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Thread: Taking notes

  1. #1
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    Default Taking notes

    I need suggestions for teaching a kid (17) how to take notes. He understands the process, understands the basics of outlining, and the meaning of "key words", but he cannot sift through and pull out the pertinent info that needs to be written down. He has tried a wide variety of written and video sources, and in the end nothing, from his point of view, "works". He's been blaming the material, but today conceded that maybe his brain is the problem. He does have a history of language-based learning disability that is apparently getting in the way here. I'm at a loss for where to go next.
    Wendy, wife of Retired Air Force hubby Sid. Mom to school teacher Virginia, 28yo; Son-in-law Mark; Homeschool graduate and Graphic Artist John, 21 and remaining student Tim, 15.
    I can only do one thing well...You pick: Homeschool the kids, or Clean the house.

  2. #2
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    This is a really hard question. Outside of a classroom setting, it's so hard to teach someone how to take notes (I think). For a student who is already struggling with language-based issues, it's got to be doubly hard. For my child with language/verbal/word issues, the only thing that worked was to have him in a classroom where the teacher taught, step by step, how to take notes on her lectures. He's still not quite there yet, but now he has another teacher who's doing the same thing (both are social studies), so hopefully he'll eventually get the hang of it enough to get by.

    I know that's not very helpful. Just letting you know that we struggle with the same thing here with a child who doesn't come by this naturally.
    "Ree-bee," Mom to United States Marine ds 21 * artist dd 18 * motion-loving ds 15 * piano-playing ds 11
    "For Miss Minnie loved children and she loved books, and she taught merely by introducing the one to the other." from "A Consent," by Wendell Berry

  3. #3
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    Can you find a source of lecture material? I'm sure there's something on youtube, but if your library has them, see if you can check out something from The Great Courses, and then perhaps watch them with him and stop the DVD frequently and demonstrate how you would take them.

    Or TED talks! Maybe start there. Lots of interesting ones, and they're short, which is a big plus when you're working on a new skill.
    Carol, mom to 19 yo, 17 yo, 16 yo, and 13 yo.
    I don't really care who did it. I just want you to clean it up.

  4. #4
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    Here are a few resources that I routinely share with college students. The first doesn't give a ton of "how to," but does walk through the learning/approach needed for notetaking. The rest have to do with close reading/annotating texts, but could easily incorporate notebooks as well.

    "Learning (Your First Job)" by Robert Leamnson

    "How to Do a Close Reading"

    "Annotating Texts" (blog post)
    Mama of two lovely ladies: Carina (10) & Madelyn (8).

  5. #5
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    One other thing (you may already know this). Don't let him take notes on a laptop or tablet. He should handwrite them. It helps them retain much more, and they are forced to think about what they're writing. Also, with a laptop (if they type fast) they tend to type everything that's said, rather than discriminating between what's important and what's not. When I took notes, I would make little symbols or pictures or arrows or box things off or lots of other things that would help me as I went back to study from them later. This is so much easier by hand and it's more inviting to read later than a bunch of homogenous text on a laptop.
    "Ree-bee," Mom to United States Marine ds 21 * artist dd 18 * motion-loving ds 15 * piano-playing ds 11
    "For Miss Minnie loved children and she loved books, and she taught merely by introducing the one to the other." from "A Consent," by Wendell Berry

  6. #6

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    My boys practiced taking notes during the sermon Sunday morning. I would take notes too and then Monday morning we would compare and discuss. It was really great because it wasn't like an assignment for note taking at the time, I just wanted them to be more engaged during the sermon and be able to discuss it with us. They ended up with pretty good note taking skills and I got to have great discussions about the sermon with them.
    Steph~Blessed wife to David and mama to five fabulous boys:
    Caleb-20- Completing Business degree online thru Liberty University, Isaac-17- Completing Criminal Justice degree at community college, Elijah-15, Silas-9 and Jotham-7

  7. #7
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    My kids practiced on CNN student news, a 10 min week-daily internet broadcast of student aged appropriate news.
    You have indeed been called into ministry. Be careful that you don't scorn it in persuit of something bigger or better in the world's eyes. -- Lis in Maine

  8. #8

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    Have you looked into alternative note taking strategies? The Cornel method and Sketchnotes come to mind. Not everyone thinks in outlines. Maybe a more visual system would work better.
    Learning with A, J, and B

    "We need to be the people we want our children to become." ~ Rafe

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly K View Post
    My kids practiced on CNN student news, a 10 min week-daily internet broadcast of student aged appropriate news.
    We watch this daily too. This is a great idea!

    I love your sermon idea too, Steph!

    I'm teaching english for a group of cousins, so I'm demonstrating how to take notes on the board, but they're not summarizing what I'm saying, just copying. I guess it's a start.

    I think showing them how to outline a textbook is helpful too. I did two independent study college courses and my assignment was to outline the entire text.
    Melissa, Five in a Row Staff - Community Manager
    Robert's my man. Jacob, 13, and Mattie, 9, entertain me and keep me on my knees!
    "Once your enemy, now seated at your table. Jesus, thank you!" ~ Sovereign Grace Music

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