It’s hard to know who to credit for the incredibly useful two-column note tool. While two-column notes are definitely a kissing cousin to the Cornell Note-Taking System (Pauk, 1974), in recent years the tool’s popularity has grown with teachers because of the work of the Denver Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC) in reading strategy instruction.
The design couldn’t be more simple or easy to master — factual notes are made on the lefthand side of the page, describing what is read (or quoting the material), observed (in a classroom or video), or experienced (in a workshop setting). The righthand side of the page is reserved for questions or reflection. The system encourages the note-taker to move continually and systematically between observations and reflection, with a goal of helping the learner pause and make sense in the midst of a new experience.
The sixteen sample two-column note-taking forms that follow are a starting point for adaptations of your own. They can be used in study group settings, with mentor teams, in classroom observation settings, or as part of a workshop on note-taking. We’ve also included a few three-column variations. Many users also enjoy having a space reserved at the bottom for general thoughts or observations after completing the activity.
The eGuide is eighteen pages long, in a pdf format. You can download the guide by clicking here.