Student Led Conferences–What to expect

Our February Conferences will be held this week–February 26, 27, and 28th. These conferences are student led; students  will open and frame our discussions. Of course parents are welcome to jump in with questions and contributions to this discussion. Certainly, I plan to do so.

Over the past week, I’ve asked my Academic Support students to reflect on their learning in several ways. I’ve asked them to

think about the tools they use to learn–how they plan their study times and what they have learned about note taking. I’ve also asked students to reflect on a piece of short writing, on their overall effort this quarter, and on what they hope to do better next quarter.

Students have prepared material to share with you using the Notability App on their IPad. It is important for students to bring their IPad so they can show examples of their work, note taking and thinking. We won’t have time to go in depth into everything, but if you (parents or students) are interested in discussing a particular academic area, we can do that. Also, if parents would like some time to discuss issues with me alone, we can do that as well!






Notability: a note taking tool

I talked with Mr. Sheridan, our Middle School Tech Coordinator about a lot of different note taking apps. He suggested we try out Notability. I like it for a lot of reasons. Notability lets you take pictures and highlight or write on them; it lets you mark up PDF’s; it lets you organize your notes in folder and back them up on Google Drive or Dropbox.

Perhaps the thing I like best about Notability is that it makes it easy to draw diagrams and webs, almost as if you were using paper and pencil. I’ve been reading a lot about note taking, and one thing I’ve learned is that some research suggests that paper and pencil note taking is actually more effective than note taking by typing. (You can read an article about that here.)

We’ve been experimenting in my different sections of Academic Support. Here are just a few of the interesting examples of what Notability can do. In the comments below, explain what you have learned about Notability this week. Have you learned anything from looking at these examples?

Anna's notes show photos and webs.

Anna’s notes show photos and webs.

Lotso uses the highlighter

Lotso uses the highlighter






Anis uses words, arrows and the highlighter to reflect on her writing.

Anis uses words, arrows and the highlighter to reflect on her writing.

Amy uses photos, words and drawings to reflect.

Amy uses photos, words and drawings to reflect.

Note Taking

In the coming weeks, we’ll be looking at a new study skill: note taking. There is a lot of research about note taking and how it can help us learn better. Taking notes basically does two things. First, it helps us store information so we can review it later. But it also does something else: by taking notes, we don’t just write things on paper or type them into our I Pads–we actually write (or ‘encode’) things into our brain. So note taking is good for storing information and for encoding information.

There are a lot of ways we can take notes. To get us thinking about note taking, I’m posting a list of note taking tips from Texas Tech University. I went ahead and took notes on the page about note-taking…I used highlighter and I wrote on the text electronically using good reader.

First read the tips below. (If the embedded file is difficult to see, you can try this link.) Then in the comments section, please list one or two ways in which you take notes and how your note taking helps you.