May 2012 Archives

Last post I introduced Concept Cards, a note-taking system that helps students store, retrieve, and use information more efficiently than traditional note-taking methods. Now, here are a few tips for maximizing the benefits of Concept Cards: Alphabetical Rather Than Chronological. One problem with taking notes in date sequence using a notebook is that it can take a while to find information that was covered earlier in the course. (This is especially problematic if your assignments and assessments are spiraled, as I recommend.) By keeping their Concept Cards in alphabetical order, students can find what they need when they need it. ...


"Look it up in your notes," I told students when they asked me for information that either I had already given them or they had found on their own. "You're the teacher. You're supposed to answer our questions," students responded. "The answers to those questions should be in your notes." I replied. But many students didn't take notes. And most students who did take notes were too irresponsible or disorganized to benefit from them. Some kids took notes one day, but didn't bring them to class the following day. Others, meanwhile, brought their notes to class but couldn't find information ...


The dropout rate at Chicago's Manley High School was over 60% when I taught there, and even higher for males. Yet Rodney Wilson (not his real name) made it to graduation, and his family and friends roared as he received his diploma. No one was louder or prouder than Rodney's girlfriend, Nicole (not her real name), who would graduate from Manley the following year. I asked Nicole early in her senior year how Rodney was doing. "He's alright," Nicole said, but her face said otherwise. "Is he in school?" I asked. "Not yet," Nicole replied. "He applied to Malcolm X (one...


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