• Cornell Notes - Armstrong Style

    The Concept

    Cornell Notes were develop by a university professor at ... wait for it ... Cornell University! The notes are designed to help students learn how to study effectively. There are many ways to study, but this one is very versatile (It works in lots of different subjects.), and it doesn't involve creating extra resources like flashcards.

    Cornell notes should be done over the period of about a week. The "magic" in Cornell notes is not just having your notes in a certain format, it's systematically reviewing them on different days. When we learn new things, we grow new connections (synapses) between our brain cells (neurons). While we sleep, our brain goes over the things that we learned or reviewed that day and strengthens the synapses we used that day, so when we go over the material on different days, our brain continues to make those memories stronger by strengthening the synapses. If we only work on things one day, we do not remember them very well, but research shows that if we review them within 24 hours and again a few days later, we remember a much higher percentage of what we learned.

    The Process

    1. Thursday - Tuesday before notes are due:
      Students should take notes on reading, lectures, videos, and worksheets they have been assigned in their core classes (Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science).
    2. The day after taking the notes:
      Students should mark up the notes, Cornell style. (underline main ideas, circle key words, put a star next to other important information they might need, add in missing information, etc.) For a complete list of Cornell notes mark-up, see page 17 in the agenda.
    3. Before turning in the notes on Friday:
      Write questions about their notes. Student should pretend they are the teacher and write good quiz questions about their notes. Good questions are focused on key concepts, and some questions should require thought beyond just recalling facts from the notes.

    After each step above, students are supposed to turn their notes in to me for a stamp, so when they turn them in Friday, they should already have 2 stamps. Two points are deducted for each missing stamp on Friday, even if notes are complete, so if they do not complete them when they are supposed to, the maximum credit they can earn is 6 out of 10 points.


    The notes should have all of the following:

    Day 1

    • A complete heading in blue or black pen
    • Topic
    • Title
    • Essential Question
    • At least one full page of notes in the larger right-hand column
    • A summary that answers the essential question using evidence from the text

    Day 2

    • Mark-up


    • Three to five questions per page of notes