9/21/2018 22 Comments
Organizing Information - Teaching Students How to Take Visual Notes that Become Study Guides
Boost Both Note Taking Skills & Study Skills with Graphic Organizers
They also may need a set of 5 different study strategies to use when preparing for tests and quizzes. They can use one method for reviewing vocabulary, another for going over key concepts, and a completely different method when memorizing specific details. The ideal study strategy for Math class is very different from a study strategy that works well in Geography.
By taking time to teach kids how to take good notes and study, we set them up for success.
And, (BONUS) -- we can get that class time back in the future with all the time saved when they know how to do this. We will cut back on re-teaching time, in class review, etc.! So it is absolutely not the "waste of time" I was worried it would be in the beginning. These skills are worth prioritizing!
Let's Dive In
The note-taking and study strategy I am sharing today is centered around visual representations.
It has been proven that student brains learn new information best with a BLEND of visual and linguistic input. I've blogged before about visual note taking methods. Visual notes are an important part of student study skill toolboxes.
Visual note-taking is the process of taking notes using hand drawn images mixed with words. It helps us to synthesize ideas and information non-linguistically, and organize everything in a visual way.
It turns out that sketching or doodling while taking notes takes just enough brainpower to keep you from zoning out or daydreaming, but not enough to be a distraction.
This means that doodling (or sketching) actually INCREASES your focus and attention while you listen or learn.
Whether they like it or not, your students are going to be taking notes for quite some time! So, teaching them how to visually take notes, now, is a skill that will have important benefits in not only your class, but in years to come.
But That’s Not All...
Visual note taking doesn’t just improve your students’ focus and attention; it is actually proven to greatly improve retention and memory!
When you incorporate sketching and doodling with words, you use both hemispheres of the brain. Whenever you achieve a crossover between the left side (logical) and right side (artsy) of the brain, learning is enhanced.
A great use of visual notes that has been around for quite a while is the "graphic organizer." We use graphic organizers (think Venn Diagram, web, chart...) to help kids build a mental connection between related ideas. Different concepts fit into different organizer layouts that are visually memorable.
The "GRAPHICS" of a Graphic Organizer
A graphic layout is key to effective note-taking. The typical list form (or outline) note method does not trigger memory as well. In order for students to convert new info into long-term memory more effectively, they need to incorporate pictoral representations.
A theory, called the "Picture Superiority Effect" is supported by studies that show that blending images with text offers a stronger learning experience than using text alone. It turns out that this boosts both the memory of the individual terms and ideas as well as the associations and connections between the concepts. According to Education Week Teacher, “if students read text alone, three days later they only remember 10 percent of the information—but adding a picture to the text increases recall to 65 percent.”
Dual Coding Theory is another explanation of brain processing that goes hand in hand with Picture Superiority Effect. This theory tells us how to make the most of learning. In essence, as new input enters the brain, it's stored in short term memory in two distinct categories.
Graphic information, images, and other sensory input are processed in the VISUAL center while auditory input, words, and text are processed in the LINGUISTIC center of the brain. In order to convert the new information into true learning, we need it to be saved and stored in long term memory.
When we are able to blend the text/auditory input together with the images, we boost the potential for retaining the information!
The "ORGANIZER" Component of a Graphic Organizer
A key part of learning is seeing connections and understanding relationships between ideas. Memorizing facts separately is not nearly as effective as seeing the big picture along with the details.
How do the concepts interact and relate to one another? Sometimes one idea leads to another. Sometimes we have a heirarchy of information. Often, we have a web of interconnected ideas that all link back to one big concept.
Students can use visual representations of the ideas to build a mind map of the connections and relationships. By choosing an effective layout for a graphic organizer, they think critically about the type of information and how to best present it. They can create a visual study guide that reflects all the ideas they are learning and how they work together.
By incorporating all of these features, graphic organizers as bite-sized doodle notes offer plenty of brain benefits. They allow students to learn, take notes, and study. Then, they become a reference to keep and come back to later.
The Free Download
How to use this file:
To help your students build their knowledge on taking graphic notes, I’m sharing this FREE sheet on the ways to visually organize information. This will help them get started and explore ways they can build sketch/ doodle style study guides.
There are a few different ways to use this free resource:
Click here to download the free resource.
Encourage students to incorporate color, doodles, and sketches. It will help them to build "visual memory triggers" that allow them to retain the lesson material.
Adding sketches and doodles also activates the brain pathways that lead to increased focus and memory.
The goal is to help students learn the best ways to visually represent relationships in a lesson, based on the type of content. Students will love this guide to help them review and study!
Want to use more graphic organizers in your classroom? This GIANT DECK has 100 different visual organizers!
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10/5/2018 01:17:55 am
When I was studying Greek Mythology, I made a visual notes for myself since the story and the characters are connected with one another. I made a family and relationship tree while limiting the usage of words from the visual notes I made. It worked on me. If our teachers will introduce such good method in teaching, I can feel like everything will get easier. Teaching wouldn't be that hard, and the students will get inspired simply because learning has become much more easier for them. That's a great idea for me, indeed!
2/28/2019 09:47:09 pm
This is a brilliant way to keep track of thoughts too. As a writer, I can see the use in using this for story boards and ideas, as well as brainstorming.
7/25/2020 08:44:43 pm
Dear Math Giraffe: Your site and resources are beautiful and ever so useful! You have a gift. I use visuals and graphic organizers in my classroom as well. I am an American teacher who has taught overseas since 2005. My next placement is in Luxembourg. I will bookmark your site and purchase your resources. Thank you for al that you do and continue to do.
7/29/2020 10:48:29 am
Thank you so much! I really appreciate hearing from you.
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