I am wondering if there are any original fun games that parents or educators can use to spark or simulate a note-taking interest for students or child and this is what I can come up with. The possibilities and potential are limited by the imagination of an adult. There is a considerable increase in correct responses for students assigned online content with a song as a fun item from an experiment (Lesser, Pearl & Weber III 2016).
What are the note-taking fun activities?
- Short story
- Watch or listen to a selected YouTube video or Netflix Show
- Different theme or style or app
- Take a note for someone close
- Outdoor trip
- Poll votes
- Group note
- Group tweet or Facebook for note likes
All can be implemented in a class. Parents may also read out a short story to their kids at home and have them take notes. Remember group activities are more fun and engaging. Read on for more details of each activity.
- Students or children are asked to listen to a short story i.e. (The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein or a Sherlock Holmes reading) and take paper or digital notes and what happened.
- Students should have a summary at the end of notes of how he feels about the character or story.
- Roll a 20 sided dice and the child or student assigned the number will have to answer the next question prepared beforehand. The answer has to be found in his own notes. Share his thoughts on the story. What does he think the morale of the story is? i.e. What kind of person should we be when we grow up after listening to The Giving Tree?
- Or ask the student to re-tell the story with his note and ask the rest of the children if they agree and have anything else to add with their notes.
- Encourage them not to be shy or afraid to learn from mistakes or objective criticism.
Long readings can be divided into shorter sessions over days or weeks.
Watch or listen to a selected YouTube video
- Select a short, appropriate and educational YouTube video. If it is long, pause at 15 minutes interval.
- Let students watch and taking minimal or no notes. Focus on watching.
- Students stop watching and start taking notes on what and why it happened. More importantly, their own observations and opinions on what was subtle, not obvious or untrue.
- Immediately share to a private tag or group, and people can start commenting objectively on the most insightful or best note.
- Repeat till the video is finished. Give closure.
- The video can be a teacher or lecturer pre-recorded lesson for topic-focused learning.
Netflix educational shows
For homeschoolers, educational Netflix shows may be an even more entertaining way to learn and some with practical views of the world we live in (Netflix is a paid subscription service that may not be available for classroom and some shows may not be suitable for the classroom) For example, there are 30 shows listed here at weareteachers.com ranging from elementary to high school levels for watching. I would recommend non-fiction i.e. Cutest Animals, Explained and The Universe, for watching and taking notes for the more serious learners. Personally, I love The Adventures Of Puss In Boots (though not listed) for its innocent cute entertainment value.
- Students take out their notes after class or lectures in a group of 3-5
- In a circular motion, students share quickly the best points they took in chronological order for the class
- Students must be willing to chip in missing points, correct wrong ones, acknowledge and accept positive criticisms and move on
- Discuss, explain and justify the ideas. The group notes will be submitted for evaluation against other groups.
- Engagement is key to a more enjoyable learning experience
Different theme or style or app
- Take notes in a different way a student normally would not
- A different theme such as using typewriting feel with a dark background with the Writer or take colorful notes with Zoho Notes or ColorNote.
- Learn an organized and structured way of taking notes with a lesser-known web app Gingkoapp (highly recommended)
- Imitate another student’s style and get him or her to grade it i.e. neat handwriting with highlights.
- Take all notes in bullet points only
- With an Evernote template
- Even using words related to popular movies and series
Note: I recommend Evernote for general note-taking.
Take a note for someone close
- Have the student write or type a note with someone close in mind
- Write it in that language he normally uses with that person i.e. kiddy language for kids or dialect for elderly or awesome vocabulary words and expressions for friends
- It can sound funny and humorous and that is the point of fun.
- Share that note with the person written for i.e. kid brother or Grandpa or pin on a home board for family table talk and self-review. It is a pass if they can understand or show interest and appreciation for it.
- Read 50 beautiful thank you notes to parents for inspirations.
- Bring the class or group to a botanical garden, zoo, Olympics, games or even a mall.
- Have them take pictures and videos they think are interesting and write notes explaining why and how.
- Encourage taking a picture and audio notes while traveling or walking but remind them of the priority of safety.
- These can be tweeted with a tag or posted to Facebook. Or copied to shared document or Evernote as a class web book-scraping project.
- Best class or shot or video clip wins.
- Students are asked to vote for 3 most important points out of many for a class or lecture.
- Students post their notes photo or screenshots in a shared folder or Facebook poll comment.
- Students with correct answers will be announced as encouragement. Naturally, students who got correct answers will at least know that they are on the right track and likely want to continue their good effort.
- The selected best note can be posted as winning note pinned as announcement.
- Use polls that allow multiple selections e.g. Poll Maker, PollsEZ and easypolls.
easypolls allows multiple selections
- Note-taking as a group collaboration effort on a single note for a single class/lecture i.e. Google docs (Share button)
- The winner goes to the most helpful students who post most number of valid good points OR the most number of words OR best examples. Winners will also be rewarded.
- This kind of group activity can be more intense and instantly gratifying because students are directly competing with each other to see who can better serve the class.
Group tweet or facebook for note likes
- Tweet to a group or tag or post to a Facebook group the notes taken for that session or chapter for every student
- Most favorited or liked tweet or post wins the game. This capitalized on the power of social media for likes. Leverage on students’ online social habits.
- A teacher can act as a moderator in popularity contests as such to ensure the winning tweet or post is also the one with correct answers.
Bonus: Chats for note-taking
Some students or kids may use Google docs for chatting instead. Being more social and open-minded, it is not surprising kids chat with their friends with different apps; Read some surprising apps kids use to chat here. I see an opportunity here for serious note-takers. What if a student pairs up with another like-minded note-taker to send continuous notes specifically on one subject? He just has to scroll back to the chat start to start reading in chronological order to recall his note-taking journey for reviews and the week before the examination. An advantage to this is that he can continue to be clearly accountable for his own learning success even without the inputs of his note-taking partner with just a chat scroll. And we leverage the social tendencies of kids and teens to chat for the targeted purpose of note-taking. This can stir up more fun and intrigue in youngsters to take notes. Obviously, a good partner is one who is willing to help provide a superior understanding with realizations, constructive feedbacks and even encouragement to the other. Any chat apps that do not delete messages with expiration can be considered for note-taking. Screenshots may also be taken regularly for backups, however, it is evident a document solution such as Google Docs (Hottest chat app?) can be the preferred chat app as a note-taking choice.
What about self chat for notes?
As it happened, perhaps the only reliable self chat of a popular platform I found and tested is LINE Memo which you can read about and more in An Interesting App To Take Notes – LINE Memo/Keep and its benefits that also includes the use of modern popular or social platforms such as TikTok and LyricsTraining for fun-infused note-taking. For example, kids or non-English speakers can learn John Lennon’s Stand By Me and Imagine with LyricsTraining.
Whichever note-taking activities you choose, have fun and encourage yourself, students and children develop a habit to take good visual, audio, and written notes, and train their logical thinking skills. Good luck!
What are more outdoor trip ideas for note-taking?
- Take a bus or train from start to end station
- Rural villages
- Auditorium, classical concert for music students
- Architectural buildings of interest, particularly heritage sites status
- International art museums
- Inspiring millennials start-ups offices
- Deer Parks
- Flower Parks
- Spring Parks
- Vegan food fair
- One night cabin stay
- Short forest reserve or lake walks
- Cat cafes
- Large book shops
Note: Plan for short and near trips to inexpensive places over the weekends will be more appealing to most. Consider interesting and memorable places.
An article (refers to a study by Engemann, Perdersen, Arge Tsirogiannis, Mortensen & Svenning 2019) promotes the positive influences of childhood green spaces on mental health. Forest reserves, parks, and rural villages may be superior choices in consideration.
What can be the rewards for note-taking winners?
- The winning note can get posted as the main note to use on Pinterest or Facebook Page
- The act of helping others is self-gratifying
- Prepare a class fund to buy a cup of coffee or tea or a book of his choosing for winning students
Any fun ideas for individual note-taking?
- Keeping a note diary or book-scraping
- Taking notes for a topic he or she is interested in
Where to find public domain materials?
- Popular public domain books listed on Goodreads
- Most items on Gutenberg are full texts of public domain books
- Free public domain audiobook can be found on Librivox and Digitalbook
Where are some of the note-taking related resources or tools mentioned?
Why take notes?
Other than making a strong mental impression or reminding ourselves of certain important points, taking notes can greatly help one to organize the explosion of information (or help to compartmentalize our thoughts) we have to learn in this information or digital age. There is so much to learn in this current age and time that we really should question is it really necessary to subject a child or teenager to so much information of which most are not relevant or needed for livelihood, survival, or basic happiness. In the sense that we should be kind to our children and future generations, and not expose them to unnecessary excessive stress and mental baggage, unless they freely choose and enjoy that kind of education path and lifestyle. Another reduce stress post here.
Another important point to taking notes is to reduce the large information load to only essential bits and bytes that are useful to us. How so? For example, think of educational TikTok video clips. Really time-saving short (as opposed to YouTube many lengthy videos) clips that just serve its purpose, whether to teach plant hacks, amusement entertainment, or life lessons. TikTok kind of really drills down to the point, say for a good laugh or illustrating a common mathematical misunderstanding, then again we need to scrutinize and not accept everything we learn on the internet at face value as correct. Makes me wonder if educational materials can just clearly and quickly illustrate the most important points in an institutional or professional course condensed like TikTok videos (and even as entertaining), then people do not have to sit for hours stretching to months and years before exams and graduation. Wouldn’t you agree?
Another post on the reasons and benefits of note-taking here
Are there more resources or fun ideas related to educational learning?
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You may also wish to read More Fun Activities For Note-taking, Fun With 7 Simple Note-taking Games, Breakthrough With 10+ Creative Note-taking Ideas, and Liven Up Your Notes By Designing Your Own Notebook Pages Visually