Teaching students how to take notes is extremely important, and it needs to be taught across all grades. Most students do not know how to take appropriate notes unless they are explicitly taught note-taking strategies. Understanding what to take notes on and how to record those notes is a necessary skill that students will use throughout their entire educational career. If you have students that need to learn how to take notes this post is for you!
NOTE-TAKING STRATEGIES FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS
NOTE-TAKING ACTIVITIES BASED ON GENRE AND TEXT TYPE
The genre and type of text that we are reading guides how I teach note-taking strategies to students. Different genres and text types also influence how I expect students to organize their notes and/or thinking about the text. Here are some examples:
Short Fiction Texts
When reading a short fiction text, I teach my kids how to make annotations right on the text and to write notes in the margins. Teaching annotation strategies will help students keep track of key ideas while reading. To learn more about annotation and download my free teaching resources, check out this article!
If we are reading a fiction novel I have my students take notes at the signposts. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of signposts, you definitely want to check out my post on them. Using signposts will change the way you and your students think about and analyze literature. Available for download is a Thinking About Signposts Organizer. I promise that using signposts will change the way your students think about literature.
When we are working on nonfiction texts, I show my students how to use the structure of the text to guide their notes and organization of thinking (e.g., notes on a compare and contrast article would be organized on a T-chart or Venn diagram; a text told in chronological order might be organized on a timeline; notes on a cause and effect text would state the cause with an arrow pointing towards the effect; and so on). We are also always looking for the 5Ws and 1H (who, what, when, where, why, and how).
HOW TO TEACH STUDENTS TO TAKE NOTES FROM A VIDEO
Students in the 21st century need to be able to integrate information from a wide variety of sources into their writing. This means that students must learn to take notes while watching a video in order to incorporate the information obtained accurately into their writings.
This skill of integrating multimedia formats is actually listed twice in the CCSS English Language Arts Anchor Standards in Reading and also in Speaking and Listening.
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Being able to take notes from a video takes practice for kids to grasp. Before jumping into note-taking activities using multimedia formats, I show students how to effectively take notes from a video.
Modeling Video Note-Taking Strategies
Every year, I take the time to show my students how I take notes from a video. I model my note-taking strategies and thinking using a Video Note-Taking Graphic Organizer. I usually make a poster-sized version of my organizer so that my students are able to watch me record my notes and thinking, step by step. This graphic organizer available for you to download and to use with your students!
First, I model for my students how I pause a video to record my notes AND the time on the video counter when I took the notes in case I need to go back to that exact point in the video.
After watching the entire video, I show my students how I reflect on my thinking and go back to parts of the video where I need clarification.
Then, we practice watching a video together as we record our thinking on the Video Note-Taking Graphic Organizer.
Choosing the Right Videos for Note-Taking Practice Activities
Finding safe videos for your students to view while practicing this skill is important. I am a huge fan of TED talks. According to the TED website,
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics—from science to business to global issues—in more than 100 languages.
There are TED talks that can be viewed by children. You may want to preview some of them to see if any would be appropriate for your students to view.
The first TED talk I listened to was by educator Ken Robinson. After listening to him I was hooked. This is the introduction and link to his TED talk: Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.
My favorite TED talk is Shawn Achor on The Happy Secret to Better Work. I can honestly say that this TED talk changed my life. I hope you listen to it and begin "scanning the world, not for negative, but for the positive first."
Understanding what to take notes on and how to record those notes is a skill students will use throughout their entire educational career. Students will struggle to take appropriate notes unless they are explicitly taught note-taking strategies for various text types and multimedia formats.
The 21st century classroom requires students to be able to integrate multimedia sources into their writing. This means that teachers must teach video note-taking strategies to elementary students!
Here's a recap of video note-taking:
Model how to pause a video and jot notes. Be sure to record the time on the video to be able to easily reference the section again if necessary.
After watching the entire video, show students how to go back to parts that need clarification. Then add to your notes if necessary.
On a the “video notes organizer” model how to include thinking about the text.
Download the Video Note-Taking Graphic Organizer to get started!