When I was in college, I loved to doodle while I was taking notes. Even though it may have looked like I wasn't paying attention, the doodling slowed my brain down enough so that I could pay attention to what was being said. Occasionally my drawings related to the materials, but more often than not they were were designs of randomness.
On Classical Conversations community days in Challenge A we would utilize white boards for jotting down math work or drawing maps. While they were wonderful tools, they erased a minute later and by the time the students were home, exhaustion took over and the kids didn't have a thing to show their parents of their work that day.
When I was preparing to tutor Challenge B, I came up with an idea to keep the feel of the white board, but something the kids could take home and utilize throughout the week as they worked. Each student received what we called: "The Not So White White Board." It was a sketch notebook from Hobby Lobby that I tabbed to mark the weeks of our Challenge program.
The "F" stands for the fall semester and the "S" stands for the spring semester. I made the tabs out of a piece of scotch tape and a small scrap of paper. I allowed three full sheets of paper for each week, which turned out to be one side of paper for each seminar. (No tabs were used for week 15 as this was the week for Blue Book exams.)
The kids decorated the covers of their books at our orientation meeting with metallic sharpies.
Having a source for all notes for the year turned out to be a wonderful tool in class. Not only did it serve as a communication device between class and the parents, but it was also very helpful to look back on past weeks as we started semester long projects like Mock Trial.
Additionally, the blank pages were a good stepping stone into taking notes on spiral paper. Sometimes the students would run across various work that didn't fit neatly on lines, so the blank pages were freeing for note taking.
The journals also provided a great record of the work done in class. Often, we would have races to write down memory work that we had been practicing at home. It was nice to see improvement over the weeks on things like the square of opposition. Also, after we had raced to write it down, they now could have a reference tool in front of them as we discussed the concepts.
The books are now a treasure of material covered in their Challenge B year. As I was glancing through trying to find pages to take pictures of, I ran across this page. Even though I was my son's tutor, I don't always know what he's up to when he's taking notes. The picture below shows the week his dad taught him the Greek alphabet and how much fun he had playing with it while we were practicing Genus Species trees...makes me giggle.
I think I would have enjoyed using this type of notebook to take notes in high school and college. I'm a picture girl, and I love visuals.
What kind of notebook do you like to use for taking notes?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.