science without much notetaking

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by robyn, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. robyn

    robyn New Member

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    Jul 9, 2007

    I am a second year science teacher with science grades 7-12. The thing that both the students and I hate is the note taking. I was giving way too many. Does anyone have suggestions for science class without many notes? I'm afraid if I dont give notes they wont get the info. If I don't give many notes, I maybe should give more practice work--I'm so new, and trying to figure how to make science fun while teaching 5 different preps and still have time for my family. Help please.
     
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  3. wig

    wig Devotee

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  4. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I teach Chemistry and Physics and give very few notes. I have my notes on PowerPoint for them to download. (Each student has a laptop computer.) We discuss the notes and then apply them to many labs, activities, and practice problems. I also did this at a school that did not have the computers by copying the "notes." I think they get more out of the discussion because they do not spend all their time worrying about what they need to copy down. The discussion also gives them time to ask questions. Gina
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2007

    Personally, the way I learn is to write stuff down. Afterwards I don't often have to look at it-- I can leave the directions home and usually be OK.

    But I would really struggle in a class where I wasn't taking notes.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't really know if you're going to be able to get around the note-taking. Remember that you're preparing a lot of these kids for college, where they will have to know how to take notes just in order to survive.

    If it helps any, I know that we took oodles of notes in my high school science classes, but I don't really remember them. I do remember having a fun time in those classes, though, mostly because of all the labs and experiments we did. I bet you can find a happy medium between a more tedious (but essential) task like taking notes and the super fun stuff like hands-on activities.
     
  7. sdzbgdr

    sdzbgdr Rookie

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    I do not think notes are necessairly all that important. I think to many preps is important. I think you should have the time to get a good feeling of where the students are and how to get them where they need to be. I guess I think short quizzes and practice are more important.
     
  8. Bitsy Griffin

    Bitsy Griffin Companion

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    Jul 9, 2007

    One year, I did a very lab-oriented class. The kids kept a lab book and did a fabulous job. We spent a lot of time at the beginning of the year with the process of keeping a lab book. They had a check list for what to include. We started by doing the entire lab up in the front of the room and brainstorming what to write and I gradually turned each piece over to them. Periodically, they picked a lab for a formal write-up.

    When I graded, I had to get the lab books back to them quickly. Sometimes I checked to make sure every section was included, sometimes, I graded one or two sections in detail (they never knew which would be graded). This ended up being a great year. It was my last year to teach science.

    Setting up all those labs was the tough part, but it was contained during the day (and they were busy days!). The only tests we took were at the beginning over process. Then we'd take periodic quizzes over the labs and they could use their lab books for information.

    Lot's of discussion that year.
     
  9. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    I agree with this completely! Kids are in school to learn content, but also to learn how to DO SCHOOL. They need to learn how to be a student in future years. I taught 8th grade science, and I felt I had to practice note-taking with the kids so they would be able to take notes in high school. I expect that in high school they do something similar in preparation for college.

    I think a good method would be to break up the period: mini-lesson with notes/lecture; discussion, practice, lab, activity, etc.
     
  10. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    This is true but even so many of the college teachers are now putting the notes on Internet and students spend more time listening and questioning. They do need to add to the notes that they print out. This is what I do with my students. They can print out the notes and add or highlight the important points. I do not totally think that we can do away with notes but with technology, note taking has become the smaller focus in my class. As for those who learn by writing things, I include activities for them in my differentiating of the activities.:)
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm sure you know your stuff, but I would have failed chem had I not taken lots of notes.
     
  12. Terrence

    Terrence Comrade

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    I felt like I was giving tons of notes, and I was. Notes are important. I was going to try to go the no notes route, but I don't think it's possible. I'm going to try and structure the days I give notes by doing short bursts of notes with some sort of activity. I am using an interactive notebook next year, so it will make note taking more engaging. I am going to try to do an inquiry lab before the actual notes so that they will be more engaged to figure out why/how about the concept. I am going to try to alternate notes with labs. One day notes, one day lab, etc.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    And keep in mind: material that's second nature to you is brand new to your students: an entirely different language. It's hard to learn all that info, and learn it well, without notes.

    Sure, it would be great to make science fun. But if it's at the expense of getting them to really know the material, it's the wrong decision. Kids need notes. As they're going through your class, they'll agree that the fun class is the place to be. But speak to them at the final exam, in an upper grade, or when they return back from college for a visit. Without exception, the teachers they appreciate most are those who made the work as interesting as possible, but who gave good notes, taught them to take good notes, and did a thorough job with the material.
     
  14. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    In my daughter's AP Physics and Chem classes, the teachers copied and gave the kids an outline of the lecture/notes, and then the kids filled in what they needed.
     
  15. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    I agree that labs are important. But, so are notes. I teach several different levels of science and with my lower kids I try to make sure they have some notes because it is a good skill. I also, through, limit their notes.

    I also find packets to be helpful. I give brief notes and then have them work on problems where they can use their notes, their books, their friends, and me to find answers.

    I also like to throw in stories with note and find things that are interesting for examples. We also try to keep note interactive. Ask questions, have students write on the board, and be active in lecture.

    Kids also seem to enjoy power point. A search on line will often yield interesting pictures and animations to include in your presentations. I also keep my presentations interactive with questions and discussion prompts.

    Labs are a wonderful way of learning. The first full week of school my kids are out on the school grounds trying to figure out how to collect data on trees. They are messy and disorganized at first. They have no idea how to figure out how tall the tree is with only a meter stick. Their notes have arrows and things crossed out and charts that don’t fit onto one page. But, at the end they have learned methods and understand the execution far better then any lecture could have taught them.
     
  16. Lab Lady

    Lab Lady Rookie

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    Gina do you use a textbook or rely more on the powerpoint notes if thats what you use? It seems like it would be better for the kids to have the powerpoint notes and fill in what they need to since they have textbook aversions.

    Bitsy what do you teach? I like labs alot. They are complicated to create but then everyone has a common experience to draw from.
     
  17. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Ihave a textbook for Chemistry but do not have one for physics. I give PowerPoints with the main information but they do add things to the PowerPoint as we discuss the subject. I am in a different situation than most people. All of my students have laptop computers that they keep with them at all times. I stopped trying to have them take notes because most were just typing and not really even paying attention to what they were typing because it is so automatic to them. They never really got involved in the note taking until I went to the PowerPoints. Before I started this method of discussing instead of them typing everything that I said they were almost like robots and now we actually discuss. We also do lots of other types of activities including problem solving which I require that they write with an actual pencil on paper. (Some teachers at my school do not use paper anymore--everything is electronic.) Is there anyone else out there that is at a laptop school?:)
     
  18. Lab Lady

    Lab Lady Rookie

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    Gina how do they keep the students on notetaking and not other computer things.

    My kids were constantly going for their cell phones which drove me nuts.
     
  19. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    You can't always. We are trying a program this year that will allow the teacher to monitor all the computers in the classroom from her computer and also limit the programs that they can access. For instance if we are working on Excel and Word, then those would be the only programs that they could access. The computer is a great tool to have but it can definately be a problem.:)
     
  20. wig

    wig Devotee

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    So, your classes were lab based. Am I assuming correctly that the notes were student generated as opposed to teacher directed? Could you give an example of how you would accomplish this?
     
  21. Bitsy Griffin

    Bitsy Griffin Companion

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    Well, everything started out more teacher generated. (the labs, of course remained that way because I had to set them up. although there were choices semester two.) The notes they took, and we did take notes, were necessary to understand the lab itself. So at the beginning of the year, I lectured. Then for the background section of the lab, we went back to the notes and asked what translated from the notes to background material for the lab.

    As the kids learned the process, I lectured a bit, then I'd show them reference materials and explain what they were. Then we moved to more and more reference materials with them being required to find some themselves.
     
  22. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Note taking is an essential skill, kids have to be used to doing it. My kids take notes 2-3 times per week, having fun activities, projects, skits, videos, role plays, act it outs, and other history alive activites in between. I use a TV with power points for my notes with lots of pictures and sometimes little video clips. The science teachers at my school usually give notes for about 15 minutes or less 3-4 times per week. My notes usually take about 20-30 minutes.
     

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