This will really help you out as we work on the rest of this topic as we will be viewing a range of Primary and Secondary sources. It is also a really quick and helpful way when it comes to the Semester Tests you are all looking forward to!
Effective Note Taking
Notes are a brief record of facts, topics or thoughts written down as an aid to memory. Effective note taking involves more than just copying all information heard or read. Notes are a crisp but broad account of a topic or source. They aim to summarize key information and points in your own words. This enables you to gather all the important information.
As you study history, you will come across great deals of written, visual and auditory information. All this information can sometimes become overwhelming. This is what note taking attempts to solve – it breaks the information down into small pieces. They are great for revision and an excellent way to learn.
Making your notes in a few easy steps
There is no right or wrong way to effective note taking – everyone has or will develop their own methods. As long as they make sense to YOU they are okay. To get started, follow the steps below.
Read through the text without a making any annotations or highlighting. Take note of th headings/subheadings and topic sentence – these will give you an idea of what the text is about.
Once you have read through the text and considered what the main idea/theme behind the text is about, rea through it again. However, this time, highlight what you consider to be the key words and phrases (in yellow and any words you don’t know the meaning of in blue).
Here’s an example:
Shinto (way of the spirits) is the oldest Japanese belief system. It is a set of practices that involves respecting and celebrating the spirits that exist in the world. These spirits are called kami. A kami can take many formats, including human form, such as the Emperor, or more natural features such as mountains, rivers, lighting and trees. Tori gates were built where there are believed to be kami present and these separate the real world from the spirit world. Shinto shrines were also built for people to show their respect.
Adapted from: Greer, V et al (2012), Nelson Connect History 8, Chapter 7: Japan Under the Shoguns, p196, 1st Edition, Cengage Learning Australia.
Now that you have highlighted the key words and phrases, you can begin your dot points. Don’t copy the person next to you! Remember, this is a personal matter and you should write your dot points in a way that suits you.
Here are my dot points:
- Shinto is an ancient Japanese belief system
- Involves showing respect to the spirits or gods called kami
- Are spirits of the natural world
- Examples include, the emperor, mountains and rivers
- Ceremonies were held in shrines to show respect to the spirits
- Tori gates separate the real world from the spirit world
Notice my dot points summarise the key points and phrases. By doing this, I have been able to halve the number of words written. This will make revising for tests a lot easier!
Following steps 1‐3 above, summarize the extract below. Copy the text into a new Pages document on your iPad (title it History Notes). Highlight the text in Pages and ad a new text box with your dot points.
Samurai and Bushido
Samurai were the warrior class of medieval Japan and lived by the code of Bushido “way of the warrior” (a Japanese word for the way of the samurai life, much like the code of chivalry for the Knight). It stresses loyalty, honour unto death and martial arts mastery. Born from Neo-‐Confucianism during early Shogunate rule, Bushido was also influenced by Shinto and Zen Buddhism, allowing the violent existence of the samurai to be tempered by wisdom and serenity. The code emphasized complete loyalty to ones master. If ones honour was tarnished, they would commit seppuku.
Adapted from Darlington, R et al Jacaranda History Alive 8 for the Australian Curriculum.