3 Column Note Taking
Strategy to be used across the content areas.
Why use it
Often, three-column notes can form the basis for (small or whole) class discussion about the reading and can help the teacher informally assess students’ understanding of key
concepts. In addition, class discussions will reflect students’ personal ideas, inquiries, and questions. While evaluating the students’ written work, it’s important to keep in mind the following responses:
• Did students include key or relevant concepts/ideas to the topic at hand?
• Did they use this strategy accurately?
• How did they organize their responses from text?
• Do their notes show active engagement with text?
• Were there any content or conceptual gaps reflected in their notes that the instructor
will need to follow-up with?
• Discuss the responses with the class—focus on how responses show understanding of
the topic at hand.
How it works...
1. The Three-Column Notes graphical organizer can be organized in the following ways:
• In the first column, write the main subjects or topics from the text.
• In the second column, write significant details you learned from reading the text,
from research or discussion.
• In the third column, jot down opinions, observations, thoughts, etc.