Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Note Taking in Class: Why It Needs to be Taught

I am sitting at my desk right now, watching my students struggle. After six months of modeling note taking skills, I have now turned them loose to create their own notes. They have been taught several different styles of note taking including Cornell notes, formal notes, and webbing. They have options of using paper and note cards or anything else they think will help.

The assignment is for them to read a section in their science textbook. They are supposed to take notes and when finished they can use their notes to answer questions on a worksheet. The focus is not on the content, it is on being able to identify important information and write them down in a useful manner.

Although it may sound mean, I am taking some pleasure in seeing my "better" students struggle. When things are easy for them, they don't learn what it is like to have to put forth effort.

When they have finished their notes and answered the questions on the worksheet I will have them review the questions they missed. It is important that they reflect on what they were successful with and what they need to work more on. I will post some of their reflections later.


venhi said...

Interesting and necessary..thoughts need to be carefully organized for later recall. Too many distractions are creating jumbled brain function. Constant interruption threatens any real learning of anything. Mentally connecting a sequence of events through specific note taking techniques is necessary for subject matter fluency (for adults too). Great article here

jkmcclung said...

Very necessary, it's amazing how many students make their way to college without ever knowing how to take notes. Glad you posted this, I am going to echo this in my lesson today.

Mr. McClung