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Two-Column Notes

Two-Column Notes is a note-taking strategy that divides a page into two columns. Students write main ideas and concepts in the left column and supporting dteails and information in the right column. This technique is especially useful for analyzing well-structured, content-rich, sequential reading selections.

The Two-Column Notes graphical organizer can be used in a variety of forms:

  • Main Idea-Detail Notes–Students identify key concepts and their supporting details.

  • Opinion-Proof Notes–Students isolate statements of opinion, bias, or limited point of view.

  • Hypothesis-Proof Notes–Students identify predictions or theories and evaluate the evidence offered for their proof.

  • Problem-Solution Notes–Students write the nature, causes, and effects of a problem in the left column and potential solutions in the right column.

  • Process Notes–Students describe a process in the left column and then outline the specific steps in the process in the right column.

Steps to Two-Column Notes:

  1. Thoroughly discuss the five forms of the Two-Column Notes strategy, offering clear examples of each.

  2. Divide a class into small groups and assign each group a different reading selection.

  3. Challenge students to determine which form of the Two-Column Notes strategy best matches the intent and organization of the document they are considering.

  4. Have student groups analyze the document's contents, taking notes with the appropriate Two-Column Notes format.

  5. Ask the group to share their results with the class.

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