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SchoolFamily Voices

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Making Sense of Notes Taken on the Computer

Boy taking notesI have been tutoring a seventh grade student who takes his life science notes on his computer. Apparently, his teacher uses PowerPoint to teach the lessons. Students get a copy of her PowerPoint and are supposed to fill in missing information in the blanks. My student has a hard time with this in two ways.

First, he often puts information in the wrong blanks. To do this well, he needs to know where the teacher is on the PowerPoint and what information belongs in the blank. He also has to either copy accurately from the screen (which can be hard for students who have difficulty with far-point copying) or to be able to spell it on his own when he hears it. Often science words are hard to spell, and many students this age are not capable of doing this.

Second, once he gets the information into the PowerPoint, he needs to know how to remember it for the test. I’ve been teaching for twenty-seven years. Almost every time I ask, "How did you study?" my students answer, "I looked over my notes." What they do not realize is that if you are looking at the information you have no way of knowing whether or not you can remember it when not looking! They need to learn what real studying is.

My tutoring sessions with this student begin with printing out the notes. We check them for accuracy and correct his errors. We spend time reading and highlighting them. After this, we make posters and draw colorful pictures that bring meaning to the information. Finally, we make study cards or a chart so that he can really study instead of just looking at the information. Here is a customizable study chart to help with this.

There is a wealth of articles about studying at SchoolFamily.com. Start with the study skills archives found here!

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Comments   

#2 Livia McCoy 2011-05-25 21:18
Thank you so much, Lorna! I do love teaching and seeing them get better and better.
#1 Lorna dEntremont 2011-05-24 22:50
Livia your students are very lucky to have such a capable, patient teacher! Love the way you explain how to go from class notes to studying them.

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