thanks for the support for notes. I've always felt they were important for the very reason you stated. Most of my students do not have anyone to help them at home, so their notes should be helpful. I've just never had so many students in one class who are so slow and can't keep up. I will somehow have to continue with notes and give a copy to the ones who are having trouble. I don't want the kids completely off the hook because they'll start goofing off. I'll just have to do things differently. I'll keep brainstorming. . .
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    That sounds right, pi. Give the slower ones a copy of the notes 'to help to fill in anything they might have missed in class'. Require them to finish their notes at home with that resource.
     
  10. DotyMath

    DotyMath Rookie

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    I use the overhead projector for my math notes.
    I write some things on a transparency with a permanent transparency marker, and fill things in with the wet erase transparency marker. That way, I can erase my writing in order to prepare for the next class.

    I also photocopy the transparency sheet onto regular white paper, and the slower kids can copy from the white sheet without having to look up so much. That also helps when students have been absent or come in late for whatever reason.

    If I have a student who is really low, I allow them to write on the white sheet and keep that for their notes in their notebooks.
    I really explain things throughly - complete with step-by-step written directions with the examples. This helps when they get home to work, and mom and dad don't have a clue what is going on (most of my parents are 'afraid' of math for some reason).

    I also have notebook checks once a week - sometimes I take up their whole notebook, sometimes I ask for parts of it, sometimes I walk around the room checking it. The students never know what I may ask them to do, so they must be prepared! :)

    I have given notebook tests, but this didn't work in my math classes as my students would wait until the day of the test to do the work! This was especially true with the Daily Math Review problems I have on the board when they enter the room. I spend about three or four minutes going on the Daily Math Review problems at the beginning of class. It is a good time to get them all on track and with 7/8 graders, you have to repeat yourself a few times!

    Hope this helps! :)
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Or, just put a blank transparency over the notes. You can write the add ins on the cover sheet, and replace it with a new blank for the next class.
     
  12. pi lover

    pi lover Rookie

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    Thanks everyone. These are all good ideas. The main thing is I want everyone to try to take notes so that they aren't goofing off. However, I don't want the slower ones to be discouraged, etc. If they know that they'll have some help with notes, maybe they'll pay more attention to what concept we're covering instead of just copying stuff off the board.
     
  13. Ann2006

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    This year we will be using McDougall Littel Math books for 6, 7, and 8th. They come with Note-Taking Guides ...one for each student and they are consumable. These workbooks are notes to follow along with the lessons as you teach. Student fill in blanks as you go along. It should really help everyone stay on task and get notes they can use. Can you find out if your math book publisher has these?
     
  14. DotyMath

    DotyMath Rookie

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    I tried that before, but the cover transparency kept sliding off and confusing my middle school kids. :eek:
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 23, 2006

    Try tape or paperclips along an edge, or a write-on wipe-off sheet protector.
     
  16. ~Teacher~

    ~Teacher~ Rookie

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    Aug 31, 2006

    I have my students use notecards to take their notes on...they are small and easy to store and if they can, they could laminate them and use them for review all year long. I also photocopy my notecard for my "slower" students...they get more out of listening then stressing over keeping up with writing.
     
  17. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    I am fond of guided notes and we were shown evidence that this is a very effective form of helping kids learn. You leave open spaces for parts of the sentence and kids write in the answer as you explain it.

    Here is an example:

    There are as many as __ or as few as __ days in a month. The month with the fewest days is ______. Twelve months make a _____. A year contains ____ days.

    That was just one I made up really quick but it makes it easy for the slower writers and it is a proven method.
     
  18. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    I like the fill-in the blank notes. I have been doing a right side example/left side of page step-by-step directions format right now and like it but some kids are still learning the format and this would be a great way to get them accustomed to how I want them to set up their notes and then later I could save copies and have them copy their notes themselves.
     
  19. bierko

    bierko Rookie

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    You could have students do notes on their own for extra creds. :)
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Here's my system for math notes.

    I introduce a new topic and explain what it is and why we're doing it. Then I talk us through the first example, doing it slowly on the board.

    Then, I write "Process" on the board. I write:
    1. Copy the problem
    Then I ask the class how we got from step one to step 2, and write down what they say:
    2. Set one side = to 0
    How do we get from step 2 to 3?
    3. Factor completely

    and so on. I sollicit their responses and paraphrase what they say.

    I stumbled on this by accident about 20 years ago while teaching Logs in a Junior math class. (The AP, also a math teacher, happened to be walking by and stopped in to watch. He was so impressed, he wrote me a memo commending me for the approach!) Best of all, it WORKS! The kids aren't mindlessly copying down my words; they're taking a look at the problem to see how it works. And they're learning how to analyze a new type of problem. It also helps 7 or 8 hours later when they're trying to tackle the homework.

    This has been my secret weapon to teaching math.
     
  21. shadowrose45

    shadowrose45 Rookie

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    Hi

    some researchers are finding that it's actually better to give the kids the notes ahead of time. This way they have the material that they need to be responsible for, and it's legible, and they can spend their class time listening to you, not trying to keep that pencil moving.

    If you think of it- when they are taking furious notes, they are not really 'hearing' you.
     
  22. pi lover

    pi lover Rookie

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    I know they don't listen while they are writing, which is why it seems to take forever to cover material. I try to give them plenty of time to write while I'm not talking. Anyway, I've gotten lots of different ideas to try.

    aliceacc--thanks for the tip about having the students tell you what to write for the process. I'm going to try that.
     
  23. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Few kids seem to know how to use notes wisely these days. Especially in math. Any suggestions?
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    You're welcome. It takes a little longer, but I think it's SO worth it!! The kids actually understand the process! And, as another benefit, they have real instruction-manual type notes to study from at test time!
     
  25. mathandme

    mathandme Rookie

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    That is genius, thanks for the idea. I will implement your system starting tomorrow Alice :)
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Let me know how it goes:D
     
  27. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Alice, I might have actually liked math if that was the approach my teachers took in jr. high/high school. I always "got" math, because I'm a logical thinker, but I never really "liked" it. What a great idea :)
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    clarnet, wouldn't you love to have been in Alice's class??

    I'm not nearly as good at this, but I do something like this with my test-prep students, and it's wonderful to watch the little lightbulbs coming on over the heads of people who were sure they Just Weren't Ever Going To Understand Math, Ever.

    This kind of procedural thinking works across the curriculum, too.
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Thanks guys-- I hope it gives you the success it's given me!

    It's funny too-- once I hit on it, it was an "aha!!" moment-- I wondered why no one had ever just TOLD me to do it that way!!
     
  30. pi lover

    pi lover Rookie

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    When I give my students notes, I give them a list of steps (process). I don't know why I never thought about having them help come up with what to write after seeing me do one or two. I can't wait to try it with a class. :)
     
  31. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    For someone who was never very good in math - I needed the notes to help me figure everything out when I was without the teacher. I think it may have helped me to have an outline and then just add to what the teacher already had for me.
     

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