Thursday, September 3, 2009

Note Taking

Note taking is an important skill all students must have. In middle school a teacher may slow down for you because you're still learning how to take notes. But by the time you're in high school and college, you are expected to keep up with your teachers, and they can lecture very quickly.

First, you should not try to write down everything. This will be impossible. Instead, listen for items the teacher repeats or emphasizes and watch what he or she writes on the chalkboard. These are the items the teacher thinks are most important.

Write these things in your own words and use a system of symbols and abbreviations that make sense for you. If you're into text-messaging, some of those skills can carry over to your note taking. For instance, if the teacher says, "George Washington's army camped at Valley Forge in December 1777, staying there for the next six months," your notes might read "GW rmy Val Forg 12/1777, 6 mo." Later you should review your notes and write down any additional information.

An excellent website with many note taking strategies, documents, and handouts is:

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