Cornell note taking stimulates critical thinking skills



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  • Cornell
  • Notes
  • Why take notes?
  • Cornell note taking stimulates critical thinking skills.
  • Note taking helps students remember what is said in class.
  • A good set of notes can help students work on assignments and prepare for tests outside of the classroom.
  • Good notes allow students to help each other problem solve.
  • Good Notes help students organize and process data and information.
  • Helps student recall by getting them to process their notes 3 times.
  • Why take notes?
  • Writing is a great tool for learning!
  • Developed in 1949 at Cornell University by Walter Pauk.
  • Designed in response to frustration over student test scores.
  • Meant to be easily used as a test study guide.
  • Adopted by most major law schools as the preferred note taking method.
  • First & Last Name
  • Class Title
  • Period
  • Date
  • Topic
  • Questions,
  • Subtitles,
  • Headings,
  • Vocabulary
  • Etc.
  • Class Notes
  • 2 1/2”
  • 3 to 4 sentence summary across
  • the bottom of the page of notes
  • Summary is added at the end of each page
  • Summary added AFTER questions
  • are finished
  • Summary should answer the problem stated in the subject.
  • Economics
  • Example
  • (Diagram copied
  • during lecture)
  • (Questions about it )
  • How do the ticks find the cattle?
  • Why don’t the ticks usually kill their host?
  • How could tick infestations in cattle impact humans?

  • Practice Time
  • Let’s get out a sheet of Cornell note paper and get ready to practice the skill.
  • Assignment & Instructions
  • In the large, right hand column, take notes like you normally would.
  • You may use any style of note-taking you wish:
    • outline format,
    • narrative format,
    • symbols,
    • short hand, etc.
  • Compare notes with a partner.
  • Talk about what you wrote and why. Look for gaps & missed info.
  • Both partners should feel free to add to their notes.
  • Assignment & Instructions
  • With your partner(s), create questions in the left hand column.
  • These questions should elicit critical thinking skills.
    • Levels 3 through 6 in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
  • Assignment & Instructions
  • 1. KNOWLEDGE: recalling information
  • 2. COMPREHENSION: understanding meaning
  • 3. APPLICATION: using learning in new situations
  • 4. ANALYSIS: ability to see parts & relationships
  • 5. SYNTHESIS: Use parts to create a new whole
  • 6. EVALUATION: judgment based on criteria
  • Your questions should reflect:
  • Info you don’t understand or want to discuss with your teacher/tutor.
  • Info you think would go on an essay test.
  • Gaps in your notes.
  • Assignment & Instructions
  • On your own, in the space provided at the bottom of the page, complete a 3 or 4 sentence summary of what you wrote in your notes.
  • (the summary…)
  • Assignment & Instructions
  • What goes where?
  • Notes go here, in the
  • large right hand column.
  • Questions,
  • subtitles,
  • etc. go here,
  • in the left
  • hand column.
  • Remember,
  • we want
  • higher level
  • critical
  • thinking
  • questions.
  • A 3 to 4 sentence summary down there on the bottom of the page of notes
  • Don’t forget the heading:
  • Name, Class, Period, Date, Topic
  • Grading Rubric

(Overview: quickly scan)

  • (Overview: quickly scan)
  • (Establish a purpose)
  • (to answer questions)
  • (answers to questions with the book closed)
  • (Take notes!)
  • (at short intervals)
  • SQ4R-Writing to Learn
  • Note Taking Tips
  • Speaker says: “Hippocrates, a
  • Greek who is considered to be the
  • Father of modern medicine, was
  • Born on the island of Cos in
  • 460 B.C.”
  • Notes say: “Hippocrates (Gr.)
  • Father of med. B. Cos 460BC”
  • Be an Active Reader
  • Think about the reading
    • Consider how the parts relate to the whole; how the text relates to previous ideas
    • Create questions about new words/ terms, why emphasized points are important
    • Examine what you have learned from visuals
  • Look for the pattern in elements like chapter /subsection headings, summary points, graphics
  • Know where to find the index and glossary
  • Be Aware of Textbook Organization
  • Tips on Taking Text Notes
  • Become familiar with the font, symbols, borders, graphics, colors, and layout that highlight main ideas or terms
  • Be alert to the writer's goal: highlight ideas/ references /opinions that seem significant to their point of view
  • Use the text style to identify important points
  • Tips on Taking Text Notes
  • Include headings, key terms, & graphics
  • Take down only the important ideas: brief, but clear
  • Summarize in your own words
  • Use symbols to highlight for review
  • Use textbook review questions to develop study questions
  • Take notes while reading
  • Tips on Taking Text Notes
  • Identify main ideas
  • Fill in details for better understanding
  • Identify unclear information and/or questions - collaborate for answers
  • Delete unnecessary information
  • Review note organization; add symbols or rewrite
  • Write a summary
  • Tips on Taking Text Notes
  • Use discussion topics/questions organize your notes
  • Use symbols for important ideas
  • Include your own responses in notes
  • Develop questions to review later
  • Add references to other material as they come to mind
  • Tips on Taking
  • Discussion Notes
  • Cover the right side of your notes; review and answer study questions from the left using the right side as an answer key
  • Quiz yourself out loud
  • Cover the right side with blank paper; write out answers to the left column study questions
  • Tips for Studying with Notes
  • Write summaries of the most important material in the summary/reflection section
  • Write a quiz for others using notes; exchange and correct
  • Write anticipated test questions beyond those already in the left-hand column and write answers
  • Write!
  • Tips for Studying with Notes
  • Look over notes frequently to keep information and questions still unanswered fresh in mind
  • Recite information from notes
  • Review
  • Tips for Studying with Notes
  • Exchange notes with others to flesh out information and understanding
  • Use notes in study groups to provide a common ground of material for reference and review
  • Rewrite notes if necessary
  • Study in a Group
  • Tips for Studying with Notes
  • Designed by
  • Paul Bullock
  • Senior Program Specialist
  • &
  • Anne Maben
  • AP Science Coach


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