Guided notes offer an alternative to traditional note taking. They are teacher prepared handouts tailored to the content and format of lessons with blank spaces for students to write or include information. The information completed by students can include relevant definitions, key facts or important concepts. Guided Notes can increase student engagement but reducing the demands to listen and note take at the same time, whilst also teaching the skills of note taking.
Using the notes
Prior to using guided notes
- Create an outline of the lesson identifying the learning outcomes for this class.
- Create a handout for the lesson leaving blanks for the student to complete. The blanks may include key facts, definitions or concepts.
- Space the blanks across the document, e.g. vary the position of the blanks so they appear at different places in the sentence.
- Leave enough space for the student to write or include information as some students may prefer to use symbols or draw.
Guided note instruction
- Explain the use of guided notes to the students, e.g. 'The notes are missing important information. You will need to listen for this information and when you hear this information write it down.'
- Teach the students how to use the notes. Teaching methods may include
- teacher modelling. See factsheet
- time delay e.g. pause after providing the key information. See factsheet
- Plan activities for students to practice this skill.
- Check students' accuracy of filling in the notes e.g. ask students to respond using response cards. See factsheet
- 'Provide reinforcement – 'Great! You have written the important point.' See factsheets
behaviour specific praise and
- Fade the use of guided notes as the student starts to demonstrate their ability to take notes on their own.
- Student notes may vary in length from one to three-word responses. For secondary school students, this may extend to 5-word responses, however, alternate the length of the responses e.g. long response, short response.
- Instead of writing a response, students could circle correct response, paste a picture or draw a response.
- Diagrams and maps that are partially completed, e.g. a concept map partially completed.
Guided note taking can be modifed for the following age groups:
- high school.