Nifty Notetaking

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SWBAT find and write useable facts for use in a research project.

Big Idea

It is tricky to find facts and remember them. Students need practice in finding facts and keeping them neat. Neat notes will help students create an A+ project.

Finding Facts within a Book:

5 minutes

For this lesson I want my students to use their history book. I want them to get use to finding facts within their textbook and figure out ways to use that information to help them while researching. 

As an introduction, I find it very important to explain that the key to a good research paper or project is in finding the facts and then the note taking process. I start by asking one of my students to choose a page from our history book and that I am going to magically show them how I can keep notes and find interesting facts. It seem that if I use the word "magic" I grab many of student's attention. 

Once the page is chosen, I explain that I am going to read my page first. I am going to choose to read in gear one or slowly to gather information. Then I am going to use gear three or quickly scan looking for the interesting facts I found while reading. The next part is modeling just that and I do it out loud so they can see my thinking. 

Before I start to skim and scan, I explain that I am now going to write down those interesting facts using bullets. I model this right after explaining and make sure to point out what a bullet is. I model writing four facts. 

The last piece of the introduction is having a quick discussion on what my students saw me do and why did I do it that way. 

Fun and Functional Foldable:

2 minutes

Sometimes the hardest and most task demanding activity can be creating a foldable. I have often wondered why this can go so wrong. This part of the lesson requires the creation of a foldable that will hopefully go very smoothly for you. It is an easier one to follow all the steps for.

The foldable design is to create eight small boxes that students can use to gather facts in. The great part is that by folding it in either direction can give them eight boxes. After they have folded it, I ask them to number the boxes 1-8. I explain that inside each box they should have one fact and that the fact needs to be a complete sentence written in their own words not copied from the book. 

To help them be more successful I guide them through what facts to look for. SO in the case of regions I asked them to put the following types of facts into each numbered box:

1. climate

2. places/ cities

3. scenic sites to visit or places of interest

4. Animals

5. Plants

6.-8. Any facts they found interesting



Filling in the Facts:

20 minutes

For the fact searching I give them the pages that they should focus their attention on. I have found that allowing them to discover the pages takes too long, and they begin to wander through the book aimlessly. 

They need to start by reading their section on their Arizona region and then go back and locate the facts they want to write. I point out that to look for facts first might seem fast but will really slow them down. Reading their section helps focus their brain and it processes what it needs to faster so it's important not to miss this step.


Final Project:

30 minutes

Here are some examples of how students used there notes in a used folder. They used the collected notes and a map of the regions we completed in class. They took it home to color, add pictures, and get creative with it.