I hate lecturing….and one of the biggest challenges I have been faced with this year is how to present social studies curriculum to my students in a manner that does not involve lecturing everyday. So, this past week I have introduced to my students a different approach to acquiring knowledge and does not involve myself lecturing for 50 minutes. This approach includes 4 simple steps to presenting new information:

1. Mini-Lecture

I will start the class off by giving a brief introduction and background of the days lesson…..or a “mini-lecture”. My lecture will only last a short amount of time (2-3 minutes), then I will give instruction to students for the day’s activity.

2. Cornell Note-Taking

Using the Cornell note taking strategy, students will then be assigned page numbers from their text (no more than 4) and record their notes using the Cornell format. This exercise will continue for about 10-15 minutes (roughly) until I ask students to stop work. At this point I will take a moment to clarify any questions students have before we move on to our next step.


3. Unify Notes

Students will then take about 3-5 minutes to unify their notes with a partner. During this time students will compare notes and began to form a sense of uniformity between their notes.


4. All On The Wall

After students have compared their notes, it is now time to present the information. In my class we use an activity called “All of The Wall”, during this activity each student is responsible for for recording two pieces of information on the chalkboard from the reading. This will take about 5 minutes and at the end we will conclude this exercise by presenting the information as a whole group.


Students have responded to this exercise very well and even claim that it aides in their comprehension of the subject. With social studies being such an information laden subject, it is easy to become bogged down with too much information. This is why I believe that two column note taking can be a huge advantage to a student. It is very important to be able to keep your thoughts well organized and concise.

Mr. McClung

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