Focused Note Taking

The Five Phases of Focused Note-Taking

I. Taking Notes

Select a note-taking format, set up the note page, record the Essential Question, and take notes.

There are many different ways to take notes…


Click here to learn how to write the Essential Question.

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Click here for Regular Cornell Notepaper.

Click here for Graph Cornell Notepaper.

Click here for Blank Cornell Notepaper.

Click here for Philosophical Chair Cornell Notepaper.



II.  Processing Notes

Revise notes by underlining, highlighting, circling, chunking, adding, or deleting.  Be able to identify main ideas and details.  Evaluate the importance of information and ideas in notes.

You will be expected to…

  1. Vocabulary words are circled
  2. Main Ideas are highlighted or underlined
  3. Missing information is added in a different color
  4. Number the Main Ideas in importance



III.  Connecting Thinking

Analyze the notes using inquiry to make connections and deepen content knowledge by asking questions and adding your own thinking to create greater understanding, identify gaps or points of confusion, and connect your new learning to what you already know.

You will be expected to write 2-4 Level 2 or Level 3 questions per side…

  1.  That are possible test questions or
  2.  Are about the notes



IV.  Summarizing and Reflecting

Pull together the most important aspects of your notes and your thinking about them to craft a summary that captures the meaning and importance of the content and reflects on how the learning helps you meet the note-taking objective

You will be expected to write one 2-4 sentence summary or reflection per set of notes


GIST/Summarize/5 Ws, DLIQ Reflection, and Say-Mean-Matter are three ways a note-taker can summarize Cornell Notes.



V.  Applying Learning

Save and revisit your notes as a resource or learning tool to help you apply or demonstrate what you have learned.


Focused Note Taking Guide-What Level are You?

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Focused Note Taking Grade Distribution

_____/1 Correct Heading which includes Name, Date, Subject (Not AVID), Period (1 point)

_____/1 Topic (1 point)

_____/1 Objective (1 point)

_____/1 Standard or Essential (1 point)

_____/2 Notes (1 full side of a page or 2 composition pages for a total of 2 points)

_____/2 Notes must be highlighted/underlined, circled, and possibly in different color (1 point)

_____/2 2-4 questions (Level 2 questions are worth 0.5 points a piece, Level 3 questions are worth 1 point a piece for a total of 2 points)

_____/1 2-4 sentence complete summary (1 point)

_____/10 Total

10/10-A+     9/10-A-     8/10-B     7/10-C     6/10-D     5/10-F