Summarizing and Note-Taking

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Enhance students' ability to synthesize information and organize it in a way that captures the main ideas and supporting details.

Generalizations From Research

  1. Students must delete some information, substitute some information, and keep some information when they summarize.
  2. To effectively delete, substitute, and keep information, students must analyze the information at a fairly deep level.
  3. Being aware of the explicit structure of information is an aid to summarizing information.
  4. Verbatim note taking is, perhaps, the least effective way to take notes.
  5. Notes should be considered a work in progress.
  6. Notes should be used as study guides for tests.
  7. The more notes that are taken, the better.

Example Activities

Recommendations & Ideas

  1. Teach students the rule-based summarizing strategy
  2. Use summary frames
  3. Teach students reciprocal teaching
  4. Give students teacher-prepared notes
  5. Teach students a variety of note-taking formats (like Cornell Notes)
  6. Use combination notes

Information presented above in the definition is from McREL, and generalizations from research, and recommendations & ideas is from Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (ASCD)(Robert J. Marzano, Debra J. Pickering, Jane E. Pollock).

Web 2.0 Connections

"Y" Under each category indicates that this tool can be used with this strategy.

"Free +" Indicates that the tool is free at the basic level, but that more advanced versions are available at a cost.

Category Key:

SD = Identifying Similarities and Differences CL = Cooperative Learning SNT = Summarizing and Note-Taking ER = Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition HP = Homework and Practice NR = Nonlinguistic Representation OF = Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback HYP = Generating and Testing Hypotheses QCO = Questions, Cues, and Advance Organizers

Tool Link Desc Cost SD CL SNT ER HP NR OF HYP QCO Notes
Exploratree [[1]] Online Graphic Organizer Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Interactive, pre-made graphic organizers that can be edited online
MixedInk Collaborative Writing Tool [[2]] Online Collaborative Writing Free Y Y Y Y Y Enable students to craft an essay collectively by remixing ideas & language and rating & commenting on different versions. The tool encourages cross-pollination of ideas through a number of unique features and automatically tracks authorship.
MediaWiki [[3]] Open Source wiki software Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Wiki engine that powers [ Wikipedia] as well as this wiki.
Notalon [[4]] OpenSource Cornell Notes Software Free Y Y Download, Software specifically designed for taking notes "Cornell style"
iGoogle [[5]] Online Personal Homepage Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Integrates with all Google tools
Netvibes [[6]] Online Personal Homepage Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y [[7]] Online Social Bookmarks Free Y Y Y Y
Twitter [[8]] Online Messaging Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
SuprGlu [[9]] Online Tool Hub Free Y Y Y Combine all of your online tools together in one place
Backpack [[10]] Online Personal Organizer Free + Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Basecamp [[11]] Online Project Collaboration Free + Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ning [[12]] Community Websites Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Can be used for a classroom website
Diigo [[13]] Online Social Annotation Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
iOutliner [[14]] Online Project Organizer Free Y Y Y
Writeboard [[15]] Online Collaborative Note-Taking Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Integrates with BackPack
MyNoteIT [[16]] Online Note-Taking Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y [[17]] Online Note-Taking Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Currently under redevelopment
pbWiki [[18]] Wiki Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ajax13 [[19]] Online Graphic Editor Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Requires Firefox 1.5 (or higher) Browser
Thinkature [[20]] Online Collaboration & Whiteboard Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Zoho Wiki [[21]] Wiki Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Part of Zoho Suite of Online Apps
Zoho Writer [[22]] Online Word Processor Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Part of Zoho Suite of Online Apps
Zoho Notebook [[23]] Online Notebook Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Part of Zoho Suite of Online Apps
Google Documents [[24]] Online Word Processor Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Also contains Spreadsheets & Presentations
WordPress [[25]] Blog Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
Technorati [[26]] Blog Search Engine Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
EduBlogs [[27]] Blog Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
Blogger [[28]] Blog Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
Wikispaces [[29]] Wiki Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Examples from teachers, students, classrooms, schools

Please click on the "edit" tab to share your examples here.

Contributor: Craig Hicks

The use of wikis to be a collaborative note taking tool has great potential. Here are a few examples of student generated wikis.

The use of wikis as a note taking tool would allow students to employ nearly all of the components listed in the research findings associated with this instructional strategy.

Contributor: Susanne Nobles

I used Google Docs to direct my students' textual annotations. As we read the Bhagavad-Gita, my students had to choose key stanzas on their own for homework and annotate them in preparation for focusing on these chosen stanzas in class through both cooperative-group and all-class discussions. What worked so well with this was we began our discussions with what the students had deemed important, thus placing value on their own abilities as readers. Also, each student had something already prepared to say at the start of each class, thus allowing me to call on people to ensure full participation without seeing that blank stare of fear.

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Contributor: Jennifer Clark Evans I reorganized the traditional research paper for my juniors in American Literature class this year. Instead of teaching notecards and the Dewey Decimal system, we discussed print versus non-sources and used a wiki to collect and organize notes. Throughout the research process, each student maintained a wiki page to take notes and plan for their final paper. I had access to each page and could track "recent changes" as well as post comments on each student's individual page. Finally, students could publish their final paper on their wikipage, but maintain all of their research notes and early drafts on the "History" tab, so the process of writing the research paper became more tangible to them as they used new media sources to find, organize, and report credible information.

Contributor: Randy Rodgers A teacher I work with frequently has used Blogger to have her students create daily summaries of classroom instruction. A random student is chosen to do so each day, and they post to her class blog [1]. Classmates can add details, ask questions, make comments, etc. Useful as a means of review and checking on student comprehension of objectives. [2]

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