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Note taking: Helping students find the
Treasure among the Trash
Age Level Survey
• Elementary K-3 or K-6?
• Intermediate 4-6?
• Middle School 6-9?
• Senior High 9-12?
• Complete either statement on your sentence
strip and hang it on the wall.
• I feel students DO note taking well because…
• I feel students DO NOT do note taking well
• Comes naturally to students.
• Students understand the purpose of note
• All note taking is the same.
• Note taking skills were taught in a previous
• Students are properly prepared and have a set
purpose for note taking by teachers.
Brainstorm examples of note
• Whole class with teacher recording notes
• Graphic organizers - visual of comprehension, organization, text structure
• Study guides
• Notebooks – organized with sections, page #s, table of contents, inventories
• Mindmaps – topic and concept
• Diagrams - labeled
• KWL and variations of
• Note cards
• Age-appropriate applications
Purposes for note taking
• Big Ideas Essential Questions
Main Ideas Subtopics Details
• Study Guides
• Research = INFORMATION PROBLEM-SOLVING
Role of Task and Text Complexity
• Does this sound familiar?
• The task of note taking can make using even
low lexile text difficult for students reading on
or above grade level – it stands to reason that
for students reading at or below grade level
the task of note taking would be even more
• Summarizing demonstrates comprehension –
retelling demonstrates recall.
• Summarizing helps to develop students ability to ask
their own questions, to read between the lines, to
think critically beyond the text – retelling has
students operating on the surface level of the text.
• Summarizing helps students to answer inferential
and evaluative questions – retelling only helps
answer literal questions.
• T.H.I.E.V.E.S. – Title/Headings/Introduction/every
first sentence in paragraph/Visuals &
Vocabulary/End of chapter questions/Summary
• Expository Text Structure – Compare and Contrast,
Chronological Order, Problem & Solution, Cause and
Effect, Questions and Answer, Definition/description,
Enumerated list or steps.
Trash and Treasure
• Close reading – Keywords are the treasure
• Determining what is relevant? Modeling and metacognition.
Spelling and capitalization do count.
• Does this information answer the question or is about the
• Highlighters and Highlighting tape/Margin notes
• Whiteboard interactive ebooks – highlighting
• Inspiration software.
• Lists, timelines, charts, matrix, 4 square, venn diagrams…
Caveman Note Taking
• Skim and scan
• Use of text graphics
• Abbreviated, bullets,
• Non-linear – looping – PROCESS is the product
• Use of multiple resources to gather information.
• Brainstorm examples of text features.
• Use of in textbooks – book walks or preview.
• Incorporate use of into explicit instruction.
• Make use of graphics a part of reading and
Next step - Outlining
• Organize information in a logical order –
• Expand notes into outline format –
• Teaching outlining skills as age level
appropriate and at point of need.
Note Taking Activities
• The Long and Short of It – Oral Note taking
• Incredible Shrinking Notes – Post-it Note
• Note taking by Crayon – subtopic focus
• Highlights to notes
• Cornell http://www.cornell.com
• Abbreviations, labeled diagrams, illustrations,
Electronic and Digital Tools
Digital Note Taking Matrix
Name of Digital
Fee or Free? Advantages Disadvantages
Subscription based •All inclusive from
note taking to
for student use.
Free but Premium
multiple types of
•Best for older
GoogleDocs Free •Collaborative
$4.99 App available
•Type, draw and
•Share via email
•For older students
Tool name Fee or Free Advantages Disadvantages
Free •Familiar Microsoft
Free •Easy to use format •Template only
Free •Can share projects •Download
Free •Multiple content
Tool Name Fee or Free Advantages Disadvantages
Free •Asks questions
•APA and MLA
•Multiple steps, not
Read, Write, Think
Free •A good transition
tool for younger
children to organize
notes into outline
•Only available in
Free •Multiple formats