Three Note Taking Styles: Cornell, Mind Mapping, and Squeeze Notes

Following is a brief discussion of three types of note taking strategies that you can use in the course of this lesson.


Cornell Note Taking Template

Divide a 8.5" x 11" page into three sections: Cue Column (1), Note taking Column (2) and Summary (3).

Cornell note taking template

See http://www.timeatlas.com/5_minute_tips/general/word_templates_and_cornell_note_taking to learn how to create your own Cornell Note Taking template.

An evaluation strategy for Cornell Note taking: Create a check list such as the following:

Note-Taking Evaluation

Name ________________________________________________________


Mind Maps - a 'whole brain' note taking method.

There is a creative (right) side and a logical (left) side to the brain. Mind Map Notes cater to both sides. Traditional linear notes cater mainly for the logical side. A Mind Map consists of a Central Topic with a Central Picture. This is very important, as it forms a 'hook' to which all the information it contains will be attached.

Mind Map templateIn The Mind Map Book, author Tony Buzan uses the following guidelines for making mind maps (as quoted in Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map):

Why do Mind Map Notes work?


Note Taking – the Squeeze Approach

The Squeeze concept of note taking is catching on in schools across the nation.  So, what is it?  The idea is that students will learn to squeeze the information that they verbally learn in class into a small amount of information written in their own words.  This is a learning tool that will take a least a couple of weeks to master, will require you to be patient as students learn,  and must be carefully taught at the beginning of the school year through several steps:

First step -  Teaching the concept.  Students work in groups of three and will read a primary document selected by the teacher.  Each group gets the same document.  Then, they do the following:

  1. Each student in the group reads the primary document (can be done individually or aloud).
  2. After reading the document, each student writes, in their own words, a 1-2 paragraph summary of the main points in the document. 
  3. Then, each student shares their summary with the other group members while the group verifies each summary – explaining where they agree or disagree with each summary. 
  4. Each student squeezes their summary into 1-2 sentences, then shares their 1-2 sentences squeeze with the group members, and discuss how they compare and contrast.
  5. Each group picks one of the squeeze summaries to share with the entire class.
  6. The teacher leads a discussion about the squeeze summaries.

Second step:  Refining the concept.  Students work individually and will read a primary document selected by the teacher.  Then, each student does the following:

  1. Writes a 1-2 paragraph summary of the document in their own words.
  2. Squeezes the content of their summary into 1-2 sentences.
  3. Shares their 1-2 sentences squeeze with their classmates and discuss how they compare and contrast.

Third step:  Broadening the squeeze concept.  The teacher will give a 10-minute lecture and students will not take notes. Each student writes a 1-2 paragraph summary in their own words of what they learned in the lecture.  Then, the students then move into groups of three and do the following:

  1. As a group, students verify each of the summaries by asking if they agree or disagree with the summaries.
  2. Each student squeezes the summary into 1-2 sentences.
  3. Students then share the squeeze with their classmates and discuss how they compare and contrast.

Fourth step:  Applying the concept.  Students work individually.  Using the Cornell note taking format, have them draw a line down their note taking paper.  Then, each student does the following as the teacher delivers a 10-15 minute lecture/discussion:

  1. On the right-hand side of the line, write no more than 1-2 paragraphs of notes in their own words while the teacher is talking.
  2. At the end of the lecture/discussion, give the students 5-10 minutes to squeeze the information they learned into 1-2 sentences that they write on the left-hand side of the line.
  3. Have the students add to the left-hand side of the line any questions they had after writing their summaries and squeeze.
  4. Have the students share their squeeze and any remaining questions aloud.

Fifth step:  Finalizing the concept.  Students work individually, using the same Cornell note taking format is described above in Step 4. Then, each student does the following as the teacher delivers a lecture/discussion of the teacher’s desired length:

  1. On the right-hand side of the line, write no more than whatever number of paragraphs (determined by the teacher and based on the length of the class lecture/discussion) in their own words while the teacher is talking.
  2. At the end of the lecture/discussion, give the students 5-10 minutes to squeeze the information they learned into 1-2 sentences which they write on the left-hand side of the line.
  3. Have the students add any questions they had after writing their summaries and squeeze to the left-hand side of the line.
  4. Have the students turn in their squeeze and any questions they had after writing their summaries and squeeze. 
  5. Read each squeeze and questions, make appropriate comments, and return to students as soon as possible.