Techniques for the Classroom. Lesson 2: Note Taking


Why is note-taking in class important? In today’s technologically advanced times, class notes are often distributed by the teacher, or available online, even for elementary students. Taking proper notes in class is the first step to stress-free review and can make study time less arduous.

With effective note-taking skills, a student can

  • remember easier
  • make associations between lessons
  • understand better
  • spend less time studying

Check out these 6 tips for better in-class note taking.

  1. Sit front and center. To take detailed notes you have to pay close attention in class. Sit at the front of the classroom. This is a great way to ensure that the teacher sees you, and can slow down while you write. Taking notes while in class—the act of holding a pen to paper is active—and helps to ensure that the brain stays actively focused.
  2. Think before you write. Note taking doesn’t mean writing down every word that the teacher says. Listen for main ideas, key words, or phrases. If the teacher hands out notes, be sure to write down any examples or concepts that are not included in formal class notes.
  3. Look and listen for clues. The teacher will often cue any important information that students need to pay extra attention to. Some clues to important information include a change in volume or tone, repetition, emphasis, making a list, or writing materials on the board or the overhead.
  4. Develop a system. Parents can help children to develop their own system. Use a color-coded system. Black for taking notes in class, blue for your own ideas, and red to summarize what you feel are the key points. Use headings to separate different concepts, and be sure to write the date at the top of every page.
  5. Use the margins. Leave extra space in the margins or along the top of the page to identify key phrases and the main idea. This is also the place to write down unique ideas, or connections to other lessons.
  6. Practice paraphrasing—that’s just a fancy way of putting it in your own words. Things will stick in the memory better when they are in your own words. Instead of memorizing the words of the teacher, use your own words to understand the notes. When you understand, you’ll remember. And when you remember, the need to study is reduced.



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