Note Taking Procedures for APWH

Posted on January 4, 2017


As you know, you are required to do chapter notes for each chapter in the Stearns book.

Note organization is a personal thing, and I’m not going to check to see if you’re following Cornell style notes 100%. If you need to make tweaks to the format, please do. However, if you have not had to take in-depth notes before in a class, I strongly suggest using the Cornell method first before anything else.

The Cornell method can be described thusly (thanks, Wikipedia – don’t judge):

The Cornell method provides a systematic format for condensing and organizing notes. The student divides the paper into two columns: the note-taking column (usually on the right) is twice the size of the questions/key word column (on the left). The student should leave five to seven lines, or about two in (5 cm), at the bottom of the page.

Notes from a lecture or teaching are written in the note-taking column; notes usually consist of the main ideas of the text or lecture, and long ideas are paraphrased. Long sentences are avoided; symbols or abbreviations are used instead. To assist with future reviews, relevant questions (which should be recorded as soon as possible so that the lecture and questions will be fresh in the student’s mind) or key words are written in the key word column. These notes can be taken from any source of information, such as fiction and nonfiction books, DVDs, lectures, text books, etc.

Within 24 hours of taking the notes, the student must revise and write questions and then write a brief summary in the bottom five to seven lines of the page. This helps to increase understanding of the topic. When studying for either a test or quiz, the student has a concise but detailed and relevant record of previous classes.

When reviewing the material, the student can cover the note-taking (right) column while attempting to answer the questions/keywords in the key word or cue (left) column. The student is encouraged to reflect on the material and review the notes regularly.

In addition to the Cornell Style, I expect you to note the SPRITE concepts (social, political, religious, intellectual, technological, and economic) aspects of civilizations that you come across. You may use color-coded highlighters, pens, letter annotations, whatever you need to do. You MUST be familiar with these concepts to draw connections between civilizations and time periods.