Monday, October 31, 2011

What are Cornell Notes? What should my child's notes look like when they come home?

What a year!

So much change has occurred since last school year. We have a new daily schedule at both our intermediate and middle school campuses. Our daily classes no longer meet for 90 minutes every other day. Instead, our classes meet daily for 45 minutes. We have new standardized testing in the state of Texas called the STAAR test. We are learning more and more about this new testing each week. What we do know is that the STAAR test will be more rigorous than TAKS. Students will be required to think more critically to answer test questions. Also, the test is timed. Students will only be given 4 hours to complete each test. In the past with TAAS and TAKS, students have been allowed to "take their time" and not rush to complete a test.

At Worley, our teachers have been working feverishly to adjust to the new daily schedule and testing expectations. Teachers have begun to give timed quizzes to acclimate students to the new testing environment. The rigor has been "ramped up" in all of our core classes - math, science, history and language arts. Students are required to work harder in these classes to better prepare them for college and the new STAAR exams.

Worley Middle School has an outstanding program called AVID or Advancement Via Individual Determination. AVID's mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. AVID students are exposed to a wide variety of college preparatory experiences and strategies including the Cornell Note Taking System and the AVID BINDER.

The Cornell Note Taking System is a method for mastering information, not just recording facts (AVID 2011 Summer Conference, Dallas). The system is efficient and utilized at Worley school wide. The purpose for taking notes this way is to stimulate critical thinking, help students remember what is said in class, and aid students in organizing information. To learn more about how Cornell Notes are used and the history of Cornell Notes, click on the following link:

The AVID BINDER is another college prep strategy that has been taken school wide at Worley. The BINDER is organized neatly with a pencil/pen pouch, dividers and a daily planner/calendar. Students are required to write down their daily assignments in the planner in addition to keeping all Cornell Notes and graded papers inside the BINDER. The purpose of the BINDER is to teach all our students to be responsible, organized learners. In order for our school to make all students college ready, we must start by giving them the tools that we know they will need to succeed in college and in life - critical thinking skills, communication skills, responsibility and organization.

Inside your student's BINDER, you should find evidence of Cornell Note Taking. Please take a moment to scan through your student's BINDER as often as possible. Here are a few examples (in Google Documents) of some 7th grade Cornell Notes students have taken or will take this week:

7th Grade Math

7th Grade Science

7th Grade Language Arts

It is the student's responsibility to have these notes recorded inside their BINDER for each class. Please help us by asking to see your student's notes each week. Students should be reviewing their notes and using them to complete assignments.

Parents are welcomed to visit our classrooms during the school day to see how our teachers provide Cornell Notes to our students. It is very important for students to know that we are all on the same page.

"Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire."
~ Arnold H. Glasow

Expecting Nothing But The Very Best From Every Student,

Dr. Butler, Principal

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