Step #2 of Focused Note-Taking is Processing Notes. How many times have we asked our students to dump out their backpacks to only watch all the notes they've taken start piling up on their desks? Of all of those notes, how many times do you think students have actually looked at them? Ask, and most likely they will tell you none. Studies have shown that students forget almost 58% of the information after the first 20 minutes. 24 hours later, they have only retained 33% of the information. These various studies are called the "Rate of Forgetting". Students can gain back a good chunk of that learning by going back into their notes and processing the information by chunking, using symbols and annotations, adding and deleting information, etc... In my experience as a teacher, this is not a student's most favorite task, but it is so valuable to their learning and success, it is our job to share with students the importance of completing this task. Providing students with a tool to use to help annotated the notes they've taken, encouraging a student to review what they've written within 24 hours of writing it down, and making it a goal as a class to come back and reflect on their learning is critical in helping students succeed.
Below, you can find an annotation handout that has worked well in our AVID classes over the years. It utilizes general symbols that students can become familiar with and help interact with the notes they have taken. We will continue to add to this bank of resources as we come across good tools. Please share if you have anything that has worked well with students in your classes, across subject areas, that we can add to our bank of resources.