Friday, September 13, 2013

Note Taking

Note Taking

I used the information below, which I gleaned from this website, to teach my middle and high school students about formal note taking.

Note taking is a useful skill which can help you learn material presented by lecture or in the form of text. Note taking can help you focus, participate as an active learner or listener and retain important information in long term memory.  After all, if you're going to spend the time reading the book, listening to the lecture or taking the course you may as well actually learn, understand and retain the information and ideas presented. If you have learned the information, you will be able to recall it accurately and rapidly.

The ability to write neatly and rapidly are important skills for note taking and for life. Strive to improve in these two areas.  Although people talk about 100-150 words per minute and we think at 400-500 words per minute, we can only write about 30 words per minute. So practice, practice, practice.

Attending a lecture, listening to a podcast, or watching a video also requires excellent listening skills.  Focus on the topic, listen to everything the speaker says before accepting or rejecting ideas. Don't follow rabbit trail thoughts.  Listen for verbal cues: there are three kinds of ..., in conclusion, to summarize, emphases tone of voice and gesture  Look carefully at anything that is written for the students on a blackboard.

The goal of note taking is not to transcribe what the speaker is saying, but to capture the most important points, arguments, salient details in order to review them and recall them

The same is true of note taking from text.  The idea is to capture the author's main ideas in a condensed format and your own words so you can review and recall the information at a later date.

Uniform paper easy to file
Title the page, use a date or the lecture title
Be brief
It's O.K. to use symbols or abbreviations but be consistent
Be neat. If you can't read it later; it's useless
Use your own words except for formulas, definitions, and facts.
Use quotation marks if you're not using your own words.
Use outline format if this suits the material and the speaker's style.(Show example of outline and discuss parts)

Cornell Note Taking Method, show page format and tell how it is used.

Review right after lecture or reading make any corrections or additions as necessary. Do you have questions about the material? Write them down or ask them now. 5-10 minutes

Before the next class review your notes.  Condense them, recite the main ideas, and reflect.  What's the big picture? 5-10 minutes

Show the video  I didn't use this video because I couldn't get it to load, but there are lots on YouTube which demonstrate The Cornell Note Taking method. 

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