Step #3 in the Focused Note-Taking process is making a connection with the notes by thinking beyond the notes, by looking at the notes through different lenses in order to gain a deeper understanding of the content. Using inquiry by asking questions is the most common way of making a connection. From the beginning AVID has used Costa's levels of questioning, aiming for the higher levels of questioning in processing and evaluation. A few inquiry strategies in connecting with the notes are:
- Comprehension questions seeking an explanation of something not yet understood
- Prediction questions (“What would happen if…”)
- Anomaly detection questions, where students try to resolve some cognitive conflict caused by the information or to address an identified discrepancy or anomaly in their notes
- Application questions, where students ponder the usefulness of the information
- Planning or strategy questions, in which students contemplate what to do or where to go next
However, using questions is not the only way of connecting thinking. Students can add their original thinking to their notes, such as:
- What is missing? What do I not know from these notes that I would like to know? How can I find those things out?
- What is alike? Where can I make connections within parts of my notes?
- Where does this fit with what I already know? How does this relate to other concepts or content?
- What patterns or trends do I find in these notes? Do they appear elsewhere? Where?
- What do I think? Do the ideas here challenge or confirm what I already know or believe? What is my emotional response?
- What are additional examples? What examples can I add to my notes to help me understand or remember these concepts better?
- What might I do with the information? How will this be useful
Below you will find activities you can use with students to help them process the notes in a variety of ways. Inquiry can happen in so many different ways, not just written. There is also a link for the Costa's Levels of Thinking across the different subject areas.
The AVID Site Team