Classroom tools to help your students with learning disabilities

Guided Notes


What are Guided Notes?

Guided notes are notes created by the teacher that outline the class notes. Guided notes have blank spaces where students are required to fill in key concepts, facts, definitions, etc. as they are covered during the lecture. The guided notes method is a great strategy that can be used at any level. It provides a way for students to be actively involved in note taking without overwhelming them. The handouts allow students to get down all of the information they will need correctly, boosting achievement.


  • To complete their guided notes students must actively respond—by looking, listening, thinking, and writing about critical content—throughout the lecture.
  • Guided notes have been shown to help English Language Learners and learning disabled students immensely.
  • Students produce complete and accurate lecture notes.
  • Students can more easily identify the most important information.
  • Students are more likely to ask the instructor questions.
  • Guided Notes can serve as an advance organizer for students.
  • Guided Notes help teachers prioritize and limit lecture content.
  • Guided Notes content can be easily converted into test/exam questions.
  • Low cost and efficient strategy



  • Instructors must prepare the lecture carefully, this can sometimes be tedious
  • Students are not learning to take notes themselves

Implementing Guided Notes

  • Use PowerPoint slides or overhead transparencies to project key content.
  • Leave ample space for students to write.
  • Do not require students to write too much.
  • Enhance Guided Notes with supporting information, resources, and additional response opportunities.
  • Make Guided Notes available to students via course website and/or photocopied course packets.\


How to Create Guided Notes

  1. Examine existing lecture outlines (or create them as necessary) to identify the most important course content that students must learn and retain via lecture.
  2. Delete the key facts, concepts, and relationships from the lecture outline, leaving the remaining information to provide structure and context for students’ notetaking.
  3. Insert formatting cues such as asterisks, lines, and bullets to show students where, when, and how many facts or concepts to write.





Why Guided Notes?

During my classroom observation hours I have been working with a 6th Grade English Language Arts Inclusion Teacher. She expressed to me how she would like to change her classroom notes for her students into Guided Notes. I decided to take on this task and have been learning about guided notes since. As a student I have always walked away from lectures that had guided notes feeling more confident in my understanding of the content than when I had to take my own notes. As a teacher it can be a lot of work creating the notes, but the student achievement outcome I feel is worth the effort.

Resource for Creating Guided Notes

Guided Notes Maker


Study Guides and Strategies

Guided Notes: Increasing Student Engagement During Lecture and Assigned Readings

An Alternative to Traditional Note Taking Strategies

Disability Services (DS)

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Think-Pair-Share is a strategy where teachers present students with a problem or question that they independently think about and then discuss with a partner or small group before finally presenting their thoughts and answers to the whole class.

Why use Think-Pair-Share?

  • Easy preparation
  • Personal interaction motivates students who might not otherwise be motivated to participate
  • Various levels of questions/ problems can be presented
  • It actively engages the entire class
  • Allows teachers to assess student understanding by listening in on several groups during, and the discussion after
  • Full class discussion is better after the think-pair-sh are
  • Thinking time results in higher quality responses
  • By discussing new ideas, students are deepening their understanding of the idea
  • Students are more willing to participate because there is less peer pressure when talking to a partner or small group than to the whole class
  • No specific materials needed

Steps for using Think-Pair-Share

  1. Pose a question or problem to students
  2. Give students time to THINK independently about the question or problem
  3. Ask students to PAIR up with another student, or in small groups to discuss the question or problem
  4. Have groups or partners SHARE what they came up with in a whole-class discussion


Student engagement is the biggest challenge of the Think-Pair-Share technique. Some ways a teacher can hold students responsible for their participation and increase engagement is to have a product that students complete and turn in, give students a grade for participation, let students know that each group will be called on to respond, or use questions or problems that students will see on tests.

Hints for Success!

  • Assign partners rather than allowing students to pick partners
  • Change partners so that students are not always working with the same people
  • Be sure to provide adequate think time for students to form their thoughts before pairing up
  • Monitor student discussions to make sure they are discussing the topic
  • Randomly select students during sharing so that students don’t know who is or is not going to be called on. This encourages them all to be prepared to share.

When to use Think-Pair-Share in Math

  • Think-Pair-Share can be used for all strands of math
  • Use it to help students read and understand a problem
  • Use to help in the problem solving process
  • Use it to activate prior knowledge, understand a problem, or consolidate learning
  • Practicing how to read larger numbers
  • Learning to round numbers to various places
  • Reviewing place value
  • Solving word problems
  • Recalling basic geometric terms
  • Discuss the steps of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division
  • Discussing how to rename a fraction to lowest terms

What it lookes like


Think Literacy: Cross-Curriculum Approaches


Instructional Strategies Online

Learning is Growing


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Exit Slips


What is an Exit Slip?

At the end of a class period, teachers present the students with a question(s) as a way to informally assess the students’ understanding of what was taught. It’s a way to wrap up a lesson.

Why use them?

  • For students to express their thoughts on new concepts. The exit slips can be an opportunity for students to ask questions that they may have about the concept, or express their confidence in how well they know a concept.
  • A way to informally assess students’ understanding on new concepts. The teacher can use the exit slip as a way to ask a few questions on the concept. This could be a few math problem or open ended questions on content or vocabulary.
  • For students to reflect on what was learned. Exit slips can also be used almost in as a journal, where students are writing what they learned from the lesson.
  • Opportunity to challenge students to think critically about concepts. Teachers can also use exit slips as an opportunity for higher order thinking. For example, if a concept is taught in math, the teacher may give students a harder problem for the exit slip. The exit slip will informally assess whether the students can apply the skills they learned to a harder problem.
  • For lesson planning. The responses from exit slips should be used by teachers to plan out future lesson plans. Student responses will inform a teacher whether students are ready to move on or need to review a concept.

When to use Exit Slips

Exit slips should be given to students at the end of a lesson. The lesson can be new, or a review. The exit slip is used as a students ticket out the door at the end of class. Exit slips can be administered for students to complete individually or in small groups. The teacher can also choose to review answers as a class or after students have left.

What does an Exit Slip look like?

An exit slip can be as simple as a note card for students to write on or a piece of scratch paper. They can also look like some of the following examples:

How to use Exit Slips

According to the following steps should be taken when using Exit Slips:

  1. Choose the key concept that you wish to assess or gather information on.
  2. Before the end of the lesson, distribute the exit slips to students, and ask students to complete based on what they just learned. Make sure enough time is alotted at the end of the lesson for students to complete this.
  3. If prompt is not written on the Exit Slip, make sure to read the prompt aloud to students and to have it available for them visually (i.e. post it on the front board).
  4. Before students leave, collect their slips.
  5. Prior to the next lesson, review the exit slips and plan the next lesson based on the responses from the exit slips. They should determine whether concepts need to be reviewed or if students are ready to move on.

Instead of having students write out exit slips, you could also use email or a class blog or wiki.


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