by Guest Blogger: Dan Lollis, GOC Middle Grades Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher
Taking notes can be a challenging and difficult task for middle school students. We all probably remember classes from high school or college where we took pages and pages of “notes” only to sit down when it was time to study and stare in confusion at what we had written. GOC students won’t have to make the same mistakes we did. Specific note-taking strategies and lessons have been taught to GOC students and can be applied, practiced, and used in any academic class.
Our first note-taking lesson, Cornell Notes, focused on a simple strategy that students can use to take notes during reading, during a learning lab lesson, or during and online lesson. Cornell Notes are a great way for student to take notes while they are reading or learning. Our lesson focused on writing down the most important information and coming back at the end of the lesson or reading to summarize and understand the notes. This strategy is simple but highly effective and used by many universities and most law schools across the nation. More information and a template can be found here: http://www.uhv.edu/ac/study/pdf/cornell.notetaking.pdf
The second strategy, Window Notes, will focus on engaging the middle school student by asking students to deeply focus on a topic and explore facts, feeling, ideas, and questions. This note-taking strategy is ideal for “big-picture” topics in science and social studies and is a great way for students take notes after a lesson or in order to summarize. More information with examples and simple instructions can found here: http://www.misd.net/secondaryliteracy/strategicliteracyinstructionwordstudy/WindowNotes.pdf
Students shouldn’t be afraid to take notes, and middle school is the time and opportunity to learn which note-taking strategies and skills work best. If your child still struggles to take notes, have them practice with one of these strategies (the Cornell note-taking strategy is the simplest) in one class. Just like in sports, it takes practice to become proficient and effective at taking notes. Encourage your child to practice one of these strategies at least once a week.
Thank you, Mr. Lollis!
The middle grades students practiced the Cornell Notes strategy during the last Advisement lesson with Mr. Lollis and will learn the Window Notes strategy in an upcoming Advisement lesson.
Parents of our high school and middle grades students often ask us how to teach their students to take helpful notes. Take a look at these links and you and your student can also view the recording where this lesson was taught.
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