Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Note Taking...

How do we find a balance and help students learn how to take notes? Writing everything down isn't practical or effective. Writing too little down means students are missing important information. Marzano stresses that notes should be a "work in progress". Revisiting and revising notes as the students understanding of the concept expands is an important part of the process. The goal is to have sufficient details for the notes become a good study guide for assessments.

Teachers might begin by taking notes themselves and sharing those notes with students during or after the lesson. Providing structure for note taking can also be helpful. Outlines and/or graphic organizers the students can complete during the lesson can support learners as they strive to improve their skill level. Be sure to leave room for flexibility so students can continue to personalize their learning.

Several technology tools for creating organizers have been suggested in previous posts. Don't forget the importance of including images to enhance retention.

What if we consider expanding the skill base by allowing students to collaborate on the notes for a topic? The teacher could provide a shared document or a wiki to allow multiple students to access the notes. Students can then compare what they recorded individually to look for common points and additional ideas they may need to be added or excluded as extraneous. Wording could also be reviewed to find the most succinct way to capture the information.

What tools are available to help your students become better note takers?

Let's rethink the possibilities.

Based on content found in:
Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement written by Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock
Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works written by Howard Pilter, Elizabeth R. Hubbell, Matt Kuhn and Kim Malenoski

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