Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Note-Taking Examples from Students in Nonfiction Unit: Part 2

This is the 2nd post in a series of posts about our Nonfiction Unit.  To read my first post, please click here.  

In my previous post, I shared a photo of our class bulletin board where students post note-taking examples that their classmates can use as mentors.  Below are a few close-ups of some note-taking examples that students have posted so far. These are the forms of note-taking that students chose to use while reading their text during independent reading or while actively listening during read aloud.  I taught and modeled various note-taking strategies and we have practiced how to choose a form of note-taking that best organizes the information.  We learned that note-taking is a tool and that we need to choose the best tool to match the text we are reading, just like we choose a hammer to put a nail into a wall or a staple remover to remove a staple in papers.  

As students use different forms of note-taking, they are posting them on our bulletin board and sharing their reasoning behind using the form they chose.  They are learning from one another and using each other as mentors - such powerful learning! You will notice that students use colored pencils while they take notes - this not only gives them the ability to color-code, but also inspires them to take notes and write in their notebooks!  They use colored pencils throughout their reader's notebook, not just for note-taking in our nonfiction unit, but throughout all units and all sections of their reader's notebook. 
This student chose to use a flow-chart to show the Problems/Solutions in their text

This student chose to create organized boxes to jot down information about her topic

This student chose to use a T-Chart to clearly show the differences between Dolphins and Sharks as we read Shark or Dolphin? by Melissa Stewart 
This student chose to draw the life cycle of a penguin as he read about the sequence in his text

Happy Note-Taking! :)


  1. I am really enjoying your posts on nonfiction lately. I have been trying to use more nonfiction pieces with my 6th graders, but am really struggling finding substantial pieces -- selections that are good models of different text structures and have depth of content for sixth grade readers. Where are you getting your nonfiction texts? What grade students are you working with? I think I missed that along the way. Thanks!

    1. Thank you - I'm glad you are enjoying them and finding them helpful! I am a bookaholic so I'm constantly looking for different texts, both fiction and nonfiction, and I read a ton! I teach 5th grade so these examples are all from 5th graders. I will be posting more about our nonfiction unit so stay tuned :)

  2. A couple questions...
    How do the kids choose their book? Are they reading the info with a certain goal in mind, like gathering info to do a writing piece later, or are they simply reading for pleasure (and analysis) as they would with fiction?
    And did I miss what the different color writing signifies?
    I'm starting my nonfiction unit Monday and I want to use some of your ideas.
    I love your blog- thanks for the practical but inspiring ideas!

    1. They choose their own books - of course I am always recommending books to them! They are taking notes and reading with their purpose in mind for what they want to learn. They will begin working in mini research clubs this month and will begin to focus their reading around one issue to become an "expert" on and take a stance on. They will present their learning to the class and will also write argumentative essays too.

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