How to teach "Writing notes from written texts" in Form One

How to teach "Writing notes from written texts" in Form One

Welcome to UNIT 22.0

PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 21.0, we covered the following sub topics: "Analysing nonfactual information from the media"  in Form One; "Writing friendly letters"   in Form One; "Writing notes from oral texts"  in Form One; "Writing cards"  in Form Two; and "Writing messages"  in Form Two.
IN THIS UNIT 22.0, "Writing notes from written texts" in Form One; "Filling in forms" in Form One; "Writing things in a diary" in Form One; "Writing telephone messages" in Form Two; "Leaving a written note/message" in Form Two.
IN THIS UNIT 22.1, we will start covering the sub topic "Writing notes from written texts" in Form One.
Sub Topic: Writing notes from written texts
Periods per sub topic: 8
Class: Form One
Teacher prepares notes, and students write notes. This is a normal tendency at school. However, students are not always given notes from the teacher; instead they need to write important notes from the passage they have read on their own. This is done in the way as taking notes from the oral texts, but this time, the students should read on his/her own and summarise his/her own notes.       
In this sub topic/lesson, the student should be able to write down important points from written texts.
This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:
  1. Putting heads together: Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.
In this sub topic/lesson; specifically at this beginning point, the teacher guides his/her students to brainstorm on various key concepts and activities for them to be on the right track. The teacher may ask students questions so as to trigger the lesson. Some of the questions can be:
·         How do they take down what teachers say in the class?
·         What techniques do they use?
·         What difficulties they face when taking down what teachers say in the class?
·         How do they take down notes from written textbooks?
·         How do they summarise a passage or a part of written text?
  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will prepare and apply various simple written texts on a variety of issues. These simple texts should be relevant in content and appropriate to the level of the students themselves. The texts that have been used should be accompanied with guiding questions so as to help students create their own notes by responding to the guiding questions.
  1. Target Practice. Show them/Guide them to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will guide students to practice how to write down important points from written texts by giving them guiding questions or guiding them to apply these summarization techniques and structures:
The text is about....
The text talks about....
There are two types of...
Important points from the passage include...
The author points out....
According to the text,....
The text is divided into....
The importance of this text is....
My suggestions about this text are:....
  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like school and library.
In this sub topic/lesson, within the particular context of the class, students can find various texts and stories in which they can practice writing down important points or notes for future reference or memorization.
  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations.
In this sub topic/lesson, the most commonly applied vocabularies are: on the level of the class.
Guide the students to the full sub topic/lesson procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:
Guide students to the full complete topic's procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:
ACTIVITY ONE: Brainstorming. The teacher has to brainstorm with the students on the sub topic/lesson's aspects through oral questions with answers, pair works, and group discussions of all important concepts to get students on track.
In this activity, the teacher with students will have to brainstorm with on how to write notes from written texts. The teacher will guide students through oral questions on the ways they can use to create their own notes. One of the ways is to read the text given. However, for further understanding of the text, students have to note down all important points in his/her exercise books which will be in form of guiding questions or in summarized form.
ACTIVITY TWO: Teacher’s Demonstration. Teacher applies his/models or examples so as to bring the topic/lesson and the students into the real or common sense of the topic/lesson.
In this activity, the teacher will demonstrate to students how to take notes from written texts. This kind of taking notes is different from taking notes from oral texts. Thus, students should be reminded that they will mostly read texts and summarise what they have read by applying the summarization skills or by responding to the guiding questions provided by the teacher.
In the teacher's example below, the text is given and the guiding questions have been provided after the text to help students have the main points of the text in form of responded questions:
The following text has appeared in (LINK) and here it has been used as an example of the text to be read and make important notes/points from it by using given guiding questions.
The text:
Cholera is an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine, typically contracted from infected water supplies and causing severe vomiting and diarrhoea. It is always linked to filthiness. Zanzibar was hit by a prolonged cholera since September 2015 to October 2016 in which more than three thousand people were infected resulting into about 60 deaths.
The problem prompted tough measures on observing health regulations which included closing down of all street snack cafés, food stalls, improved sanitation, and treatment of water, alongside mass awareness. The government said that it will ensure increased resources and partners, strengthened health systems, and committed community participation.
The Development partners have reminded Tanzanians about hygiene including use of toilets, treated water through boiling, hand washing and keeping the environment clean.
Some Guiding questions. These questions can help students to create their own notes/important points about this particular text).
  • What is the text about?
  • What does the text talks about?
  • What is cholera?
  • How is cholera transmitted?
  • What are the symptoms of cholera?
  • Important points from the passage include...
  • The author points out that....
  • According to the text, ....
  • The text is divided into....
  • The importance of this text is....
  • My suggestions about this text are:....
These questions in addition to others, can help students to create notes or main points of the text on their own. The students will possess the note taking skills for the materials they read including books, stories, and examination passages through summarization skills or given guiding questions.
ACTIVITY THREE: Students’ Demonstration. Showing students how models like that of a teacher can be applied by them. Here students need to be guided on how to use given expressions, structures, vocabulary, and phrases or similar ones.
In this activity, the teacher will assign students to read selected written texts in which students will have to do the following tasks:
To answer oral questions based on the text read. The teacher will ask them some oral questions he/she has set for them, and
To discuss the guiding questions in groups and write notes from the text read. Apart from responding to oral questions, students will also answer the written guiding questions in their respective groups. In the end, they will have the notes about the text without being forced to write only what teacher will have prepared for them. Instead of preparing everything for them, the students will have the opportunity and experience to create notes or important points from the text, passage, or any big book.
ACTIVITY FOUR: More Students’ Practice. Taking/leading students to the real situations or contexts where they can apply what they have mastered. Here speaking, reading or writing activities are involved.
In this activity, students will discuss other texts provided by the teacher in groups and write notes from the particular texts read (for the second time activity or third one).
ACTIVITY FIVE: Winding up the topic/lesson. Here teachers summarise the topic/lesson by emphasizing the importance of the sub topic/lesson and suggesting other related aspects of the sub topic/lesson.
Additional Activity: As a teacher, what other activity can be applied in this sub topic/lesson? You can always drop your alternative activity or activities to this article so as to improve teaching and learning of ‘O’ Level English Blog! (OLE).
Ask students to reflect or relate the note taking skills from written texts with every day’s life experiences. For instance, in public meetings, the attendants need to take notes on important notes from various presenters and delegates. In seminars and workshops, the participants are required to summarise from what they have read or for the presentation.
A teacher should design an evaluation for students by using appropriate assessment tools like oral questions or assignments so that to see if the student is able to write down important points from written texts. 
Assessment #01: Group work
Divide students in groups and give them the texts to read. Ask them to make summary of important points by answering guiding questions you have given them.
Assessment #02: Pair works
In pairs, students have to read given texts and summarise them by using guiding questions given.
Assessment #03: Individual work
Individually, students have to read the given texts and respond to the guiding questions given to create their own notes or important points from the read text.

Note: You can give students more individual works, pair works, and group works to facilitate their interaction and understanding of the sub topic or lesson. As English language teacher you have to give students more works to do. Because language is meant to be largely spoken and written, the teacher should rely on written exercises and notes. Instead students have to learn English language by vigorously exercising individually, in pairs, and in groups.
Students should be made aware that there are countless number of materials, books, texts, stories and other notes they will go through in their entire schooling life. However, to get best materials from this vast collection, students have to learn how to take down important notes from various materials. This need highlights the necessity of having the skills of note taking from various written texts. For instance, in classes, students are subject to various texts in which they should take only parts of them. Even in the school library, students have to take only important notes from large books in the store. In a nutshell, a student should learn how to produce the same concepts or message by using his/her own words.

NOTE: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.


Title: “Form One English Language Notes with Grammar, Exercises and Key Answers”
Edition: 1st (2022)
Format: PDF
Size: 2.16 MB
Pages: 242
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Msuya, Abdallah "Cholera remains worrisome in Isles". Daily News, Wednesday 8th 2017. Page 5

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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