Posts Tagged 'understanding what you read'

Notetaking strategies (Part 1)

Recently, I have been working with some of my middle school/high school students on note taking strategies. It is sad really that when you walk into classrooms and ask teachers if they have taught their students how to take notes in their classroom about 9 out of every 10 I ask say, “No”.  The interesting part is that many of them require the students to take notes or they strongly encourage it and say, “You can use your notes for the test.” 

If a student does not know HOW to take the notes in a way that works for them, then the notetaking is useless.

We can not possibly expect students to be successful with taking notes without teaching it. It is important to remember that students need to take notes in a style that works for them.  They need to try a few different styles to find the right one for them. 

  It is essential that you teach them the strategy and not just give it to them and say, “Now do it.”

When using these you must practice this with them.

1. Model the strategy for them: This means read a section with them and you do it for them.  Before writing on each stickynote, say outloud what you are thinking.  This might be something like, “I think it was really important to know…”  You may also while reading, realize that you are already thinking about what needs to go on your notes. You read a sentence and say, wow! That’s important.  So say that out loud for them.  This is important.  Then go ahead if you feel the need and write that down on a note right then and then keep reading.  You can always add more paper or stickynotes.  You don’t have to fit it all on one. Include in your “thinking aloud” why you are choosing what you are choosing to write down.

2. Have them read the next section and discuss what they are choosing to write down.  Make sure they can say why they chose what they chose.

3.  If they really attached to the method and really get it, let them do several sections and then show it to you.  After a while, they are good to go, you don’t need to keep watching over how they are doing their notes.

4. If the strategy doesn’t stick and seem to be one they attach to Try Another One. 

I felt I should break the different strategies into different posts so please take the ideas here and apply them to the next few notetaking posts. I am only sharing a few strategies, there are many so don’t limit yourself to these. These posts include

Sticky Note Notes

T- Notes

Mind Mapping


Lynnette Crawley M.S. Ed

As an educational consultant, I work with families, students, adults, parents, teachers, schools and corporations in relationship to the many disabilities affecting their lives. Many times all anyone needs is a little coaching, direction or tools to close the gap between where they are and where they should be. Making progress is not good enough. We must be closing the gap. Email: everyonecanlearn@ymail.com

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