Tag Archives: note-taking

Reading – Synthesizing, Note Taking a Research Project & Measurement

We are working on a new reading strategy – Synthesizing.  This is one of the most difficult strategies to explain and understand. 


When we read we are constantly connecting the new information to our schema (background knowledge).  As we learn more and more our thinking shifts and we begin to synthesize and evaluate what we are learning.  We gain new insights and ideas.  I really like this anchor chart that I found online.  We will be recreating it for our Reading Strategies bulletin board in class. 


I am modeling synthesizing through note taking.  Together we have been reading an article about the Maya which was published in Kids Discover magazine.   We use a T-chart to take our notes.  On the left we have Facts/Notes which we have paraphrased from the text.  We discuss what are the most important details and how we need to write in our own words.  On the right we have a thinking chart.  Here we write questions we have, connections we make and other thoughts we have as we read.  This really slows the reading process down in a productive way.  The students need to stop, absorb what they have read, and think about the text.   Here are some samples from the Maya note-taking practice. 

student notes

student notes2

We will be continuing with this method of note taking as we begin the research for our report writing.  The reports will be in both French and English.  The grade 5s have chosen an ancient civilization and the grade 6s have chosen a Canadian First Nation for their report. 


We have started another unit on measurement and we have been measuring mass, length, and capacity.  For the past few days the students have been rotating through stations where they practice these skills.  Watch for our Water Campaing launch where we will be using our math skills for a really meaningful project.

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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in Synthesizing


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Taking Notes, Asking Questions – Mean & Data Analysis

Today we will be learning about the reading comprehension strategy “Asking Questions” or Questioning.  Good readers ask questions as they read.  When reading for information, good reader’s also take notes to help them clarify questions and remember the content.  Our class is learning the reading strategy asking questions at the same time as the writing skill, note taking.  Deciding what is important is an important skill and it depends on the reader/writer’s purpose.  Why am I reading this book or article?  If it’s for information for a project then I need to know what my topic is.   Our main purpose in this instance was to write a summary, so we need to focus on the main idea.  Our questions will be answered later when we are reading for different purposes.

Asking Questions

The students are reading an article from Time Magazine for Kids.  The article is about child labour and it starts with a story about a boy in Ecuador who works on a banana plantation.  Some of the students highlighted personal information about him.  We need to have the discussion, is that information the main idea of this article?  Since we are writing a summary we need to focus on main ideas. 

Here is a sample of a students’ annotations:



Next up, answering our questions and questioning the source of information for validity and bias.

Mme. Walton, Mme. Moar and I were having a debate about mean (average) the other day.  We were trying to figure out a real life situation, other than grades, where mean is useful (and we thought that it might not be that useful for grades, or genuine assessment).  We each came up with an idea and then decided, no, that’s not really useful.  Mme. Walton thought of the shoe store owner and inventory.  So my class and I put all our shoe sizes up on the board and found the mean which was 5.5.  I asked if we should order more sixe 5.5 shoes than any other size and we quickly decided no, we shouldn’t.  The useful average for ordering would be mode.  Hmmm.  What about grades.  If Mr. Date (our principal) came and asked me the mean for the last test we did, would it help him understand how my class is doing on the measurement strand?  Hmmm.  Not really.  So tonight the students are supposed to ask their parents for a situation in which they think the mean would be truly useful.  Mme.  Walton, Mme.  Moar and I decided it’s probably only useful for marketing, to mislead the public into buying a product or an idea.  What do you think?

In the meantime, the students are solving a crime using Data Analysis:

math task


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