Cornell Note Taking

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SWBAT determine the main idea and provide a summary of the text.

Big Idea

It's critical to find the main idea when reading because it helps the reader remember important information and it is key to good comprehension.

Bell Ringer - Cornell Notes

5 minutes

Cornell Notes

Before Viewing the Video:

I want my students to learn how to apply the Cornell NoteTaking strategy because it is an excellent system for organizing and reviewing notes, it increases comprehension and critical thinking of the content, and it improves test scores.

I show the video "Cornell Notes" to introduce this skill. I ask students to list three strategies from the video. To hold students accountable for listening closely to the video, I ask students to record their thinking in either the Science Journal (Notebook) which is a paper saver, or on a Video Learning Ticket. Another way to do this is to print the questions on the ticket on a large mailing label, and just pass those out for students to stick in their science notebooks. The templates are available online.

After Viewing the Video:

After the video, I ask students to turn and share with their partner, "What is one thing you learned from the video?"

After giving them one minute, I use popsicle sticks to draw student names and start the discussion. By using popsicle sticks, I can bring a variety of students into the discussion. From the discussion, I am looking for answers such as: 

Cornell Note Taking is an organized type of note taking and involves a "t" chart.

Cornell Notes are a quick way to take neat, organized notes that don't have to be in complete sentences.

Cornell Note Taking is a fast and easy way of taking notes. 

Taking Good Notes

30 minutes

This lesson focuses on CCSS.ELA-Literacy RI.6.2 determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

I provide a Cornell Note Taking Sheet for each student and ask them to apply this strategy as they read Chapter 1 (Classification of Living Things). This strategy can be applied to any textbook, Tradebook, or nonfiction text. I model how to complete the note taking sheet by showing students how to fill-in the Title of the Chapter, Title of the Lesson, and the first main idea and supporting details from the chapter. I think one reason Cornell Notes are appropriate for Science because students can include drawings in the notes. Drawing is critical to Science and is used as a tool to represent key information. I provide the remaining time for them to read and take notes on the rest of the chapter.

While students are working I circulate the classroom checking for accuracy as well as identification of correct main ideas and supporting details for the content of the chapter. I evaluate and assess student work at this time looking for the main ideas from the section/chapter and a minimum number of details for each main idea.

For ELL and Special Education students, I provide extra support by identifying the main ideas of the section or chapter and then creating sections on the note taking sheet. These sections will visually help students and be a reminder that similar information is grouped.

What Did You Learn?

5 minutes

What Did You Learn?

I ask students to reflect on the lesson by having them complete the Exit Slip Cornell Note Taking which uses the sentence starter "One thing I learned today was..." and "One question I still have is..." Sentence starters provide a frame of a complete sentence. This is especially helpful for Special Education and ELL students.

I want students to write quietly for 2 - 3 minutes. As part of a school wide writing goal, I remind students to use TCA's (Target Correction Areas) such as a capital letter, correct end punctuation, and a complete sentence. 

Some student questions from the Exit Slip include:

Do you always have to do a summary?

What are other types of note taking?

Will we be taking Cornel Notes all year?

These questions are important and will be addresses in the next lesson and/or the next time that students use this strategy. This is a formative assessment strategy that will provide feedback to guide my future instruction. It's important to give students a few minutes to process their thoughts and write their response. It's best practice.