Sunday, May 22, 2011

Daily Assignment #63: Cornell Note-taking

How many of you have heard these comments when students have not been able to take notes during a lecture, reading text, or watching a video?
"I can't write down everything the teacher says because the teacher talks too fast." 
"The notes that I take are not organized."
"I can't understand what I have written."
"My notes don't help me when I study."
"I can't focus on note taking because I get distracted."

The Cornell Note-taking method provides a systematic format for condensing and organizing notes. It was created by Walter Pauk, professor of education at Cornell University.

The student divides the paper into 1/3, 2/3's columns: the 2/3 column, on the right, is for taking detailed notes. Students should avoid using long sentences  To help with quick note taking students need to be taught symbols and abbreviations. The 1/3 column, on the left, is the Key Ideas column.  The bottom of the page has a horizontal line across, about 2 inches from the bottom, for a summary.

On the left side of the notebook, (opposite page), the page should be divided, using a horizontal line, 3/4, 1/4 at the bottom.  In the 3/4 sections, students rewrite the information in a different format, such as in a graphic organizer, drawing, graph, etc...  In the bottom 1/4, students design relevant questions.

Now when it is time to study for a test, the student has concise, detailed, readable notes.  The student can cover up the note-taking column to answer the questions that they designed or to identfy the Key Ideas.  

Let's take a count how many times, and ways, students visit the information:
  1. Student hear or see the information 
  2. take notes 
  3. revisit notes to identify Key Ideas 
  4. write a summary 
  5. reconfigure the information into a graphic organizer, drawing,etc... 
  6. and finally design relevant questions
After seeing the information 6 times the likelihood of students recalling the information is very high because they are actually doing something with the information.  It is much higher than if the students just take notes.

When teaching this strategy, as with all other strategies, use familiar content so the students focus on the structure not the content.

Here is a link I discovered for designing Cornell Note-taking paper.
I hope you will experiment with this strategy, if not this year then in the fall.  It would be a great strategy to begin teaching the first week of school and then used throughout the year.  Even better would be for a team of teachers to agree that this will be the main study skill taught and used by all teachers for the year.
Go for it!!!
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Best Effort,
P.S. I haven't got a clue why part of this blog has a white background. Oh well.

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