I met with students in grades 3 and 4 this week to practice the art of proper notetaking. Something which can come so naturally for adults is really a skill that needs to be taught and practiced so that bad habits don’t form early.
I’ve heard many middle schoolers tell me that they cut and paste from various websites while taking notes and then put it all together for their final project. That is a fast-track route to a zero for plagiarism! Many are not aware that there is anything wrong with this method. By starting with younger grades I am hoping to catch them before it starts.
We decided to use books for this exercise so that students could practice using the table of contents and indexes to find the information they were looking for. They then had to write their notes in their own words and keep track of their sources using a bibliography template.
We also watched this helpful video about how to figure out what is and is not important to our research questions when researching.
Let me assure you that this wasn’t as boring of a workshop as it sounds. The grade 3s especially got into it and some chose to work over recess, which was wonderful. They are all on the right track now!