Lesson Strategies

Menu

Rationale
Process
Images of Cornell Note-taking
English-Reading Example
More Resources
YouTube Videos
Examples within the On the Job website

 

Cornell Note Taking    

Rationale

It is a system for taking, organizing and reviewing notes and has been devised by Prof. Walter Pauk of Cornell University in the 1950s. The Cornell Method has been and remains one of the most popular note-taking strategies among students today. Cornell notes is a type of note making that helps students determine which details are important to include for summary (Miller & Veatch, 2011). The technique can be seen below and in the accompanying diagrams. According to Ruschhaupt (2010), the Cornell method helps keep information organized so it is easier to focus on the main points, and it is an efficient way to take notes. It requires very little preparation which makes it ideal for note taking in class.

As always, it is important to model and guide students through examples before they do this activity on their own. For the model start with a recently learned text and go over the details of how to take notes on something they are already familiar with. This will serve as a good review and help students learn the new skill.

Process

1. You simply divide up your notes into 3 sections. The right column is home to the general area. This is where you keep your most important ideas that the teacher has covered during class. It is important that you try to summarize as much as possible and to be smart when note-taking.

The left area serves to compliment the general area. Writing notes in the margins helps us understand and relate each part of our notes. This section may develop during the class itself, or at the end of it. The last section labelled ‘summary’ should be left blank during class. It is intended for use when you are reviewing/ studying the class notes. This lessens the need to keep up with the teacher’s delivery and write fast. You should try to develop a short summary of key points in this section for greater reflection of the class notes.

The following image is in inches here is the conversion into cms.

Conversion [all rounded up]

2 inches    = 5cm 
2.5 inches = 6.5cm
6 inches    = 15cm
8.5 inches = 21.6cm
11 inches  = 28cm

Cornell Notes

 

 

2. For the next section have students work with partners to fill in the Cornell notes sheet (or have them make their own in their notes) together. The teacher will monitor progress by walking around the room guiding and answering questions.

3. After students finish, go over the notes together and decide on the main points for each section and determine the best summary that focuses on the objectives.

4. Finally, have students complete a third section independently. Check student understanding of the summarizing technique and reteach if necessary. Then students can use the method on their own to help study effectively.

5. Exams. Besides being a very efficient way of taking great notes in class, Cornell note taking is THE perfect tip for exam preparation. Here’s why:

  • The system itself encourages you to reflect on your notes by actively summarizing them in their own words.

  • Often, this can already be enough to remember study notes and to successfully pass an exam.

  • When reviewing the notes it’s also useful to reorder objects on the page, for example, to add a solution to an answer on the side to the notes.

In summary

Note Taking Area: Record lecture as fully and as meaningfully as possible.

Cue Column: As you're taking notes, keep cue column empty. Soon after the lecture, reduce your notes to concise jottings as clues for Reciting, Reviewing, and Reflecting.

Summaries: Sum up each page of your notes in a sentence or two.

This format provides the perfect opportunity for following through with the 5 R's of note-taking:

  • Record: During the lecture, record in the main column as many meaningful facts and ideas as you can. Write legibly.

  • Reduce: As soon after as possible, summarize these facts and ideas concisely in the Cue Column. Summarizing clarifies meanings and relationships, reinforces continuity, and strengthens memory.

  • Recite: Cover the Note Taking Area, using only your jottings in the Cue Column, say over the facts and ideas of the lecture as fully as you can, not mechanically, but in your own words. Then, verify what you have said.

  • Reflect: Draw out opinions from your notes and use them as a starting point for your own reflections on the course and how it relates to your other courses. Reflection will help prevent ideas from being inert and soon forgotten.

  • Review: Spend 10 minutes every week in quick review of your notes, and you will retain most of what you have learned.

 

Images of Cornell Note-taking

The pictures below shows the basic format for the Cornell note-taking.

Cornell Note Taking

or

Cornell Note Taking

 

Solids, Liquids and Gases

 

English Reading Example

Use the Cornell note-taking method to answer questions and write in details for main ideas.
If students are unfamiliar with the Cornell note-taking method, it is important to model this with them. Give students the important components needed to summarize a short story. It would be good to learn these components: plot, characters, setting, theme, etc. before hand so students can easily follow along. The example of the model lesson is shown below, titled "short story elements".

Once students are familiar with the needed elements, read a short story and fill in Cornell notes together.

Finally, students can do this with short stories independently. Use it for assessments, assignments, or simply to prepare for a quiz.

English Example

 

 

More resources

Note-taking by hand: A powerful tool to support memory
The Conversation 31 August 2020

The Conversation

Read: How Should You Take Notes?: Note-Taking Strategies (cornell.edu)

This is a module going through note taking and the Cornell University note-taking method

How should you take notes

YouTube: Cornell Notes Method of Taking Notes
https://youtu.be/lsR-10piMp4

 

YouTube: How To Take Cornell Notes Properly (Video)
https://youtu.be/ErSjc1PEGKE

 

YouTube: Improving Cornell Notes With Sketchnoting Techniques
https://youtu.be/pZgMpjjgCRA

 

YouTube: How to take Cornell notes
https://youtu.be/WtW9IyE04OQ

 

YouTube: Cornell Notes Instruction by Middle School Students
https://youtu.be/CIwnaY_9woA

 

 

Examples within On the Job website

Surgeon

Surgeon
From floating guts to 'sticky' blood - here's how to do surgery in space: PMI Strategy or Cornell Note-taking Method

The PMI strategy is pitted against the Cornell Method of Note-Taking.

MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

Lesson Strategy:
Plus, Minus, & Interesting; Cornell Method of Note-Taking

 

Materials sourced from
Comprehension Hart
Good Notes
Go Conqr
University of Maine

SubmitSubmitSubmit

 

Info Lady

side 5

side bar

side bar

sidebar 9

Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar

sidebar 9

Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar

sidebar 9

Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar

sidebar 9

Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar

sidebar 9

Jeweller side