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Cornell Notes

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 9-10
Reading: Informational Text Standard 2

Additional Core Ties

English Language Arts Grade 9-10
Reading: Informational Text Standard 10

English Language Arts Grade 9-10
Writing Standard 10

Time Frame

1 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size


Life Skills

Thinking & Reasoning




Students use the Cornell notes tool (developed by Walter Pauk from Cornell University) to do close reading of informational 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: 02/11/2013
Updated: 02/05/2018