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Cornell Notes

Life Skills:

  • Thinking & Reasoning

Curriculum Tie:

Time Frame:
1 class period that runs 45 minutes.

Group Size:


Students use the Cornell notes tool (developed by Walter Pauk from Cornell University) to do close reading of informational text.

Main Curriculum Tie:
English Language Arts Grade 9-10Reading: Informational Text Standard 2
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Teachers should have a Cornell Notes description sheet, or access to a whiteboard where they can draw the template.


Background For Teachers:
Teacher should have knowledge of what to include on a page of Cornell Notes.

Title of Article

After reading the article and taking notes in the right-hand column, students should write the main ideas and questions about the text. In this portion of the page, students would record notes from the article.

This should include key details, names, dates, facts, statistics, etc.

Students may draw images (graphs, charts, illustrations, etc.) if they are helpful in understanding.

Underneath the notes from the article, students should write a brief summary of the information.

Intended Learning Outcomes:
Students will be able to read closely and analyze the key details of what they read. Students will be able to summarize informational text.

Instructional Procedures:

  1. Teacher will explain the Cornell Notes template to the students.

  2. Students receive a copy of an informational text.

  3. Students take notes on the article, using the right-hand column of the Cornell template.

  4. When finished taking notes, students determine the main ideas and key questions, and place them in the left-hand column of the template.

  5. Students then write a brief summary of the article on the bottom of the template.

Strategies For Diverse Learners:
The difficulty level of the texts can be differentiated. Struggling students could be given a less complex texts, and more advanced students would receive more complex texts.

Cornell Notes can also be used for taking notes on lectures, videos, and presentations. Cornell Notes would be an excellent close reading strategy for students who are doing research for argumentation.

Assessment Plan:
Informal assessment, such as giving participation points, works well with Cornell Notes. Have students share with the class their main ideas and questions along with their summaries. Teacher can use this as a formative assessment to see that the students understood the most important parts of the informational text.


Created Date :
Feb 11 2013 19:50 PM