Note Taking Instructions and resources

Download this editable Word document to help you record your research and track your sources:

Note-Taking Organizer

(found at www.educationworld/tools_templates/note_taking.doc)

How to use:

Main Topic– Write your main topic at the top. (i.e. “Early River Valley Civilizations- Yellow River”)

Research Questions/Sub-topic– Create some good questions about your sub-topic that will help guide your research.  For each sub-topic you are studying, create a question at the top. Good questions are open-ended (meaning it requires more than a yes or no to answer) and have answers that are more than one word.

For instance: If you are studying early river valley civilizations and your sub-topic is religion:

A good question-  “How did this civilization’s religious practices affect their daily life?”

A not-great question- “Did this civilization believe in God?”

Sources- For every source that you take a fact from, you have to eventually tell your teacher where you got that fact from.  To help you, record the book name and title or the website URL you used to find the facts you wrote down. Use a different row for every source.

Taking Notes- 

  • Skim the article or book until you find information on your subtopic. (Skim = look for main headings, key words, sentences etc. that are about your specific topic).  If you are using a book, it may be helpful to look up your sub-topic or main topic in the index at the back of the book, which will tell you what pages will have information on your topic.
  • Every time you find information about your sub-topics (the questions written at the top of each column), locate the main ideas.  Do you understand what the main ideas are? Rewrite them in your own words-if you can’t do this, you probably don’t understand it. Rewriting in your own words helps you learn better.
  • When taking notes, you don’t need to use all the words in the sentence, either, just ones that make the point.

i.e. If the sentence says, “The RCS MC Library is the most magical, fantastical place to be on the whole entire planet because it has loads and loads of great books of all kinds and lots of fun to experience like contests and games and other amazing things”

You would NOT rewrite the whole sentence, but simply condense it into something that explains the    main point simply, in your own words, like this:   Library = awesome place due to books and fun experiences.

  • Continue reading to find the next key idea or answers to your research questions and rewrite that as well.

When you’ve finished with this source, start the process over again with a new source!