Follow-Up to Note-Taking Lesson  

Activity 1: Exchange Notes


  • To provide peer feedback on note-taking strategy
  • To improve the quality of the questions in the margins
  • To help students understand the benefits of being prepared for their selected course


·         Everyone who brought your notes with questions you generated in the margins, move to the right side of the room.

·         Everyone who brought your notes with no questions generated in the margins, move to the left side of the room.

·         Everyone who did not bring notes from your selected course, move to the middle of the room.

·         Everyone on the right with notes and questions, exchange your selected course notes with a partner.  Have your partner quiz you on the questions in the margins.  You will either answer the question, or re-word the question if it does not make sense.

·         Everyone on the left side of the room with notes but no questions, take a few minutes to generate some questions for your notes.  As you finish, pair up with a partner and quiz each other.

·         For the group in the middle, use your workbooks and quiz each other on the questions that were generated from the lecture on the Learning to Learn System that I gave you in the last session.

·         We'll take 10 minutes for this activity (5 minutes for each student)

·         (Make sure you walk around the room.  Keep track of the time and remind students when it's time to switch to the other person asking the questions in the margins.)


Discussion:  Could you answer your own questions?  Did you have to clarify your own questions?  Can you see how questions in the margins make use of your notes in a more timely fashion than waiting to review them the night before an exam?


As you practice this strategy, your notes will become more organized, you'll be more engaged in each lecture, and you'll begin generating questions during the lecture!  If your mind wanders during lectures, this will help you pay closer attention DURING the lecture! REMEMBER it is to your benefit to bring your materials to class.  You can take advantage of this time in Master Student to study the material in the course you are working with!


Let's do a quick review of the note-taking strategy checklist.


Those of you who tried this strategy in your classes probably encountered some difficulty along the way.  What problems did you have with this strategy?  What makes this strategy difficult?  (Review as needed.  Listed below are some typical concerns. You could ask students for the problems they have encountered and encourage their classmates to generate possible solutions.)


Typical concerns:                                              Some solutions

Professors talks too fast

Draw a line, leaving room to fill in the blanks later by comparing notes with a classmate or talking to the professor.

I can't write it all down

Develop a system of abbreviations and do the same as above.

Why should I leave the left page blank?

Use this for notes from the text, questions that interest you or go beyond the material, build a glossary, make variations of the problems given in class.

Notes are disorganized

In time, you will begin to get more organized as you practice.  You will get more familiar with the content and will hear the change in topic/idea/theories.

I can't do this for math, chemistry, etc.

You can.   You have written formulas, sample problems, definitions, etc.  Formulate your questions to reflect the types of problems you are learning to solve. Go to your textbook for important details, diagrams, definitions…

Professor  only uses Power -point

If the power-point is available before class, then you ( student)  can print the power-point and write in additional information during the lecture( preferable in your own words). If the power-point is only available during the lecture, then the student can take notes and leave blanks and ask the professor to make the power-point available on Web CT later. However, the process of taking notes is important in remembering and understanding information. It is important for students to personalize notes by using their own words and ideas. Also what the professor is saying takes precedence over materials presented in power-point lecture. Do not tune out the professor and only focus on the power-point .

 (Reiterate the benefits of using this strategy and the importance of asking questions and finding any “missing” information.)

 As you practice, the quality of questions in the margins should improve.  Use the Common Terms (here) to help you create better questions. 


Central Connecticut State University | PO Box 4010 | 1615 Stanley Street | New Britain, Connecticut 06050-4010

Central Connecticut State University  |  1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, CT 06050
860.832.CCSU or toll free instate 1-888-733-CCSU

Copyright © 2007 [Central Connecticut State University]. All rights reserved.