Monday, January 27, 2014

Taking Note of Note Taking

My plan to have Kai work on his comprehension skills through the short videos on the BrainPop app hit a snag when he stopped watching the movies. With him often losing points because he did not score well on the quizzes given after the movie, he decided that there were other apps he’d rather play with.

And so I restructured the incentive plan. He would only gain points for doing well on the tests given at the end of each video, but would not lose any if he did not do well. However, he would have to try; on weekends, he would not be able to use the iPad for anything else if he did not do the BrainPop first.

While that new plan got him to watch the video of the day, he still did not perform well on the quizzes. Too often he scored around 50%.

I thought it would help him if he took notes while he watched the movie.

I instructed him to write down the things that were most important. I tried to educate him that good note taking was not about writing every fact, but rather taking note of the most relevant items and writing only things that he would not know or remember otherwise.

Kai proceeded to pause the movie every five seconds and write down everything he heard.

The first time he took notes it took him about forty minutes for him to get through a four minute video.

On the positive side, he scored 100%. I think the act of writing everything down got him to pay attention much more than he had been.

Since then I’ve kept harping on him to not write everything down. As he watches the video, I try to coach him on what he should write and what he can let pass.

Usually he doesn’t do as I say.

Though this weekend he got through a video in about a half hour, so that is some progress.

I think one of the most frustrating aspects of being a parent for me is when my son doesn’t follow all of my great advice.

Do you have any suggestions? I’ll be taking notes.


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  2. I think that when he gets tired of doing too much...he will start learning to shorten it. His hand will get tired after a while. By him having to self regulate his writing...he will learn to really listen to the important parts. Just as with everything else in the universe...extraneous energy use has a short life...everything eventually reverts to a state of simplicity...just enough to get the job done. Efficiency is often best learned when the task brings about an unsustainable level of effort.

    1. Kai can go a long time using extraneous energy. :) I'm afraid that when he does get tired of all the note taking that he will revert to taking hardly any notes and then not doing well on the quizzes. Hopefully he will learn to take notes only on what he really needs to.

  3. Oh, no advise from me...I just think you're doing great! That is a long time to watch and take Good for him. I'm sure he'll shorten that as time goes on!

    1. Well, let's see what happens. My main frustration is that he doesn't listen to my advice! :) But, yes, good for him for taking the notes.

  4. That picture is SOOOOO cute
    Its super frustrating when they don't listen to us- the only advise I have which is probably not much help is to offer a reward( bribe)

    1. We do use rewards for some things. Though it would be nice if he would just listen to me because he understands that I'm telling him something for his own good, not because of the bribe. :)


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