When teaching content area topics, students are often expected to take notes. During this note-taking time, it is huge for students to have more than just the names, dates, facts, and details written down. More than just memorizing the information, we want students to understand the significance of the information. We want them to synthesize and see the bigger picture.

Picture-Based Notes

Wilbur Wright Elementary (New Castle, IN) teacher Claudia Jackson uses picture-based note taking to help her students reach this level of understanding. When studying Indiana history with her fourth graders, she verbally and visually depicted the event within her overhead notes. Download example notes.

Claudia’s the first to admit she’s not an artist. But the good news is, the funnier the pictures, the more exaggerated the sketches, the more memorable the information was to her students. So many of us are visual learners. So if our content area notes included little sketches and images, we are more likely to comprehend and remember the information later.

Great Teacher Comments:

Louanne Berryman, a fifth grade teacher at Blair Pointe (Peru, IN) encourages students to use pictures in their note taking. She’s created note-taking handouts (Picture Note Taking and Noting What I’ve Learned) to help her students combine their words with visual reminders while reading informational text.

Example of picture based note taking

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