We have practiced a note taking method I call 4 square notes. In each box of the notes students can gather information pertaining to the subject they are researching. It requires coming up with a label for each box, and then adding information under each label.
Students are going to use this method to gather notes on one of the Revolutionary War's historical figures. I ask the class to get out their white boards, markers, and a pencil.
On their white board I ask them to create the four squares. We discuss what we remember about taking notes in this way. This discussion is quick and I get confirmation that they remember how we used this method and what goes into each square.
I am going to read to them a book called John, Paul, George, and Ben by Lane Smith. In the story students are introduced to John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, and Ben Franklin. Students will label each of their four squares with the name of each of the characters. I explain to the class that as I read they will write down any inferences and traits that hear or determine for the characters. They need to give details to help support their thoughts, these do not have to be written down. I do want them to share the details in our discussion at the end of the book.
As I read I stop and give some time to allow them to write. This slows down the pace of the book, but if I read too fast they get frustrated. At the end, I ask them to write any facts that they feel need to be added to their board. I then go through each square and lead students through the discussions of each character.
To research a character further, I ask students to choose one of the four characters from their white boards. I hand out a piece of lined paper and ask them to fold it in half length wise. One side I ask them to mark it Facts and the other with Traits. I explain the direction of the activty next.
I tell them that they will be getting an iPad and will research the character they have chosen. Students will fill in both sides of lined paper from their research. They need to have facts about the person and also determine character traits. The character traits might have to be inferred from the facts. I give them the example of reading about someone who built their own house, and I might give the trait smart, good with their hands, or strong. I based this on my prior knowledge and what I have read.