Q-Notes: Note-taking strategy
This year I am teaching a combined LA/SS block, so I decided to teach note-taking when it came time for the informational text unit. It was incredibly successful and I’ve been using it as a building block to other things since.
The strategy is very simple, and easy to use on any text with sub-headings.
- Write the name of the lesson, the article, or chapter at the top of the page.
- Draw a vertical line about a third of the way from the left of a piece of paper or notebook page.
- Each sub-heading is turned into a question matching the main idea. Write the question on the left side of that line.
- The section is read with the question in mind and the student takes 2 – 5 notes to answer the question on the right side of that line.
That’s all there is to it. I taught a mini-lesson on how to turn the headings into questions, and then we did a practice session using a section of the SS textbook. I read over the students notes and made a list of the mini-lessons they were going to need (summarizing, main idea). After the lessons, we did another set. Repeat.
It took three sets over three weeks, but my kiddos are note-taking fools. Next year, this is the very first thing I will teach them how to do.
This method seemed kind of common sense to me, but I was asked to look for some research and I found this handout. Do you have any note-taking strategies you would like to share?
Update: The explanation handout is no longer online. There is an explanation that could be used for this strategy or Cornell Notes (as they are very similar) here:
There is a template available here