a pound of notetaking tools:



Build a Thesis and Make an Outline - truly amazing! Students can enter the information asked for into the fields and it will generate a thesis statement. There are prompts to help them understand the parts of a thesis statement. Students can go back and tweak their answers until they are happy with the thesis statement. (Students should not use capital letters or punctuation.) Then they can click a button and it will generate an outline. Even though it may seem like the computer is doing the work for the student, the student has to know their topic and what to enter. This will be a big help to students who struggle with the thesis statement and the outline. This also offers the teacher one more resource to use in teaching thesis statements and outlines. This works best for a persuasive piece of writing.

Making an Outline - This will give students hints and tips on how to write an outline. This includes an outline maker which is a great visual for students. The outline can be saved as a txt. file.

Microsoft Word Notebook - In the Project Gallery of Microsoft Word is the Word Notebook Layout. This looks like a piece of notebook paper with tabs. The tabs can stand for parts of their outline. This will keep all of their research in the same document yet separated. (I like to use this when I go to conferences. Helps keep my notes together but the sessions separate.)
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The following Google tools can be found on the google home page. Click on the word 'more' and scroll down to documents.

*Google Documents - The documents in Google are going to look very similar to any word processing document. The advantage to using Google documents is the fact that it can be a collaborative document. The student can invite the teacher to collaborate on his/her outline, thesis statement, introduction, etc. The teacher can then leave comments and suggestions. If the student needs information from someone in another country or area they can invite that person to join their google document. There are all kinds of possibilities here.

*Google Spreadsheets - If the student has any data to collect and illustrate by means of a graph, then Google spreadsheet will be a helpful tool. It now has a form attached to it so the student can create a survey for others to fill in. Once participants complete the survey the data goes right into the google spreadsheet where the student can analyze the data and create a graph.

*Google Presentation - Students can create power points and upload them into Google Presentation. Or presentations can be created right inside of Google Presentations. These also are collaborative. The creator simply invites team members to join as collaborators. The chat feature is nice in that the teacher or the rest of the classmates can comment on the presentation.



Visual Thesaurus - students can use this to find more precise, descriptive words in their writing. Visual thesaurus is a paid subscription.

Lexipedia (http://www.lexipedia.com/) - Very much like Visual Thesaurus except it is free!

Visual Dictionary (visual.merriam-webster.com) - This is just what it says it is: a visual dictionary. Here's a picture of the hydrologic cycle. Each term is a link to its defintion.
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PowerPoint or Keynote can be used in place of note cards. Information Skills for Student Achievement (The Big6) provides tips for using PowerPoint. If you have a MAC and prefer using Keynote the same information applies.