For the next few weeks, I will be covering note-taking strategies and tips.  Taking notes in class and from textbooks is a skill. And like most study skills, it is rarely modeled. This is unfortunate because notes are an invaluable resource for students, especially in college.  Notes support the whole learning cycle, they can use for encoding and can be converted into quizzable study tool.

Taking notes in class has historically helped students stay focused and attentive.  As we move away from textbooks to more teacher curated content,  in-class notes are essential because they are the only place student have access to this information.  This often means that students do not know what they need to know, resulting in lower grades and frustration.

The first thing I teach students is that note taking is a multi-step process First, students should focus on getting the information down. These notes will probably be messy and disorganized.  Second, students need to know what to do with their notes after class.  I call this honing notes.

Honing notes allows students to revisit and revise their notes from class.  This should not be a retyping of the same notes. I want students to do something different with their notes.  I will cover ways students can hone their notes in this series.  As a quick overview student can reduce the material in their notes, they can put their notes in a new order, or create graphic organizers.  How students hone their notes should reflect their own preferences and the type of material.