My Favorite Note Taking Strategies for Special Ed

Note-taking seems to take a scary turn in middle school. In elementary, interactive notebooks are a big deal right now so our middle schoolers come to us unprepared for the amount of note taking that is usually required of them. Add in the fact that a child might have a disability that hinders them from taking adequate notes, and you have a giant mess on their hands. That's where the cloze method and exchange method come into play.

Cloze notes are just notes that are fill-in-the-blank. The students are able to follow along with the rest of the class but can go at a pace that suits them more. This is especially beneficial for students who have auditory processing deficits or ADHD. It does not have to be fancy either. I know, I know. All of your stuff looks so cute and you want theirs to as well! I get that, I do. But cloze notes can be as easy as hand-writing them for the students and making sure there are blanks. Please do not make it harder on your time than it has to be. Here is an example of close notes:

Exchange notes are exactly how they sound. The child takes notes on paper like the rest of the class, but then you exchange a hard-copy for theirs at the end. This is great for students who are cognitively on par but may have some fine motor deficits. This is probably the easiest route to take since many teachers are writing on a copy anyway and/or have a powerpoint put together. This makes it super easy to give a child a copy of your own. My only warning is that some kids will take advantage of this and not put any effort into the lesson. This only works for students who are more driven to succeed. Here is an example of an exchange notes:

Wait. What was that you said? You already KNEW about these things?

Yes. I am sure you do. Yet note taking seems to be one of the easiest special ed accommodations to implement but not everyone does it like they should. Sometime we get so bogged down in the day-to-day tasks that having to do one more thing just seems impossible. I get that, I really do. However, I just wanted to remind you of how easy it is to reach your special ed students without having to give too much effort.

Be sure to keep a look out for my foldable notes in my store. They have been a very SLOW process making just because they are so time consuming, but I promise, the few I have are worth it. Each set comes with:

  • Open notes- Students write everything. This is for your average learner.
  • Cloze notes- Students fill in the blanks. This is for your average to struggling learner.
  • Full notes- Students just cut and paste. This is for your struggling learner.

I hope that this has inspired you to take a little bit f effort and make your special ed students' lives better. All of our students deserve the very best of us.

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