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 children 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 themes or styles or apps
- 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 about 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 retell 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 e.g. What In 3, What In 5, What In 10. If it is long, pause at 15 minutes intervals.
- Let students watch and take 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’s 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 the 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 themes or styles or apps
- 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 taking 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 or Notion template
- Even using words related to popular movies and series
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 it 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 inspiration.
- 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 copy to a 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 the 3 most important points out of many for a class or lecture.
- Students post their notes photos 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 a winning note pinned as an 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 the most 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
- This may also be suited for subjective topics like art doodles and sketches
- Tweet to a group or tag or post to a Facebook group the notes taken for that session or chapter for every student
- The most liked tweet or post wins the game. This capitalized on the power of social media for likes. Leverage 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 the 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 and 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 input 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 feedback, 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.
And not to forget ChatGPT (3 AI Tools For Understanding, Take Memorable Notes, And Fun) that have been widely publicized. In fact, AI chats are so advanced they may even be more relevant and useful in their responses to our academic questions.
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 include the use of modern popular or platforms such as 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 to develop a habit to take good visual, audio, and written notes, and train their logical thinking skills.
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 those of heritage sites status
- International art museums
- Inspiring millennial’s 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.