09 January 2011


In response to Langwitches' tweet.......here is one of my most successful ways to teach notetaking to my honors junior British Literature students. (To be fair, I attack notetaking throughout the year and introduce different methods to mesh with different learning styles. This one, used late in the year, seems to have an impact across the all the learning styles). I use a powerpoint that is filled with text on the Romantics introduction--it's an awful powerpoint, but perfect for the notetaking practice. As I put on each slide, I announce that there are a certain number of critical facts on the slide, and that they should jot those facts down in a limited time frame. If there are 3 facts they need to know, then they have one minute. It changes with each slide. Some of the slides have graphics or music as well--which they need to absorb as well.
By the end of the ppt, the "facts" are more observations on possible themes and motifs present in Romantic poetry. It makes these higher level students focus, read carefully, and make decisions quickly. The conversation after becomes the centerpiece of what is always one of their favorite units, since we are already arguing about what is most important about the Romantics. Each of them then approaches the poetry with a point of view, which makes for great class discussion. And of course, we always discuss the pros and cons of powerpoint as a presentation tool. ( I am not a big fan, though they do not realize it when they make their judgments.)

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