As the school year progresses, it becomes more and more important for your kids to preserve what their teachers have been saying in class to ensure they’ve got the information they need to pass those tests. Here’s a quick review for you to share with your son or daughter of some ways to make their note-taking more effective:
Ask yourself, “What does the teacher expect me to learn? Why? What is he saying? How does it relate to the subject? Is it important? Is it something I need to be sure to remember?” Asking these questions makes it easier to separate what is important from what is unimportant. If you use the Notes:TM technique, this provides you with a steady supply of things to jot down on the right side of the line.
Pay attention to clues you can pick up from the teacher and your reading material. Clues in the reading material can take the form of headings, bold type, italics, pictures, graphs, and diagrams. Some books have chapter outlines that contain important topics. Look at section and chapter summaries. Note the author’s or teacher’s conclusions.
Look for physical clues from the teacher too. Every teacher has a unique style; you can pick up on important points by becoming familiar with that style. Activate your antennae to the teacher’s facial expressions, gestures, body movements, and raised or lowered voice. Notice when she repeats an idea or word, and be attentive to what she writes on the board. Always sit as close to the front of the room as possible – it’s easier to pick up on important clues that way.
If you don’t understand something or have questions about it, ask! Join in discussions. Some people hold back, worrying about what others might think. Surveys show that people in an audience usually think highly of participators, often envying them for their courage even when they resent them for interrupting. Besides, what’s the worst other people can think – that you’re selfish in wanting to gain new knowledge?
If you know what the teacher is going to discuss, preview the material and find as much information on it as possible beforehand. Having some knowledge ahead of time will help you identify important points during a speech or lecture.
You’ll also know which concepts are unclear to you, so you can be prepared to ask questions. As you hear bits of information, you’ll find it easier to see how they fit together in the big picture. Previewing is one of the most effective ways to insure success and understanding.
Make the Auditory Visual
Your notes should be personal and meaningful to you, just like snapshots. Have you ever noticed how a picture from a vacation or important event brings a flood of memories – things you thought you’d forgotten?
When you’re taking in information, snap pictures of it by adding visual associations like symbols, drawings, and arrows as they occur to you. This way, your notes, even if reviewed months later, will remind you instantly of the material you knew was important at the time – and need to recall now.
Make Reviewing Easy
When taking/making notes, write on only one side of the paper. Use single sheets, not paper in a bound notebook. Then you can lay the sheets out in front of you or hang them up on the wall alter, when you need to review.
It’s also helpful to copy key notes onto three-by-five cards that you can carry around with you. When you’re standing in line, riding a bus, or waiting for a class to start, you can take them out for a few minutes of extra study or thinking time.
If students apply these tips to their note-taking, they will be more organized and more prepared to tackle whatever comes their way this year. They’ll be begging for their teachers to, “C’mon, gimme that test!”
* For one-on-one support from a SuperCamp facilitator, call our Grad Support Hotline at 1-800-285-3276, extension 170.