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Basic Note-Taking

Big Idea There is no one correct way to take notes. If you can use your notes, you took good notes.

Speed and being clear are more important than neatness and spelling.

Ingredients in Useful Tools

Strategies for Successful Note-Taking

Organizing Notes

Experiment! Find a system that works for you. Then stick with it.

Big Idea It's much easier to organize as you go than to do it later.

When I taught this mini-lesson in 9th and 10th grade English language arts, I usually also included a short practice active. I would show a short video (3-5 minutes), and both the students and I would take notes. I would then have students compare their notes with a partner's, and then show mine. The most common response to seeing my notes was surprise at how little I wrote, usually based on how I paraphrased, summarized, and used key words and phrases rather than complete sentences. In contrast, many students would try to transcribe a speaker word-for-word.

It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the credit. -Gertrude Elion (more quotes)

Created by Kym Buchanan | | This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Some content and curriculum based on work by: Maysee Herr, Rand Spiro, Lisa Bardon, Quinn Stanley, Larry Riggs, Pat Shaw, Sue Slick, and others at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Unattributed images are the work of the author or taken from Microsoft PowerPoint.

Last revised 1/15/14