Sunday, February 12, 2012

Taking Notes is Boooor-ing

I've always planned on note-taking as part of my classroom, and my new school follows the AVID ideas and that's a big part so I thought cool, they will all know how to take notes! Then I did a notebook check. Oy vey. Let's just say that if my first paycheck (still to come) was based on the quality of these notebooks, I'd have to eat them for every meal for the next month. How do blank pages taste with ketchup? Which wine goes with scribbling and doodles?

What to do instead of listening and taking notes: Draw a Stickman!

I encourage drawings, arrows, the liberal use of color and highlighters, but with most of my students there is nothing on the page to draw an arrow to or highlight over.  The teacher's Math notes before me looked copied straight out of the book, a habit I wasn't going to continue, but if I don't write it they don't write it?  How do I get them to process the info into own words, own connections? I do need to remember they need TIME for notes, time to process the info and make some sense of it. I'm going to make a sign for myself: Time to Think, Time to Write. brb

(Four hours later...)*

How about this: well, nevermind, couldn't get the image here. It's a giant hourglass with the words
"Time to Think, Time to Write" big and bold so I don't forget to let them contemplate, ponder, put thoughts to paper...

I also heard mention at the AVID class something called foldables -- no, not a fruit snack or pre-packaged lunch treat, but things you do with paper so kids will get creative with their notes and reports. Here are a few sites with examples:    and   and

*no, it didn't take me 4 hours to make that. There were the inevitable distractions, i.e. my children, facebook, the Chris Van Ellsberg websites, and a huge carne asada burrito.

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