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Cornell Notes: A Rubric For Language Arts Teachers

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 8/31/2015

I love rubrics. If you have your students using Cornell Notes, follow this rubric to teach your students how to create effective notes.

  • slide 1 of 5

    How Do You Take Cornell Notes?

    Despite having explained thirty-eight times how to take Cornell Notes, I still saw the same problems and had to answer the same stupid Cornell Notes questions over and over, ad infinitum, repeatedly, and forever more. Right as I was about to jam a ball point pen into my fibula, an amazing thought stayed my hand:

    "I have a persuasive essay rubric, a general essay rubric, a news article rubric, a process essay rubric, and a notebook rubric and they all raised the quality of work in my class. I think I should make a Cornell Notes Rubric!"

    And I did.

  • slide 2 of 5

    NEATNESS

    • A: Handwriting is legible. Lines are straight or a computerized template has been used. Date is easily readable. Topic is easily readable. Paper has not been scrunched, put through a blender, used as toilet paper, been placed in a bird cage, or used as a weapon and covered with blood. The format is correct.

    • B: Handwriting is mostly legible. Lines are mostly straight. Date is easily readable. Topic is easily readable. Paper has not been scrunched, put through a blender, used as toilet paper, been placed in a bird cage, or used as a weapon or covered with blood. The format is correct.

    • C: Handwriting is mostly legible. Lines are mostly straight. Date is written. Topic is written. Paper has not been scrunched, put through a blender, used as toilet paper, been placed in a bird cage, or used as a weapon and covered with blood. The format is correct.

    • D: Handwriting is partially legible. Lines are crooked. I think the date is written. I think the topic is written. Paper has not been scrunched, put through a blender, used as toilet paper, been placed in a bird cage, or used as a weapon and covered with blood. The format is correct.

    • F: Paper has been scrunched, put through a blender, used as toilet paper, been placed in a bird cage, or used as a weapon and covered with blood or the format is not correct.
  • slide 3 of 5

    NOTES

    • A: Notes take up the entire section. Main points are captured. Keywords are clearly written. Notes are notes and not a word for word reporting of what was said or read.

    • B: Notes take up the entire section. Most main points are captured. Keywords are written. Notes are notes and not a word for word reporting of what was said or read.

    • C: Notes take up the entire section. Some main points are captured. Some keywords are written. Notes are notes and not a word for word reporting of what was said or read.

    • D: Notes take up the entire section. Notes are a word for word reporting of what was said or read.
  • slide 4 of 5

    QUESTIONS

    • A: Notes contain at least 5 relevant questions, three of which require higher level thinking skills. All necessary information can be found in the notes.

    • B: Notes contain at least 5 relevant questions, one or two of which require higher level thinking skills. All necessary information can be found in the notes.

    • C: Notes contain at least 5 relevant questions, none of which require higher level thinking skills. All necessary information can be found in the notes.

    • D: Notes contain at least 2-4 relevant questions. All necessary information can be found in the notes.
  • slide 5 of 5

    SUMMARY

    • A: Summary contains 2-5 sentences and shows an understanding of the material. It does not begin with "These notes are about...," or "Today I learned..."

    • B: Summary contains 2-5 sentences and mostly shows an understanding of the material. It does not begin with "These notes are about...," or "Today I learned..."

    • C: Summary contains 2-5 sentences but shows a poor understanding of the material. It does not begin with "These notes are about...," or "Today I learned..."

    • D: I'm not sure exactly who you were listening to during the notes, but it probably wasn't me. The summary does not begin with "These notes are about...," or "Today I learned..."

Teaching Students How to Take Notes

It's an important skill that teachers falsely assume students can do, but there's more to taking notes than rattling off a few facts and hoping students learn it. Note-taking is a process that requires outside preparation, in class listening skills, and systematic review for teachers and students.
  1. Lesson Ideas: Teach Students How to Take Notes
  2. Helping Your Students Take Great Notes: Teaching Techniques
  3. Teach Your Students to Take Great Notes
  4. Teaching Students How to Review Notes
  5. Make the Best of Class Time with Cornell Notes
  6. Cornell Notes: A Rubric For Language Arts Teachers

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