My classes are held in 100-minute block sessions every other day. The lesson below outlines activities on three main types of note-taking for college and career readiness. Please view the video in this section for more information.
Today I explore note-taking with my students through individual work, small-group collaboration, and class discussion.
To draw on student experiences and background knowledge, I ask students to do directed freewriting on a series of questions (Assignment: Directed Freewriting on Notetaking). I use a picture of a baby bobcat (Bobcat is our mascot) when displaying the assignment on my projector since a study by Nittono, Fukushima, Yano, and Moriya (2012) found that students are more productive after focusing on pictures of baby animals.
I circulate as students are writing and read their writing clandestinely. After 10 minutes, I begin circulating again and reading student writing (Student Work: Directed Freewriting) with their knowledge, stopping to talk to students about their note-taking strategies while sharing my own (summarizing, paraphrasing, selecting direct quotes when appropriate).
I tell students that today we will be exploring note-taking since it is a skill they need not only for high school, but for college and career readiness. This year writing across the curriculum is a major focus, and as part of this initiative, I delivered professional development to the entire faculty on note-taking a few weeks ago.
I have adapted the presentation for students, focusing on how they use note-taking in the small-group activity. To begin (PDF: Keynote Presentation on Notetaking), I ask students to get into groups of 3-5 (they know each other fairly well and stay focused in groups) and choose a recorder to write their answers to the following discussion questions on Slide Two:
I tell students to use their directed freewriting as a springboard for discussion and remind them that we will debrief as a class with each group sharing answers in the all-class setting. This discussion engages students; I find them involved in fruitful discussion, talking about specific ways they use notes in content area classes.
Using notes taken during the discussion, each group shares its answers (Student Work: Small-Group Collaboration). All group responses are below in italics.
When I ask students to identify one similarity among answers, they come to consensus: When taking notes, most students write too much or cannot follow what they are writing. I tell them that today we will explore three types of note-taking to help them improve their skills:
Before moving on, I give students a comical brain break by sharing and explaining Slide Three, which shows a funny graphic about six different types of note-taking (the boring, the sharpie, the graphical, the nerd, the lazy, the genius).
I review the three types of note-taking on Slide Five of the presentation (PDF: Keynote Presentation on Notetaking):
I explain that we are going to engage in hands-on activities to review and/or provide students with additional practice on three commonly used types of note-taking. I let them know that even though they are seated in groups, these are individual activities. However, time may permit sharing work in their small groups. I use the short passage entitled, "The Heart" (Handout: The Heart) from Great Source Education Services (1999) because short, informational pieces are good for guided practice activities. Please refer to the Procedures Handout for additional information (Procedures: Paraphrasing, Summarizing, Direct Quotes Activities)(Procedures: Paraphrasing, Summarizing, Direct Quotes Activities - Word).
Due to time constraints, I stop for a lesson check point and ask students to consider the work we did today and the work completed in the hands-on activities (Student Work: Note-taking Activities) if they have questions on the three types of note-taking. Students have no questions, but I ask them to address any in their ticket out.
I go to Slide Ten, the last slide in the presentation (PDF: Keynote Presentation on Note-taking), and ask students to consider what we have done today and what they have learned. I explain that as a group they are to complete one ticket out (Student Work: Ticket Out on Note-taking):
Suprisingly enough, no students have questions on note-taking in their tickets out. I will be able to further assess their knowledge as we move forward with our literary study and begin to use paraphrasing, summarizing, and selecting direct quotes more often as we encounter increasingly complex texts.