I was a pretty mediocre student.  At best!  I wasn’t super motivated by good grades, but I also realize in my adult life that I actually lacked a couple of very important student-like skills that would’ve really helped me!

I went to college not really knowing how to take notes – every single word on nearly every single page would be highlighted, I had notes everywhere…when I went to “study” I would just end up reading the whole chapter again.  I didn’t know how to take the most important information from a speaker or a piece of text and just document THAT.  I needed to set down the highlighter, post it notes and just listen and read carefully!

So, I challenge you to ask your students today if they know how to take notes.  If they say they do, ask them where they start.  If they say they don’t, then take some time (it really doesn’t take long…modeling each step naturally as you teach is the best way to do this!) to teach them how to determine the most important information to take notes on.  Here’s where I start…

Teach students that there are clues that a speaker or writer gives that they are sharing important information:

  • Reviews given at the beginning
  • Material written on a chart, whiteboard or screen
  • Repeated ideas or phrases
  • Emphasis by changing voice and gestures
  • Emphasis by spending more time and giving more examples
  • Word signals (e.g. “There are two points of view on . . . ” “The third reason is . . . ” ” In conclusion . . . “)
  • Summaries points given at the end

Heck – – does this help YOU like it it helped me?