Two-Column Note Taking

A two-column note taking strategy can be used with text, lectures, or when viewing media presentations to help students organize their thinking about specific content. It is sometimes called a double-entry journal when used with fictional text or when the focus is on a student’s personal response to the text instead of on “taking notes.”

Use during and after reading to:
Create a user-friendly system to record important ideas, related details, and the relationships between concepts
Help students remember important points and deepen their understanding of content
Help students organize information and thoughts for thinking, writing, studying, or presenting

1. Students divide their paper into two columns with a 1:2 ratio.
2. Mark the columns with the appropriate headings.

Ideas for possible headings:
Column 1/ Column 2
Passage/ Response
Character/ Decision
Quote/ Importance

Column 1/ Column 2
Keyword/ Definition
Main idea/ Detail
Cause/ Effect
Concept/ Example
Issue/ Connection to own life

3.Model how to do the following: In the left-hand column, write a sentence, quote, or key word from the selection along with the page number. In the right-hand column, write the definition, give an example, make a connection to your life.
4. Provide the specific words, quotes, etc., in the left-hand column that you want students to respond to while reading/listening.
5. Have students complete two-column notes independently, making sure the headings fit the reading/purpose for reading.

Students share their responses with others and solicit feedback.
or to take notes from films or lectures.

Two column note taking template:

Two column note taking content examples and suggestions

Two column notes tutorial