Take Notes Like You Need Them | Nina Araujo | Skillshare
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11 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Welcome & Intro to this Class

    • 2. Activities and Final Project

    • 3. Note Taking Tools

    • 4. Who Takes Notes & Why Take Notes

    • 5. Strategies - Part 1

    • 6. Strategies - Part 2

    • 7. Strategies - Part 3

    • 8. Make Your Own Notation

    • 9. Using Color

    • 10. Organizing Notes

    • 11. Final Project & Final Notes

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About This Class

In this class, you will learn about strategies that help you take notes, create notes and share notes. You will be able to develop your own notation and note-taking templates and share them with others.


1. Welcome & Intro to this Class: hi and welcome to take notes like You need them? I am. Nina was you and I will be teaching this class in this glass. I will be sharing some recommendations as to how to be taking notes, creating notes and sharing notes. As an instructional designer and teacher, I have learned quite a few strategies along the way that I'm very excited to be sharing with you. This is an open class. So make it yours. Take whatever you need or whatever you want and transform it. Make it different and And we will use a very collaborative forum in order to exchange all of those ideas here at skill share. I want to actually tell you a quick story as to how the role of note taking has had a strong impact in in my career and also life. A few years ago, there was a project at work that really needed to be finalized. But it was also dependent on an important proposal, and that proposal was not quite clear and it had had some false starts here and there. I'm sure you can maybe relate to this, but I have been taking very careful notes and very focused notes using the strategies that I will share with you in this class. We were able to actually not only send the proposal along, it had many, many risks involved. I could not just come to the table to the decision makers and say I have a hunch that this will work based on this experience or that experience Those were isolated events, but the really focus notes help me write a document that then finalized the goal for the project and it was finally approved, and it was not only approved with flying colors, but it was also a model that was able to be replicated afterwards. So if you are in the middle of a project that sounds a little similar, I think there's something in this class for you. Or maybe if you are a student or an attorney or a teacher that maybe you take notes from conferences or from lectures, and all of a sudden you open that notebook and you try to find something that you're looking for. But all you see is really just words on a page. There's something for you in here as well. I would also like to welcome you to participate in some practice activities along the way. The biggest challenge around no taking is I think, just about with every new scale. If this is a new skill for you are a new approach to this skill is to practice, practice, practice. So at the end of every clip, I will have a sort short suggestion as to what you could do before you start the following clip and how to make the best use of what's being shared in each one by using a practice activity at the very end, we will culminate the entire class with the final project, and I will explain that in more detail later. You can submit your ideas at any time. This is a very collaborative community, and I can't wait to see and hear from Let's get started. 2. Activities and Final Project: Now let's talk a little bit about the final project. The final project for this class is actually to create your notebook, and what we're going to do is at the end of every clip, as I mentioned before, there will be a practice activity for every practice activity. There will be a suggestion that meets the good, better and best kind of range. So what that means is that when a good activity is suggested, it will be able to offer you the ability to pause. So the closer you are to pausing sources of information or stories or lectures, or whatever you can use to actually take notes and practice, it will be closer to the ability to pause. The better recommendations will be around your favorite source, but that you can only pause once, and then the best ones that most challenging ones will be no pause. So maybe you you can just get something from TV news, radio news, life talks, moss stories. A website will be suggested for that, but something that is live and you do not have the ability to pause. And so after you complete all of the practice activities, you a t end of every clip. You can keep taking pictures and uploading them to hear to skill share. Or you can take multiple pictures of multiple pages if you decide to create a project activity um, number one. But you know, by two or three different versions those air welcome as well. And I do want to point out that even if you are a digital note taker and you decide that you want to participate in this class and submit all of the activities in digital format, the more the merrier. So there is room for everyone. One important piece about this final project is you're going to develop a collection of 3 to 5 templates that you can share with us. Here. We will talk about a little bit about the role in the purpose that templates serve in the world of no taking. But you will be creating your own. This guy is really the limit 3. Note Taking Tools: When it comes to writing tools, I tend to gravitate towards two main sources. One is just a regular pencil for note taking. I could just use a mechanical pencil or a school pencil or drawing pencil. The only trick about the school pencil is I have to always remember to have my sharpener with me. Let's talk a little bit about erasers. So if I I'm writing a word and all of a sudden I make a mistake, which happens pretty often, I tend to actually use the plastic eraser here on the left, and this one here is also widely used in this is called the Sand Eraser, the plastic eraser. What happens is let's just erase half of this word over here. It tends to just take care of the job pretty neatly, and the sandy racer racing pretty vigorously here, and maybe you camera can't quite pick it up. But if there's a little bit of a residue here, so I tend to stay with a plastic eraser because it can take care of everything all at once , and then I can right over it, which happens pretty often. I just try to avoid having a page full of residues here and there only because for the most part, when I take notes, I end up sharing it with either my team or a colleague, or even when I use it, a source of information. I I would like to have a clean page so I don't get thrown off when I'm presenting. I tend to use this very fine tip marker here if I need to just create sort of like a a stronger line to write notes when I'm pretty confident. And when I think that the notice getting close to permanent enough for me to keep or to share with others, if it's you know, needs to be a little darker for the sake of copying. And I also use this duo, um, brush Bennett's by Tom Bow, and it has this thicker marker over on this side and this sort of like thin tip on the other side, and what it does is sometimes if I need to really box something in just to call my attention to wait or just to really highlight the importance that it hasn't a note, it does the job pretty nicely, and the best part is that it doesnt lead on the other side. And while the the thin 0.1 I can just add maybe something, um, handles or highlighters as we're going to talk about later. Even though this course is only really focusing on paper note taking, I would like to just point out just two things in terms of other tools. If you are a digital note taker and you don't want to wait until the digital note taking class comes right after this. But you're interested in the strategies. These are the two that I would recommend the most. I have used the apple pencil here and there. I still prefer to stay close to these. This is by paper, 53 this one here. There's a bamboo version of this one, and there's also I can't remember. This is new Trent, Um, this does the job really, really well. This this is a very soft tip. You can actually just use it on the screen on a touch screen, and then it also comes with a pen on the other side of the stylist. When it comes to paper, I turned to stay around three different types. One is just plain paper. That gives me a little bit of freedom, and it's a little bit more open than the other ones with guides and rulers. The other one that I feel very, very comfortable with is, UM, no folks with graph paper. They actually helped me when I need to draw lines and they I use them as guides, as does the line paper as well. Just a regular ruled, you know, school notebook type of. It helps me as a guide. Now, one of the other things that I used to use pretty often when I started taking more purposeful notes was the use of posted notes. So, for example, I would take lots of notes on just individual close to notes, and I would just put them on pages. And then when I would come back and then review my notes and I realized, Oh, maybe, actually they're not quite in the right order. I would just reorder the Post it notes, and then it would just go back to my notes and make them a little bit more permanent. But they helped me a lot in the beginning. It's a really nice step to keep in mind when we're just trying to change our no taking system or adding something to our repertoire. 4. Who Takes Notes & Why Take Notes: When we talk about notes, two groups come to mind. Who is it that really takes notes and why? Actually, does this group take notes? Wire notes are important in our lives, So let's think about some of the people that actually take notes on a regular basis. Now let's think about why these people take notes off course for a variety of different reasons. Each one of these people and there's many more will take notes with a different purpose in mind. So let's imagine that a student, for example, will take notes because he or she needs to understand the content. And even though also in this page there many different reasons that were left out of this page, there are actually two fundamental reasons that sort of guide the reasoning behind why people actually take notes. So I've added these on either end, because all of these reasons actually can belong to this group or that Group One is to outsource our memory to notes or paper, and the other one is to make content explicit for future use. So it is super super important to make notes serve this purpose in a clear, easy, fairly accessible way 5. Strategies - Part 1: All right, let's begin with some strategies that I have out here that will be very helpful for us to think about now, writing information in space. One of the first things that I like to start with. This always start with the title. So right here in this note, you can see note taking strategies and then I would just go ahead and start taking my notes . In this case, I quit just box my entire title in and a wonderful Segway to To to this second strategy, which is to use lines, shapes and arrows. This helps notes come to life really, really well. I will give you an example in this page. I needed to remember what to say during a conference. Also, I was preparing my notes but also getting ready to talk, to put a few people about note taking strategies. And this gave me a hint that on page eight in this book I had more strategies to share. So if you look at the lines, they sort of like compact, the information arrows, they always point and they given idea of process. So I was not stuck. I remember that it would start here I read from left to right, but I remember that this would actually follow to this, Um and then the shapes really, really help. I could have actually had circles over here, but the shapes help chunk the information and contain the notes so you can actually share them more easily. The next tip that I would like to share with you is the rule that connectors and separators play in notes. So I will start by separating these notes with a line and things that connect our lines attached to shapes, even if you are separating separate concepts. But if they are in the same box or in the same thumbnail in the same table, they are still connected. There's a topic. There's an underlying topic that's connecting them. But if you're going to separate them, then there is no line to join. And even if you are talking about four topics that are somewhat related, if you really want to separate them, then don't join them. Just leave them separated the way they are. A wonderful way to separate topics also is, that's imagine that there's a title over here and then you separate them. You clearly separate them by the title over here. Teach arts are also wonderful to separate them or to compare them. But these are great ways to actually, um, add to your notes in a way that's easier for you to go back to and then be able to to the study review, remember and report out one other strategy that I think it's very, very important. Let's imagine that you are taking notes and the speaker is speaking, you know, mile a minute, and it's hard for you at first, right there, impromptu on the spot to remember what's more important than what leave space open. Because maybe the speaker will be talking about something down here. And there is something that he or she says, that's related toe up here, and you have this open space here to then go back, Teoh and be able to add take out, even if it's even if you just want to use this empty space to then create those connections that are so important to help your memory retrieve information, you can just have one big arrow over here, and then this concept will go down to something that the speaker said over here and then there's something else important here. But if you don't have the space, if your notes are all just crammed in one space, it'll be really, really hard for you to connect later. For example, when I originally took this these notes, all of this was empty. I did not even know that this was going to show up during the conversation, but I had a lot of space to play with, and it was the same over here. If I did not leave this piece over here available, I would have not had the space to write these three very important tips that came from an important talk. One other important tip is to use thumbnails for topics. So let's imagine that the topic is pizza and someone is talking about the different kinds of pizza bread that you can use, whether it's flatbread and and they offer recipes so immediately, my tendency is actually to just create boxes, and even if it's something that they don't get into it, it's crusty, it's soft and it is sweet. So later on they were going to give you some information about that. Then I can always add over here and again, leaving space between these over here. This was our previous tip. If you leave space over here, you you cannot go wrong. Use lots of space. Then you can also add information here and here and here and here. Speakers are not always going to be as organized as we want them to be as helpful. It would be, too, to have their ideas all condensed and organized in a sequential order. This is not a linear process. So if you leave space, you also leaving yourself a lot of room for flexibility. And this is very, very helpful. Now let's talk about the visual at Alphabet by Sonny Brown. She wrote a wonderful book called The Doodle Revolution, and I have used her visual alphabets to help me with my notes. And it's added so much to the way that I convinced information, but also the way I designed titles. And then they're ready to be shared with my team. So let me draw here her visual alphabet. All right. As you can see here, what I was trying to do was really to chunk the information. And I did this on purpose because chunky the information doesn't only mean Chungking a group of words, it can be just chunking the information. So this is actually the point, the line angle, etcetera, and each one of these serves a different purpose, and it's up to you to use your creative mind and creative note taking to then discover the different ways that you could use this visual alphabet. 6. Strategies - Part 2: They're quite a few examples here that I chose to show you how to adapt the visual alphabet by Sonny Brown in two ways of chunking information and highlighting portions of your notes . So the 1st 1 over here, when you see the titles, there's a rectangle around the title. When you when you use something like this to highlight important information, you have a line and you have an angle right here. Then you have a line right here. Topic titles. You have the cloud, and you have the check lets you have brackets. We're going to talk about visual highlighters next. When you want to represent ideas and they have an idea of process, for example, you can easily use a loop over here and use shapes. In this case, it's the rectangular or square, you know we can use. Either they interchange, and this is just a sideways house to represent a process or maybe a step process. Or maybe you know a point scaler point system. This is the I one of the eyes that then translates into something for your eyes actually to gravitate towards. Maybe there's important information over here, here and here. Another another way to use lines as well is to use this as a cascade do represent ideas that are grouped together. So, for example, when I when I was talking about the good, better best systems that I'm using for for us to talk about practice activities at the end of every click clip if you notice I'm using that cascade that's just made with lines, but it gives me an idea of First of all, I'm connecting them and not separating them. Um, and I'm also keeping them within a certain system, and it's easy for me to remember which ones belong Where Now let me show you how this works with just really life notes. When I took a workshop offered by Skill Share a few weeks ago, this is how I took the my notes while they were speaking. And even here is just a line with one word highlighted there, talking about the same thing, teaching benefits and basics. And then over here I go here and then I highlight the basics. So this tells me that they're talking about something over here that's not related to something over there and finally to take a look at one more way to enhance our notes and to look at titles and how they can really pop other than just drawing a square around the words is to use what I call the visual highlighters. So, for example, even with different words listed on a page, you can actually come up with different ways of highlighting the words if they mean something different in a note. So in this case, I'm going to use the darker color just so it can really highlight what the difference between each one so we can use waves with this 1st 1 here, it just makes the wards stand out. We can use sticks. We can use knobs next to the words we can use brackets like we saw in the note before we can use the this thunder or lightening. This really calls for action or attention or something else. And we can use handles like I used in most of the titles. And this really gives the word sort of like a special place on the paper. Now, one thing that I wanted to say is, even though these Lok really interesting and it does, they do serve a purpose especially when you are organizing your notes to make sure that you can share them with sort of like an extra way of showing your viewer. For example, I did this with award welcome in many different ways. I would not have a variety of these on one page. I think what it can do if you just use all of them at once. It can just be too much or a little confusing, or it draws attention to the wrong part of your note. And you really, really want to make sure that your notes are clear for those who are reading your notes, but most especially to in your case, if you are sharing your notes. If you are using those notes as a guide or a reference for presenting, you really want to make sure that your ideas just flow. Now let's see what this really looks like in practice. This looks like just a standard PowerPoint slide that you would actually see at a meeting somewhere or in your school in your graduate school. And in this case, in my case, this was actually part of a meeting that I had to go to in order to understand the process that these business men and women were using based on ah, user centered design theory, where their product goat went from conception to the consumer's hands. So this was all fine and dandy, and at the very beginning of the meeting, what they asked us to do was just really take all of those notes and copy those notes. And then everyone was voraciously copying the notes. And I only did this here for the sake of illustrating my point, but I was actually not interested in the notes. They're fairly easy to understand. And what I did instead, was I actually that my notes actually start right here. This is the title for that talk, the product iterative process and how they made sure that this process was a predictable process. And this is how they used in their company to test software among their users. So they went through this process, they would start. I just really paid attention to some of the key words that they had. They would start the process by inventing something, and then they would just take the early stage ideas, and then they were just turned them into demos. From that they would actually advertise and sample their products through conference forums through the conference forms that would then get feedback from those first testers. And then they would then improve the prototype based on the foot feedback. They would then use early adopters that would then return their idea of how the product really worked or didn't work through feedback. And then after this second stage over here, they would come up with a standard product, and then they would just then deploy to the customer's hands. This was a very easy process to to draw, and two, then report back. But I don't think that without the's note taking strategies, I would have been able to have a very concise and clear idea when I returned back to my group. 7. Strategies - Part 3: Okay, now, let's just I wanted to share just one last example. This example comes from a talk that actually happened at the Harvard Law School, where Justice Sandra Day O Connor was there and they were talking about the importance of civics and education. Please, let's be honest. If you look at a note that looks like this, it's very, very. It's incredibly complicated and hard to go back to it and really make sense as to where the start is and where they went. The end is, and so what this note actually looks like is right here. I'm using the same principles that we've talked about so far. So I actually was able to, at the very start, isolated but giving a title to it. And I used lines to actually give an idea of what the main ideas were from from that talk the speakers air listed over here, and then they they each had a quote that came from their participation, and this was really the summary of this talk. One last strategy that I would like to share here is how we make use of templates. So I create my own templates for note taking. I use this this approach, especially when I'm working with teams that are going to be meeting over time and frequently. So, for example, if I know that our team has a clear focus and it's going to be working on, for example, the development of lessons or modules, then it becomes fairly familiar for the instructor. I'm working with the multimedia team and all the ones involved in knowing what to look for , so the information is the same. It's consistent and we can just keep going every week and know how to just flow and not have to be concerned about reading new notes every time in this case. For example, if I have a working session there, quite a few decisions that get made and then I have a space here that's reserved for what I called parking lot items, and those items are translated into action item action items that then at the next meeting , we will start from here from where we left off and then their new parking lot items generated. When the team is looking at these notes, which get also posted and shared among all the members, they know exactly what to look for. If there's someone who we decided to be responsible for some action item to be completed, then this is where they go for that. This one here, for example. I made use of loops instead of bullet points. And every time an item is completed, then I go on, I feel in a night, or I can just x out the, uh, that item, it doesn't really matter. It's whatever works for you. I sometimes just try to just be as practical as possible. So this is a planning session, and we need to know what steps are involved in this planning session. If I know that the meeting will involve planning sessions, multiple planning sessions, then I would use this type of temple it So this is a process template. And I just wanted to show these to you because as part of your final project, I wanted you to just create what comes to mind what really meets your needs and wherever you are. If you are an artist, if you are skills chair teacher, if you are just trying to develop templates that you want to use in your everyday life, this one here for example, was an interesting one. I was working with an attorney who was teaching some legal studies where I work, and one of the things that she shared was that fairly often she would work with her client and she would just end up with a page filled with running notes. And then we developed this template for her, and she was fairly happy about just using this space, just with the clients named the Date so she could keep track of all of these things. And just Chunk, as I said from the beginning, chunk the information so it would be easier to access. And then she would use multiple pages using that if it's a process meeting and so forth and so on. So I hope you enjoy developing your own template, and I really cannot wait to see what you share. 8. Make Your Own Notation: This is my favorite part of the classes when we get to really be creative and we put all the pieces together and your job will really be to develop your own notation. One of the things that I like to be when I'm even developing my own style or notation is to just completely go out of the box. So let's imagine that we were staying with waves and this and that. But maybe my style is a little bit brighter than waves again. The secret is to keep it consistent, but maybe I actually prefer to have something like sons or hot spots to call attention 22 points over here. It works really well, if again, if it's being consistent and this is a color that actually goes with who I am, I would prefer to see something like that. Then those pastel colors. It's really your style. So, needless to say, the practice activity after this video is to really create a number of different notations styles and share them in the group. Choose three favorite ones in practice. Practice practice, take notes, sometimes from commercials, commercials, air perfect for practicing note taking because they're typically between 15 seconds and 30 seconds long. Typically, the 52nd one's move very fast. They're actually created that way because by the third or 4th 2nd they're quickly. If the commercial is not very good, they're losing the the viewer. So it's it's a great way for you to try to beat the clock and then get that information. If this dresses you out, then don't do it to something a little bit longer, or maybe a sound by and then after you create your notation, you just create templates with them. 9. Using Color: no a few brief notes around using color in notes. As I have said before, I tend to just released a very as close as possible to less is always more so. Even if I'm writing a title and even in this case where I have a cloud is just that one color enable for the sake of consistency. I will also just stay with it right here. So even if I'm writing a different title and it says light colors, I would stay away in terms of the design, I would stay away from yet another shape. Sorry, another cloud and the cloud would really I would really keep it for titles only. But in this case, if we're just, if I'm just going to maybe have a little sample of light colors down here, I would just quickly just lightly do something like that. Light colors and then to stay with the T. The theme Dark colors. I would do the same thing. Just quite a roll of color is really to bring information up to the your eyes very, very quickly. But here is a question that I get that I really get from people a lot what happens if you don't have a marker on you, right When you're taking notes, you can always review your notes later, which is a process that typically happens. You take notes to review the notes, and then you share the notes. But even if you're reviewing your notes, but you still don't have that color available, then what do you do? Well, there's this really, really fun tip that I have discovered over time, nothing new. A lot of Skechers and drawers do that, but I'm not a sketcher or a juror, but typically you can use that one shade and then use it in many different ways. So, for example, if I'm using it to highlight a word, I will just draw over it until it's a little darker than usual. And then I would write the word right over here in the middle. If if I have many arrows and then I have this main air over here, this is great. But maybe, actually, I want to highlight one arrow more so than the others. I look over here, I can darken the where the lines, but maybe the darkened lines. This is still just not good enough. I'll just come over here and likely just add, you know, some a little bit of a filling in it. Same thing with what? If I want to just call someone's attention to something lightly fill in light fillers right over here and maybe not all the way. Maybe just before be closed this clip. I would like to actually come back to this page that we visited earlier in this class, and I left it empty, this site empty on purpose, where all of the people who take notes were just left, sort of like in the background. The most important part of this is who really takes notes, and it could be anyone, and it's not limited to these people. But let's imagine that this page looks like this, and I considered myself to be a fairly color happy person. But this is really too much. If I wore in any given point required to talk about each one of these, I would have a hard time actually focusing on this note and remembering with any degree of accuracy. But most especially with being able to articulate really what I saw on the page 10. Organizing Notes: OK, now it's time to wrap things up here by sharing with you how I organize my notes. This clip will focus on two different ways of looking at the notebook organization. One is how to index your notes and how to find your notes. All right, here is actually my latest notebook is the most current one that I'm using at work. I'm almost at the very, very end of it, but I wanted to show you how I organize my table of contents. It's where I always start before anything when I buy a new notebook or when I started. Whether it's a one topic has a one topic focus or if it has multiple topics, focus which is which is what you see over here is that I actually number all of my pages, all of them one by one, you can see that they have different ink in colors or as the notes come along. I keep numbering them, and you can't find notebooks that are sold with page numbers on them already. Also, I have the freedom to sometimes number three or four pages with the same number. If I'm if I actually have a clear purpose for that, and it just gives you more freedom. So the first thing that I do is I said, is I create a table of contents. In this case, I'm actually working on eight projects at the same time, even if thes 21 was postponed and the other one is in late development. And what you see here is all of each project here has its own set of pages because I cannot section the book and it would be too cumbersome. Water phone project needs more pages than the other and so forth and so on. So then it also create an extras section that I keep adding as I go along. One thing that I would like to tell you to is I started my stable my table of contents from the back of the book, and the reason for that is that it just gives me a little bit more freedom to keep adding pages from the back to the front rather than the other way around. I might need more pages than I budget myself for, or I might need less pages, and then I end up with an empty pages at the beginning. So I want to give an example of how handy. Actually, this this was not too long ago. One of our multimedia team specialists needed dates for certain development meetings that we had with the company that we were working with. And let me just isolate this here for a little bit, just for better viewing. And hopefully you can see this here they're divided by modules. We had isolated developments for these modules, and one thing that this multimedia media specialists needed was she needed exact dates for when those meetings occurred. So off course, it took me less than even a minute. I went to the table of contents. As you can see him to find out the dates for module one, I go to page 51 right here. And here is the date right there at the top. And one thing that I wanted to also share it's really cool Tip that helped expedite my own ways of using notes is that I actually create thes groups that our paper clipped. And then if I if I only want to focus on one topic even though this notebook focuses on multiple topics, is I just go from one, It's still the same project. 44 50 44 50 44 50 and so forth and so on. So here it is for a multiple topic notebook. Now I want to share with you what I would I do with the symbol topic notebooks again, I do number the pages. First time I get the book, I do create the table of contents from the back to the front. And in this case, I had a brainstorming, so I was able to actually have to different sections for the book. It was very clear I created all of the notes that I needed with pages, corresponding pages. And one thing that I tend to also add in notebooks that I keep going back and forth is I tend to use posted notes to organize my notes. So this one here was important to me and this when he was important to me as well. I wanted to also show you that I tend to write the spine of those notebooks what the topic is for that. So I also wanted to share with you what I have been doing. I will also submit to my own final project, and I, of course, I went to the back of the book and I created a table of contents. Take notes like You need them and the clip on notes are on page one and the practice activity. Oops, I forgot. Here Number one is on page two and then I'll keep filling this out as I progress. 11. Final Project & Final Notes: All right, This is it. I want to thank you so very much for all the collaboration. And I want to wish you good luck with no taking. And please remember, you're always welcome to keep submitting projects even after you've taken all of these videos. And maybe you have a project that you were in the middle of it work and you would like to have our opinion or maybe feedback Or maybe just a second pair of eyes. But I hope to see you. Maybe in a different class soon. Thank you.