The New Norms for Learning in HPL

Taking Notes

Constructing Understandings. Explaining in our Own Words. Keeping Track of our Thinking.

Anchor Chart: The Processes of Taking Notes

In HPL, we take notes to keep track of the understandings we construct around complex informational texts so we can remember what we are learning. Later, we can use our notes to talk with others, deepening our understandings, surfacing misunderstandings, and clearing up confusions. Taking Notes Anchor Chart 1 anchors the processes students use to take notes. (BEFORE they ever take a note, they preview and closely read.) Once they can explain something important in their own words, they take a note. The purpose of this Anchor is to make clear that our notes should chronicle our meaning-making experiences.

Anchor Chart: Characteristics of Good Notes

Taking Notes Anchor 2 anchors the characteristics of good notes. Notes should remind us about what we have learned. They should be short, organized, and in our own words. Anchors 1 and 2 serve both to scaffold students and to guide teachers, who now carefully observe individual students to determine what they have taken over and where they still need help to become independent. With a clear vision of what notes should look like, students and teachers can examine a set of notes against a standard of sorts, then trace the lines backward to where the process may have broken down—and work differently toward a better result.

Taking Notes Assessment Guide

This document (still in draft form) guides teachers through the process of assessing notes and note-taking processes, providing a list of “Look-for” behaviors outlined on two Anchor Charts. Teaching for independence means that we have to assess frequently to determine what students have taken over and where they still need instruction.

Taking Notes Self-Assessment

Part of developing independence is teaching students how to honestly self-assess and reflect, learning how to connect the processes they are using with the results they are getting. This self-assessment can be used in any classroom where teachers are establishing Taking Notes as a New Norm. Here, students have an opportunity to reflect on what they are learning to do as well as what they still need to work on. They can then collaboratively plan with their teachers to set specific goals for improvement.

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