Games should be fun and break up the monotonous regularity of class and lecture. We tend to remember interesting classes or events more, or at least look forward to the lessons.
Here are 7 simple note-taking games I hope you and others can enjoy while learning:
- Exchange notes randomly
- Guess who or why he wrote this note
- The top note idea on the tree today
- I/This ____ because _______
- Write a note that tells a compelling story in a few words
- Write a note for yourself or someone to read tomorrow, one year, and ten years later
- Summary and gist
In my diploma days, there was a funny lecturer who cracked lots of jokes and entertained the students with high turn-up rate for his lectures, and till this day I can still remember him. Perhaps games for our note-taking and learning purposes can be employed to similar effect?
Exchange notes randomly
This is a simple game where everyone writes a short and interesting note, write a long unique number on it, folds it and puts it in a box. Each person can come up and draws one random note, reads and writes a constructive and meaningful reply to it before folding and handing it back. The notes can be anything that is memorable or interesting e.g a poem, chorus, programming code, equation, drawing, calligraphy, haiku, or a reflection on life. Once all notes are collected back, mix them up, and everyone can come together and collect their notes based on the unique number to maintain anonymity and privacy.
The fun in such a game is to have a different or even surprising perspective on your thought or idea. Please remind all participants to be positive and honest in their notes and replies. Getting responses in this way can be memorable because it is personal and thoughtful.
Guess who or why he wrote this note
Everyone writes a short, positive and special note, fold it up and hand in. A speaker reads aloud each and every note in turn to all participants with seats in a circular fashion and prompts anyone who can quickly guess who and why a note was written in a constructive manner. Some responses may be funny or interesting but it is fine as long as they do not ridicule or hurt others’ feelings.
Alternatively, we may lift an appropriate passage from a literary work for discussion and everyone can start taking notes in a shared Google Doc document on who or why the author wrote that, or post it in a Facebook group for comments.
Understanding the reasons behind the writings can offer a deeper insight into superficial readings; This may also help to train in psychological studies and figure the reasons behind their behavior and thinking.
The top note idea on the tree today
Everyone in the class, group or family write a share-worthy note each and hangs it on the tree or board for all to read. Evidently, the winning note will be hanged on the top of the tree. This can be a weekly or even daily activity to encourage frequent communication between family, mates, and members.
We may find tea recipes, training tips, philosophical advice, study notes, smart ideas, musical compositions, and hand drawings for selection. The best note may be the one that stands to be most beneficial in the long run.
Perhaps a family member may take a picture or two of dishes he/she cooked to remind others to eat when they return home and pin the food pictures with notes on the notes tree. Sometimes, the most basic gestures are the most comforting and touching.
Pinup a food picture note to remind our loved ones to take their meals.
WhatsApp or send a chat message picture as a note for friendly reminders.
An interesting note-taking activity to stir up memorable fun is to share and take notes of intriguing objects and beautiful or weird stuff.
The notes we can take can be triggered with questions, breakdown of elements or with any notes of particular observation as long as it is relevant and objective.
Every student in the class may share an object or stuff of interest he or she came across for the past week or so. Or it may be a certain piece of note-worthy information suitable for sharing with others. Perhaps there are no winners or losers here, just the participation for note-taking fun should suffice.
For example, students may write a note list of below pictures with whichever approach they are comfortable: H4W (how, what, why, when, who), analyze each layer and element, or any constructive ideas that come to mind pertaining to the picture.
Possible questions for notes: What can a durian taste and smell like? How to paint suggestive clouds strokes with a brush? What can the soft thorn fruit look like on the inside? What are the possible ingredients for gyoza? Why are cats graceful and cute like that? What are the original and creative uses of this unique furniture piece and how to construct it?
Also, this can also be a good time to train students’ analytical thinking and research skill.
I/This ____ because ______
Everyone can participate in this quick game where each just has to note down and tell a reason for their actions or based on what they learned from a textbook. A teacher or organizer may prepare the notes with the first blanks fill-in and the participants have to fill in the second part. Or reverse with answers in the first part to the pre-filled second part so students can practice reverse engineering or deduction thinking. Sentences should be of notable significance, and meaningful for learning purposes. The advantage of sharing in this way is to promote logical thinking and sharing.
This type of notes is similar to questions format suitable for examination testing conditions. If you know something not many do, writing such notes will prompt people to think and learn to find solutions for themselves, as opposed to just reading and memorizing without a deeper understanding.
Tip: Wouldn’t you set exams questions this way if you are the examiner?
Write a note that tells a compelling or emotional story in a few words
There is no restriction on how few words or how much to elaborate for an explanation. Some notes are best left as it is. This game can be fun, heart-breaking or touching depending on the participants’ notes. The key is to capture the audience or reader’s heart in a laconic phrase or even just a word. The selected note-taker can share the story behind the succinct note if he wishes so.
Write a note for yourself or someone to read tomorrow, one year, and ten years later
Write paper notes, keep it in a box and put it away to be open in a future date. Alternatively compose an email, for example in Gmail (ends up in schedule folder), and schedule sends for tomorrow, one year or ten years later. If you do not wish anyone else to read it, send it to your own email address. It may be interesting and fun to note how one may predict what may happen in the future or looks back what we thought and wrote before. Those who review study notes and important information can use this technique to quickly and effectively take action.
Sometimes, I email internet links to myself so I can evaluate them later when I see the bold unread email titles because it is fast and simple. Perhaps a class or group of friends can come together on graduation day and compose a group note with Google Docs and schedule the email to be sent in one and ten years later to all the contributors. Say, for example, every one may write what they think they will become in the future, what if it does not happen and their contingencies.