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Thoughtful note-making is a big step to successful learning. These activities create small steps to better note-making skills, and help make learning and study easier.

Note-making: Scaffolds

5.1 Reports

Report Scaffolds provide the structure to make notes for a report. Reports provide mostly factual information in a structured format. This structure can provide a scaffold for note-making.

Biographical report

Geographical report

Introduction / Orientation

Introduction / Orientation

Name and fame / importance

Place and importance

Life Events - personal Birth - date, place, …. Family ….. Early life … & character Education….

Life Events - career Early work Influences Major developments

Events - later life Later / recent career ? Final years ( if dead) Death

Impact / Consequences Achievements & their results Influence on others Ongoing effects

Conclusion / Reorientation Summary of overall life & its influence or contributions to society / the world

Location Where in the world Where in a country

Landforms Mountains, rivers, plains, etc Special features

Climate Seasonal temperatures Seasonal rainfall/snow Special features

Flora & Fauna Native plants & animals Special features

Population Total population & growth Special features

Culture & Language

Animal/Plant/machine etc Introduction / Orientation Identification by species &/or classification/kind of machine etc

Description Appearance - size, shape, height, weight , colour.. Parts / Structure Movement

Behaviour/How it works Habitat Uses Food Fuel/energy Reproduction Process Life cycle Mechanisms Defences Maintenance Social life? Production line? Special features

Conclusion Summary of its place in our world - environmental or human significance & value

Indigenous people & language, religion(s), traditions & modern culture(s)

Economy Agriculture, forestry, fishing & mining, manufacturing, service industries & trade

Government Style of government, leader(s), levels from nation to local, …………….

Conclusion Summary of its place in the world today

This page is part of a set of activities freely available to assist students.

J. Okunev


Thoughtful note-making is a big step to successful learning. These activities create small steps to better note-making skills, and help make learning and study easier.

Note-making: Scaffolds

5.2 Explanations

Explanation scaffolds provide a structure to make notes for an explanation. Explanation texts are those which examine how or why something happens or works. They might include brief descriptions, but are mostly about …  how one thing leads to another in a chain of events  what are the causes and effects of something happening  why something is more (important, bigger, faster, useful, dangerous, or whatever) or something is less (………………) than other things. Explanations can be part of a report and they are very important in arguments. They use facts to give reasons and results. If you include an opinion, it must be backed up with facts.

Explanation of a Process Introduction / Orientation Name the process eg a life cycle, evaporation, how to play a game, …… Identify the chain of events involved in it. The beginning. Describe the starting point and identify any necessary items for the process to occur. What conditions or environment is needed & why? How does it get started? What "triggers" the action? The main chain or sequence of events. Describe what happens eg in stages or steps. Explain how these events are connected. eg. how one thing leads to the next in a cycle? or what are the skills & tactics of a game? ( Diagrams can be useful here ) The end/outcome. Describe the end result eg.what is the last stage? or how does the cycle gets back to the beginning or how a score is kept and a game won Maybe identify what might upset the process & how. Conclusion. Sum up how and why the process occurs & what might influence the process results.

Explanation of Problem Introduction / Orientation Name the problem & comment on its extent. Identify evidence of the problem (symptoms) Identify the range of causes / factors involved. Cause & effect 1. ( Factor involved in…) Describes the cause & how it works/worked - start - increase or build up - connection to other factors Explain how this results in certain effects or consequences. Cause & effect 2. ( Factor involved in…) Describes the cause & how it works/worked - start - increase or build up - connection to other factors Explain how this results in certain effects or consequences. Cause & effect 3. ( Factor involved in…) Describes the cause & how it works/worked - start - increase or build up - connection to other factors Explain how this results in certain effects or consequences. Conclusion. Sums up the causes and effects. Indicates the main ones and/or what most needs to be solved to reduce the problem.

This page is part of a set of activities freely available to assist students.

J. Okunev


Thoughtful note-making is a big step to successful learning. These activities create small steps to better note-making skills, and help make learning and study easier.

Note-making: Scaffolds

5.3 Analysis

Analysis scaffolds provide a structure to make notes for an analysis. Analysis texts are those which examine the parts of something. They are about how things are put together, or how they work or what are the factors that influence something eg the factors involved in a problem …. analysing causes and effects. Analysis texts can be part of a report and they can also include procedures. They are factual, but they can include some opinion when concerned about problems. Analysis of process of a problem Introduction / Analysis Orientation Name the process & its importance or place in things Inputs / What goes into the process The things that go into the process eg ingredients/raw materials, energy, labour or machinery Procedures What happens in the process: step-by-step Eg how equipment works, how the water cycle works, how ………. works. Can include flow charts or cycle diagrams Describes what happens Explains the process, briefly Outputs / What comes out of the process? What is produced… the result of the process Describes the products ( and maybe the waste products too) Conclusion A summary of the process and its results A comment on its usefulness or importance

Analysis of problem Introduction / Orientation Name the problem & its symptoms ie Identifies evidence of the problem Describes each symptom & its importance, dangers etc if not remedied Causes 1………………… 2………………… 3………………… and more ( depending on how many) Describes the causes & how they work ( maybe a paragraph each ) Effects 1………………… 2………………… 3………………… and more ( depending on how many) Describes the effects …. eg their strengths and/or weaknesses OR advantages and/or disadvantages ( maybe a paragraph each ) Solutions 1………..2…………..3…………. and more??? Describes and/or explains ways to solve the problem … actions & reactions Suggests the costs & benefits of solutions

This page is part of a set of activities freely available to assist students.

J. Okunev


Thoughtful note-making is a big step to successful learning. These activities create small steps to better note-making skills, and help make learning and study easier.

Note-making: Scaffolds

5.4 Argument/Persuasion

Argument scaffolds provide a structure to make notes for an argument for or against something. Argument texts use persuasive language and reasons to show how something is good or bad, OR why it should or should not happen. They often analyse something and include some explanations as part of the case they are presenting. Arguments can include fact and opinion, but the opinion needs some facts to back it up. Your position in the argument – What you believe is the case? For? Or Against? Preview – What are the main reasons for your case? ( a brief summary or list )

Argument 1. Reasons for saying this + back-up details & examples

Argument 2. Reasons for saying this + back-up details & examples

Argument 3. Reasons for saying this + back-up details & examples

Argument 4. Reasons for saying this + back-up details & examples

Reiteration / Restatement of your case, pointing out the main arguments. Should include a comment on how strong you believe the case to be. This page is part of a set of activities freely available to assist students.

J. Okunev


Thoughtful note-making is a big step to successful learning. These activities create small steps to better note-making skills, and help make learning and study easier.

Note-making: Scaffolds

5.5 Discussion

Discussion scaffolds provide a structure to make notes for a discussion of different sides of argument or more than one point of view about something. • •

Discussions have to include more than one side of an argument or several different opinions. They evaluate the opinions and evidence, to reach a conclusion or recommendation.

Notes for a discussion would include notes for reasons on both or many sides of an issue. (For more opinions, you need more boxes ) A statement of the issue for discussion. An indication of how many different arguments/opinions there are & which seem to be strongest/more popular or weakest/least popular. Point of View 1. Outline the point of view and 2-3 aspects or details about it. Evaluate the strength of the point of view and give reasons.

Point of View 2. which may be the opposite of the first Point of View. Outline the point of view and 2-3 aspects or details about it. Evaluate the strength of the point of view and give reasons.

Point of View 3. which may be somewhere between or close to either of the others, but for different reasons . Outline the point of view and 2-3 aspects or details about it. Evaluate the strength of the point of view and give reasons. Compare and contrast these points of view. Weigh up their strengths and weaknesses.

Sum up the main points of view and evaluate which seem strongest and weakest. A conclusion or decision about the discussion may be a strong decision or it may be that a decision is hard to make because the arguments are more evenly balanced. This page is part of a set of activities freely available to assist students.

J. Okunev


6. Note-making -Scaffolds