How to do two-column notes



To anticipate test questions.  To develop photographic memory patterns.  To activily read text.  

TWO-COLUMN NOTES (2CNs)     2CN’s are very important to students success in lab.  The science text is vocabulary dense and 2CN’s are a wonderful reading strategy for the students to obtain the necessary science information to apply to the labs.  


Two-Column notes are an important note-taking format as it allows students to become effective readers as they make greater use of the text, headings, data tables, pictures and captions.  Research on 2CN’s has shown that students who use them become strategic learners, become active readers, have improved comprehension of reading material, have improved retention of reading material and are better to anticipate test questions regardless of reading level.


2CNs are organized into two columns and record in question format the main ideas in the left-hand column and record supporting detail in the right-hand column.  


Keys to success in lab are doing your 2CNs.




Success in Science Guy In A Tie = 2CN's


Due to the organizational format of Science text two-column notes are the most appropriate note taking format for our purposes.

Students become more efficient readers when they make greater use of the text format;

    1.    headings

    2.    data tables

    3.    index

    4.    pictures, captions

    5.    glossary


Understanding the organizational format of a text and looking back to previous text sections or pages in order to locate or clarify information is the behavior that distinguishes content area reading from narrative reading.


Students who use content area reading strategies such as two-column notes;

    1.    become strategic learners

    2.    become active readers

    3.    have improved comprehension of reading material

    4.    have improved retention of reading material


DIRECTIONS:  Two-column notes will help students organize informational text into main ideas and supporting details. Students will


    1.    divide their paper into two columns

    2.    record main ideas in the left-hand column in question form (ie. gene, becomes the question;  What is a gene? or How are genes used in body? or What are genes?

    3.    record supporting details in the right-hand column, the answer (ie. student answers their question in the right column)


Students can use their notes for a study guide. Students will

cover the information on the right-hand column

test themselves with the key words and questions recorded on the left


Thus, two-column note-taking becomes more than a note-taking strategy.

        It is also a test-taking strategy.


    A modification of the two-column note-taking format can include problem-solution notes and opinion-proof guides. Two column note-taking is a modification of the more familiar SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) note-taking strategy.


    Two-column note-taking is a strategy which offers a student a focus or purpose for reading, and a structure for understanding, organizing, and retaining information. It provides a guided reading sequence and a student-oriented approach to understanding text.



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