Taking Notes with Graphic Organizers

research-based advice for studentsWe’ve blogged (quite energetically) about the difference between handwritten and laptop notes.

Of course, other note-taking differences merit investigation as well.

For example: if students take handwritten notes, is it better to give them:

a complete lecture outline,

a partial lecture outline,

a bare-bones lecture outline,


a complete graphic organizer,

a partial one, or

an empty one?

Over at the Learning Scientists, Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel explores this question, and adds some thoughts of her own.

One Man’s Experience

This article particular caught my eye because it applies so directly to my own work.

When I talk with teachers, students, or parents about brains, I always provide them with option #5 above: an incomplete graphic organizer.

My goal: reduce working memory load. (I’m always focused on reducing extraneous working memory load.)

The informal feedback I get is strongly positive. Many teachers, in fact, tell me that they’ve started using the same form with their own students.

When you read Dr. Kuepper-Tetzel’s post, you’ll see how well (if at all) my practice accords with the research we have.

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