Classroom tools to help your students with learning disabilities

Guided Notes

on April 7, 2013


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)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: