Teaching note-taking in high school

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Portulaca, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Portulaca

    Portulaca Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2012
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2014

    I am starting my first full-time job, and was hoping for some advice on how to teach note-taking to high school kids who haven't really been required to do much of it beyond maybe copying a few words from a PowerPoint slide into the blanks on their outlines. (I could be wrong about that, but based on familiarity with other schools in the area, I am fairly sure this will turn out to be the case.)

    So..first of all, I'm thinking I definitely need to write the notes for them at first, explaining why I write certain things and not others. At first I was toying with the idea of recording myself giving a lecture and then playing it while I demonstrated how to take notes on it in "real time," but I think that's probably way too overwhelming to start off with. Has anyone ever done a lecture where they stop frequently to summarize and write notes, like maybe every minute or two? Is that even a good idea? Or should I start by having them work on taking notes out of the book, which I would think is easier, and which I doubt they've done much of either? My hesitation with that is that I'm actually a pretty decent lecturer, and the textbook is extra-mediocre, so I'd prefer not to start the year off too heavily with textbook work and put them completely off the material. Anyway, any and all thoughts are appreciated! These are 10th-12th graders, by the way.
     
  2.  
  3. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,026
    Likes Received:
    237

    Jul 31, 2014

    I think I would start with a more concrete example from a book, but even there I agree that modeling is key. We introduced the Cornell system last year, and many of the kids hated it. However, by the end of the year, they were using it on their own - even when not required to do so. They could tell that it worked!
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Jul 31, 2014

    I agree with starting out with a reading. This is something I've struggled with. They're so slow at taking notes. They struggle with picking out the most important info too. I'll be following this closely.

    I've done Cornell Notes in the past. They went okay. I'd like to teach them many options.
     
  5. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    38

    Jul 31, 2014

    I teach freshmen and I write down (either on the board or in PPT) everything I expect them to write down. I give more details (history is a story, after all) verbally, but if it's testable, it's on the board or in the PPT. They write whatever I write.
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Jul 31, 2014

    I think this can be a good start but by senior year in a college prep class, they need to be able to do it on their own.
     
  7. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    38

    Jul 31, 2014

    I think the history teachers who teach 11th and 12th grade use Cornell. Incoming freshmen to my school have been basically spoonfed in middle school (separate issue), so even taking the notes that I give is a whole new world. So, I make things very clear. I count the number of words they write (never more than 165) and usually use an outline format. The majority of the freshmen I teach failed their reading and writing standardized exams in 8th grade. If I can get them in the habit of taking notes every day without complaint and using those notes to study, I'm happy. Someone else can help them develop further down the line.
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Jul 31, 2014

    I hear you on the spoonfed information. Fill in the blank dominates our middle school. Our problem is no one does what you do. There's no in-between. I try with my 10th graders but we just don't take that many notes.
     
  9. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    78

    Aug 1, 2014

    I'm guilty of using the guided notes. When I do US History its so slow waiting for them to write the notes. Honestly in the classes I took in college I remember there being quite a few teachers who just posted their lecture notes online. However my guilt comes from how much paper I use doing notes this way. I probably used 2 packs a week at least. Luckily my school doesn't seem to ration paper like many do.

    I definitely want to try something different this year because I felt like the students weren't learning from their notes. They didn't retain anything. I gave study guides that covered the notes word for word and the students acted like they had never seen the information(I looked at the notes when I made the study guide, and the questions were in order). I'm going to look into the cornell method and I'm open to anything else you guys suggest.
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Aug 1, 2014

    I had a professor in college who only spoke. He literally never wrote a single word down. That one class alone was worth learning note taking!
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,196
    Likes Received:
    2,125

    Aug 1, 2014


    2 comments:
    First, it really doesn't matter what most of one person's professors did at one school. We aren't teaching academic skills for a very defined circumstance. We are teaching academic skills so a student can be successful in the majority of circumstances. I've all too often heard individual circumstances used to eliminate teaching skills. I can see a circumstance used to defend teaching something additional, but not dumbing down skills.

    I agree that students don't learn from guided notes. Most often they are just copying a word or two or a short phrase. That is not why "taking notes" works. The student isn't thinking using guided notes just giving the appearance of looking busy and paying attention.

    Can your kids summarize? Many of our HS students can't, except for the true AP level kids. Do they know what is important from a discussion or lecture? If not, the structure of the notes won't matter, and you will have a lot of teaching on your hands. The other part of note-taking for some kids is adding something that triggers the conversation. Sometimes it is something interesting but almost irrelevant added to the notes that will do it and sometimes it is not. Cornell notes are good, but they don't always work best for all students. I used to be able to visualize my notes on the page. So, during a test, I could see my notes. Color really helped me as well as my own key system to identify facts, vocabulary, or other types of information. Sometimes a key word would trigger the part of the lecture and I would be on replay during the test. So, having the kids know how they remember things is a good thing to discuss.
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,003

    Aug 1, 2014

    I teach middle school so it may be a bit different from me. For middle schoolers I really have to pare down the presentations I give to just the bare minimum they need to know. I also provide minimally guided notes. I essentially give them the topic or question, and they need to listen to the presentation to write something about it or answer the question.

    I tell them to paraphrase as much as possible, but most still try to copy it word for word. Even if they do, there's not too much on the slides so they don't spend a lot of time copying.

    I also do cornell notes, and I have to say that cornell notes are only worth it if you use them how they're supposed to be used. That means taking time with students to develop questions, spending time in class writing a summary. Taking time before a test to use them for review by folding over the questions and quizzing themselves.

    It's more of a self-assessment strategy than a note-taking strategy.
     
  13. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,934
    Likes Received:
    257

    Aug 1, 2014

    I'm not trying to be flippant, but why? Cornell notes, at least when done properly, incorporate everything we know about how the brain actually learns information. It is an incredibly flexible format so I wonder about the desire to find something else.

    To the original topic, I'd teach them Cornell notes. The actual skill of learning what to write as notes comes with practice. The Cornell format ensures that even if they are not adept at that skill they will still get great use out of the notes they do take.
     
  14. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Aug 1, 2014

    I've never liked using them myself. I strongly prefer typing my notes in outline format and color-coding. It's how I do best with notes. I've had students who need to lay it out visually in a graphic organizer for best success. I believe there's more than one best way to take notes and it's going to depend on the kid.

    I also used different note-taking strategies for different classes on ocassion in college too. My French notes looked very different from my bio notes, for example.
     
  15. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,934
    Likes Received:
    257

    Aug 2, 2014

    I agree with all that. However, you can, and should, do all those things in Cornell notes - that's what I love about it. The right-side notes portion can be anything. Peregrin described it well saying Cornell is more of a interaction/thinking strategy with notes than a specific note format.

    I will absolutely agree that doing them digitally is a bit more of a hassle (but so is using graphic organizers of any sort.)
     
  16. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Aug 2, 2014

    I'm just honestly not a fan of the set up. When I'm reviewing my notes, I want them to go straight down the page and read left to right. I don't want two columns of anything.

    It worked very well for me all through college. I didn't have any issues with tests or studying. Note cards are still my favorite way to study.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Zine,
  2. Missy,
  3. miss-m
Total: 324 (members: 5, guests: 290, robots: 29)
test