Do your students lose their notes?
Do they just put them randomly into their backpack?
Are they constantly missing pages or important sections of notes?
Mine do, all the time! It’s crazy to ask a student to take out their notes on mitosis and see them pull out 3 history pages, 1 geography note, and a partially finished English paper before finding the one they need, crumpled inside their backpack. However, it does explain their inability to study effectively.
Here’s what I do to combat this and it’s really quick.
Every Tuesday, students must submit a summary of the notes we did the week before. These notes must be in their own writing (no computers to avoid copy and pasting), in jot point, in their OWN words, and include pictures, diagrams, calculations, and text. I tell them that they should be able to throw away their notebooks and use these to study for their tests alone.
I briefly mark the summaries. This takes me about 10-15 seconds per student and I usually mark it /2 or /3. I try my best to always hand them back the next day. At the start of the year, I spend a little more time to help train them to create their summaries correctly.
I use PowerPoint as my notes so I call these PowerPoint Summaries (PPS) and it’s a staple in my classroom.
By week 3, your students get used to it and will bring them up without you asking. If they aren’t submitted on time, I still will accept them at ANY TIME but for only 1/2 the marks they would have otherwise received. Will they cheat and hand in someone else’s? Yes. But the point is the process since the act of writing out the notes by hand will help them learn. However, most will do the work themselves. Plus, they’ll have the notes going forward which is the other point of the activity.
After leaving my class I have many students come back to tell me that they’ve continued with this process (or something very similar) in their other classes because it’s such an effective way to stay organized and study.
Give it a go and let me know.