Take Note

I remember my (high school) freshman Biology class was the first time I really had to take notes. It took me a while to come up with a system by which I could get all the important information down fast enough to be useful and clear when I went to do homework or study later. I never had anyone teach me how to take notes; I had to teach myself through trial and error. Now, I happened to be a very good student, so rather quickly I devised a system that worked for me. However, once I became a teacher, it became apparent to me that note-taking was not something most students a) knew how to do, b) had the motivation to teach themselves, or c) had the ability to teach themselves. I quickly realized I needed to give my students guidance on taking notes. There were two ways I did this. The first was guided notes. I didn’t invent that one, I just used the concept to make guided notes for my students. I’ll address guided notes in a later post. The second thing I did to help my students become good note-takers was to use Power Point lessons. Power Point is a great way to help students learn how to take notes because (most of the time) information in a Power Point is structured in note format already. It uses a leveled bullet system and has concise information on each slide. Regardless of the subject, Power Point lessons can be very useful in developing note-taking skills. I first began using Power Point lessons when I taught middle school math. Math lessons may not be the first thing you think of when contemplating the idea of using Power Point lessons, but it actually works really well. Kids learn that they have to write down whatever is on the screen and each step populates with enough time for them to write down the information. Just like in other subjects. It’s also nice because the kids can read the material, unlike when I wrote everything by hand and they couldn’t decipher my writing much better than I could decipher theirs. After 3 years of teaching middle school math, I compiled a huge inventory of Power Point lessons. I’ve gone through and attached them to Common Core Standards. I cover everything from Greatest Common Factor up to the Pythagorean Theorem and Standard Deviation. I have fractions and long division, solving 1- and 2-step linear equations, and just about anything you can think of. Once I started using the Power Point lessons, my kids quickly became more proficient in taking notes. They began to write faster and their work improved because their notes were more organized. Of course, there was the added bonus that I could post them on my website for absent students so they could take responsibility for making up the work. Do your kids a favor: teach them how to take notes by using Power Point lessons. Head over to my store to browse my selection.

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