ACTIVE/CRITICAL NOTETAKING & READING STRATEGIES
In this unit students will be introduced to critical reading techniques that are used in Advanced Placement and Pre-AP classes. As students continue their education they will encounter more complex texts and reading assignments that require them to extract maximum meaning from their reading. ‘Critical reading’ or ‘close reading’ equals active reading. Active reading means learning to annotate, reflect on what you read, to pick out main ideas, to paraphrase important passages and to develop personal responses to prepare for writing or discussion based on what you have read.

Ways to read actively include: (See visual examples below)
  1. OUTLINING: > This is how your textbook is set up. Summarize the reading in a skeletal format. The main idea is indicated by a Roman numberal. Next are the supporting ideas represented by capital letters indented below the Roman numerals. Examples/details are represented as numbers indented below the capital letters. You should not list an A unless you have at least a B to follow, etc….
  2. MODIFIED CORNELL NOTE TAKING: Draw 2 columns but make the 1st column cover 1/3 of your paper. This is the section for recall – list important terms, concepts from note taking in the recall section as you take notes in the larger column. Summarize your notes at the end of the page
  3. MAIN IDEAS DOUBLE COLUMN NOTES: Divide your paper into 2 columns. Write your main ideas on the left, record the details of your reading under each main idea. In the right column, develop main idea statements to summarize the details of what you read.
  4. CONCEPT CARDS: Identify major issue, events, places and summarize their significance.
  5. GRAPHIC ORGANIZER: Categorize and organize your reading material into a meaningful format that is useful for analysis. Below is just one example of how to set up a graphic organizer.


Additional notetaking/study methods >

COLOR CODED NOTES: This is an additional suggestion from a former AP student. As you take notes, color code countries, concepts or topics as they come up. For instance, with SEP, social might always be blue, economic/green, political/red. Keep the same colors all semester to help you see patterns between regions. People learn in color, use it to your advantage.

ACRONYMS: Use social studies acronyms like SEP (social/economic/political), ESPN (same as SEP but add eNvironment to the list) to categorize your note taking on a region or topic.
Bloom’s Taxonomy > The way to intellectual discussions and FRQ writing
Knowledge
Naming the fact or listing the information
This is where all learning starts
Ex: learning your ABC’s or 123’s
Ex: This is a flag

Comprehension
Understanding the facts or information
Vocabulary, notes, readings help you demonstrate comprehension
Ex: Geographers use maps. Ex: A cat sleeps all day.

Application
Using what you know about a fact in a designated way without being prompted
Ex: You know and comprehend the facts related to Human Geography and now must apply them correctly without assistance.

Analysis
Using multiple facts to compare/contrast and/or to identify cause/effect relationships
AP classes operate at this level and up most of the time. Students are expected to already have the knowledge, comprehension, and application of the facts needed when beginning an assignment, project, exam.
Ex: Analyze the causes and effects of the GAP dam project on farmers and Kurds
Ex: Explain the similarities and differences between dam projects in Turkey, US and China

Synthesis
After analyzing facts, consider how the outcomes would be altered if the facts were altered. How would the world be forever different if something was changed?
“WHAT IF….?”
Ex: What if an earthquake occurs in the Anatolian Peninsula?
Your answer must extend to be “synthesis” level (the outcome is unknown)

Evaluation
Evaluation requires analysis of all the facts and theories related to a concept and then requires development of “big picture” patterns as well as judgment of the validity of those patterns. (The outcome is known)
Questions must include “in terms of” to meet this standard.

Ex: Evaluate the acronym ESPN as a valid characterization of human geography aspects in relation to development.