5 Things We Think Middle School Students Should Know That They Don't #3: How to Take Notes
I love note taking days in class - I get to tell stories, make jokes, and get kids engaged and laughing while - "Wait. Mr. Robinson, can you back up? I'm not done copying yet." Right before the punch line. Every time. Or, "What do we copy?" or "Do we have to write all that?" etc, etc, etc.
Mrs. Dickenson taught my class how to take notes in 6th grade ELA. Her method was tedious, but, after lots (and lots...) of practice, it was neat and effective. Neat rows of capital letters, Roman numerals, lower case letters and lower case Roman numerals (who knew that was a thing?). Each represented topics, sub-topics and sub-sub-topics. By the time I got to college, my note taking had evolved into a system of dashes and dots. Then, as a teacher, I expected my students to be able to do the same. They couldn't. Either they were listening to me and not writing, or writing and not listening to my lecture.
So, I adapted. I developed my concept of Interactive Notes. The purpose is to present a lot of information with lots of student-to-student discussion, then once they have thoroughly engaged with the content, write down the critical content on a pre-printed student note taking sheet. The result is that all students can listen, interact and write instead of some write and some interact and some write. With my interactive notes, students can do all three, and wind up with neat, easy to read and study notes with only critical content recorded!
I have created several sets of interactive notes so far, and plan on making more (including a set of self-guided interactive notes using Google Slides that are perfect for distance learning) that are available at my TpT store. The first link below the following picture is for a free sample called "Introduction to Maps". If you like it, please check out my other ones by clicking the second link for my other interactive notes. If you like them, remember to follow my store and this blog for more great Social Studies resources!
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I'm an 18 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.