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Writing-to-Learn 
Strategies: 
Annotations 
and the 
Cornell Note 
Taking System
You just don’t know 
anything 
unless you can write it. 
S.I. Hayakawa 
And there’s a very good chance 
that you won’t remember it, either, 
unless you can write it!
Lollipop game… 
What if I gave you a lollipop? 
-Cool, huh? 
What if I told you to eat it, but you 
could not use your hands? 
-Uncool, huh?
Lollipop game… 
What if I gave you a lollipop? 
-Cool, huh? 
What if I told you to eat it, but you could not 
use your hands? 
-Uncool, huh? 
-Many of you might try to muscle 
through the wrapper with your 
feet, or you might just grab the 
whole lollipop with your mouth 
and eat it, paper and all. 
-Either way, however, you are 
MISSING a CRUCIAL 
COMPONENT for ENJOYING 
YOUR TREAT!
The same sadness 
occurs… 
Trying to eat a lollipop 
without your hands is much 
like trying to read without 
taking notes, or interacting 
with what you are reading. 
You may be able to force 
yourself through it (the 
reading), but you will 
unlikely understand, 
remember, or enjoy it as 
well.
SOLUTIONS?
YES! Turn that Frown Upside Down. 
Annotations 
and 
Cornell 
Notes!
This is annotation… 
“Comprehension of difficult text can be 
significantly enhanced …with discussion-based 
activities in which students are invited 
to make predictions, summarize, link texts 
with one another and background 
knowledge, generate and answer text-related 
questions, clarify understanding, 
muster relevant evidence to support an 
interpretation, and interrelate reading, 
writing, and discussion.” 
Applebee & Langer, 2003
Put Another Way, 
ANNOTATION IS…
Why annotation? Isn’t reading 
the text enough? 
Robert Probst’s describes the reader’s response 
as a “dialogue with the text”, which signifies 
the student’s roles and responsibility in making 
connections between the text and himself or 
herself. 
Carol Porter-O’Donnell notes that annotation of 
the text provides a “visible record of the 
thoughts that emerge while making sense of 
the reading.”
More rationale for 
annotation... 
Annotation is a “writing-to-learn” strategy that… 
Changes 
Helps Teach Comprehension 
Reading as a Process 
Promotes 
Active 
Reading 
Improves 
Writing 
Focuses 
Reading
You know you have to read 
“between the lines”… 
I want to persuade you to write 
between the lines. Unless you 
do, you are not likely to do the 
most efficient kind of reading. 
Mortimer J. Adler 
“How to Mark a Book”
Annotation requires student-awareness 
of categories of text 
response: 
Making 
predictions 
Text Response 
Categories 
Reflecting on 
Content or 
Reading 
Process 
Construction 
or Craft of 
the Writing 
Making 
connections 
Stating 
Opinions 
Asking 
Questions 
Effective Annotation
Suggested Annotation Ideas 
(UNDERLINE OR HIGHLIGHT ON THE PAGE DURING READING) 
WHO 
Relevant 
characters in 
fiction 
Important 
individuals in 
non-fiction 
WHAT 
The plot and/or 
themes in fiction 
The main ideas 
in non-fiction 
WHEN 
The setting in 
fiction 
The important 
historical 
background 
and/or time 
frames in non-fiction 
WHERE 
The setting in 
fiction, 
Relevant 
geographies 
and/or locations 
in non-fiction 
WHY 
Why did the 
author write this? 
Why was it written 
in the way it was 
written? 
Why does the 
author and/or your 
professor consider 
this important? 
HOW 
Usually 
characterization and 
literary devices used 
in the author’s craft in 
fiction 
How does this occur, 
or how do I do this? 
(Often very important 
to student 
understanding in non-fiction 
especially) 
VOCABULARY 
Any words you 
don’t know 
Any terms that 
seem important 
IMPORTANT DETAILS 
Important 
information 
Literary devices 
Supporting 
details
Suggested annotation notes: 
Make 
Connections 
Summarize Make Predictions 
Analyze the author's 
craft, the organization 
of the materials, 
and/or relevant 
structures of 
information 
Formulate 
Opinions 
Ask Questions 
Define or Explain 
Write 
Reflections, 
Reactions, 
Comments 
Look for Patterns 
and Repetitions 
Write 
These 
in the 
Margins!
Let’s Try Annotating! 
I contend, quite 
bluntly, that 
marking up a 
book is not an 
act of mutilation 
but of love. 
Mortimer J. Adler 
“How to Mark a Book”
Annotation can be done on the computer… 
Use 
INSERT: 
Comments 
Or 
REFERENCES: 
Footnotes 
or Endnotes
Why Not Just HIGHTLIGHT?
Why Not Just HIGHTLIGHT?
How much to HIGHLIGHT, 
then?
Guidelines for annotation 
 Students should mark the piece for surface meaning (vocabulary, who, 
what, etc.) 
 Students must write an explanation for anything which they have 
underlined or highlighted. 
 Not every mark and note must be annotated on a single read. Annotation 
can be a process that evolves each time the piece is read and better 
understood. 
 Begin by focusing on a paragraph, then another, then a page, and then a 
chapter or the whole text, to prevent annotation from becoming 
burdensome. 
 Substitute sticky notes or loose-leaf paper for annotation if individual 
copies of the text are not available for annotation, or use the Cornell Note-taking 
System…
Cornell Notes 
 A systematic format for condensing and 
organizing notes. 
 These notes can be taken from any source of 
information, such as fiction and nonfiction 
books, DVDs, lectures, text books, etc. 
 Long sentences are avoided; symbols or 
abbreviations are used instead. 
 To assist with future reviews, students write 
relevant questions or key words in the left 
column. 
 Record as soon as possible so that the lecture and questions 
will be fresh in the student's mind, usually within 24 hours.
Cornell Notes 
 Students then write a brief summary in the 
bottom five to seven lines of the page. 
 This helps to increase understanding of the 
topic. 
 When studying for either a test or quiz, the 
student has a concise but detailed and 
relevant record of previous classes. 
 When reviewing the material, the student 
can cover the note-taking (right) column 
while attempting to answer the 
questions/keywords in the key word or 
cue (left) column.
Cornell Note-Taking System 
Cues, 
Keywords, 
Questions, 
Main Ideas 
2 Inches 
. 
Notes 
6 Inches 
• Key thoughts, ideas, and info 
• Important dates/people/places 
• Repeated or emphasized info 
• Outlines of information structure 
• Diagrams or Pictures 
• Formulas 
Summary 
Reduce the main 
2 .5 In ch points of the reading or lecture notes.
Cornell Notes Examples
Let’s Practice…
Let’s Practice…

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Annotations and cornell note taking

  • 1. Writing-to-Learn Strategies: Annotations and the Cornell Note Taking System
  • 2. You just don’t know anything unless you can write it. S.I. Hayakawa And there’s a very good chance that you won’t remember it, either, unless you can write it!
  • 3. Lollipop game… What if I gave you a lollipop? -Cool, huh? What if I told you to eat it, but you could not use your hands? -Uncool, huh?
  • 4. Lollipop game… What if I gave you a lollipop? -Cool, huh? What if I told you to eat it, but you could not use your hands? -Uncool, huh? -Many of you might try to muscle through the wrapper with your feet, or you might just grab the whole lollipop with your mouth and eat it, paper and all. -Either way, however, you are MISSING a CRUCIAL COMPONENT for ENJOYING YOUR TREAT!
  • 5. The same sadness occurs… Trying to eat a lollipop without your hands is much like trying to read without taking notes, or interacting with what you are reading. You may be able to force yourself through it (the reading), but you will unlikely understand, remember, or enjoy it as well.
  • 7. YES! Turn that Frown Upside Down. Annotations and Cornell Notes!
  • 8. This is annotation… “Comprehension of difficult text can be significantly enhanced …with discussion-based activities in which students are invited to make predictions, summarize, link texts with one another and background knowledge, generate and answer text-related questions, clarify understanding, muster relevant evidence to support an interpretation, and interrelate reading, writing, and discussion.” Applebee & Langer, 2003
  • 9. Put Another Way, ANNOTATION IS…
  • 10. Why annotation? Isn’t reading the text enough? Robert Probst’s describes the reader’s response as a “dialogue with the text”, which signifies the student’s roles and responsibility in making connections between the text and himself or herself. Carol Porter-O’Donnell notes that annotation of the text provides a “visible record of the thoughts that emerge while making sense of the reading.”
  • 11. More rationale for annotation... Annotation is a “writing-to-learn” strategy that… Changes Helps Teach Comprehension Reading as a Process Promotes Active Reading Improves Writing Focuses Reading
  • 12. You know you have to read “between the lines”… I want to persuade you to write between the lines. Unless you do, you are not likely to do the most efficient kind of reading. Mortimer J. Adler “How to Mark a Book”
  • 13. Annotation requires student-awareness of categories of text response: Making predictions Text Response Categories Reflecting on Content or Reading Process Construction or Craft of the Writing Making connections Stating Opinions Asking Questions Effective Annotation
  • 14. Suggested Annotation Ideas (UNDERLINE OR HIGHLIGHT ON THE PAGE DURING READING) WHO Relevant characters in fiction Important individuals in non-fiction WHAT The plot and/or themes in fiction The main ideas in non-fiction WHEN The setting in fiction The important historical background and/or time frames in non-fiction WHERE The setting in fiction, Relevant geographies and/or locations in non-fiction WHY Why did the author write this? Why was it written in the way it was written? Why does the author and/or your professor consider this important? HOW Usually characterization and literary devices used in the author’s craft in fiction How does this occur, or how do I do this? (Often very important to student understanding in non-fiction especially) VOCABULARY Any words you don’t know Any terms that seem important IMPORTANT DETAILS Important information Literary devices Supporting details
  • 15. Suggested annotation notes: Make Connections Summarize Make Predictions Analyze the author's craft, the organization of the materials, and/or relevant structures of information Formulate Opinions Ask Questions Define or Explain Write Reflections, Reactions, Comments Look for Patterns and Repetitions Write These in the Margins!
  • 16. Let’s Try Annotating! I contend, quite bluntly, that marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but of love. Mortimer J. Adler “How to Mark a Book”
  • 17.
  • 18. Annotation can be done on the computer… Use INSERT: Comments Or REFERENCES: Footnotes or Endnotes
  • 19. Why Not Just HIGHTLIGHT?
  • 20. Why Not Just HIGHTLIGHT?
  • 21. How much to HIGHLIGHT, then?
  • 22. Guidelines for annotation  Students should mark the piece for surface meaning (vocabulary, who, what, etc.)  Students must write an explanation for anything which they have underlined or highlighted.  Not every mark and note must be annotated on a single read. Annotation can be a process that evolves each time the piece is read and better understood.  Begin by focusing on a paragraph, then another, then a page, and then a chapter or the whole text, to prevent annotation from becoming burdensome.  Substitute sticky notes or loose-leaf paper for annotation if individual copies of the text are not available for annotation, or use the Cornell Note-taking System…
  • 23. Cornell Notes  A systematic format for condensing and organizing notes.  These notes can be taken from any source of information, such as fiction and nonfiction books, DVDs, lectures, text books, etc.  Long sentences are avoided; symbols or abbreviations are used instead.  To assist with future reviews, students write relevant questions or key words in the left column.  Record as soon as possible so that the lecture and questions will be fresh in the student's mind, usually within 24 hours.
  • 24. Cornell Notes  Students then write a brief summary in the bottom five to seven lines of the page.  This helps to increase understanding of the topic.  When studying for either a test or quiz, the student has a concise but detailed and relevant record of previous classes.  When reviewing the material, the student can cover the note-taking (right) column while attempting to answer the questions/keywords in the key word or cue (left) column.
  • 25. Cornell Note-Taking System Cues, Keywords, Questions, Main Ideas 2 Inches . Notes 6 Inches • Key thoughts, ideas, and info • Important dates/people/places • Repeated or emphasized info • Outlines of information structure • Diagrams or Pictures • Formulas Summary Reduce the main 2 .5 In ch points of the reading or lecture notes.
  • 27.