Over the last ten years of teaching, I have found that guided notes are essential for my students’ success. I have always used some form of guided notes, and I cannot imagine not using them. My first math job was teaching 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade and Algebra daily (plus science and social studies). I created guided notes for every class each day and it helped not just my students, but also kept me organized and sane.
Benefits of Using Guided Notes
- Guided notes keep all students actively engaged in class. Students follow along and fill in missing words and numbers and answer questions. They allow students to focus on problem solving rather than using their working memory to write down everything they hear the teacher say.
- Students create their own reference guide to help them remember and internalize what they learned in class. They can easily refer back to what they learned in previous classes to help them with spiral review, homework, studying for assessments and most importantly building on prior knowledge to learn new concepts.
- It helps students organize information and understand what is important. Middle school students are often new to the expectation of notetaking and guided notes are a perfect way to introduce this practice and perfect a lifelong skill. The blanks can be used as cues to help students decipher what is expected of them- they can tell if a longer definition should be recorded or a smaller blank means they should write an important vocabulary word or number.
- They relieve the stress that many students feel when expected to accurately copy diagrams, figures and equations off the board. Having them right on their notes page allows them to focus on problem solving and less about accurately copying complex notes off the board.
- Guided notes are especially beneficial for students with special education needs andEnglish Language Learners and can easily be adapted to accommodate specific needs.
What Math Guided Notes Look Like
- I layout the lesson, important vocabulary, guided practice and finally independent practice. Students are given blanks to fill in important terms, definitions and problems. It’s important to me that their notes have enough space to show all of their work- no scrap paper needed!
- I have used my guided notes in binders, folders and interactive notebooks and all three have been successful implementations..
- I use a warm-up to activate prior knowledge or guide them through discovery about a new topic.
- Exit slips help me assess understanding and plan future lessons.
Guided Notes Made Easy
I would be lying if I said it is quick and easy to create quality guided notes. Luckily, I have guided notes created for every topic in grades 5-8.) Check them out below:
Want to try a set of guided notes for free (and some other fun math activities?) Click here to access them!